Reubenesque Reuben Sauce

Right now I’m in the middle of moving! I sold my house and starting a brand new chapter in my life (kinda, sorta). However, you’re in luck! A couple of my very talented food blogger friends will be guest posting on Dixie Chik Cooks this week. I’m such a lucky girl to have such kick ass friends! Today, Michele from Bacon Fatte is guest posting. 

I wanted a Reuben sauce that didn’t get lost in the sandwich. It had to hold its own against the dark, rich pumpernickel bread and the bold, tart sauerkraut.

When I finally decided to make my own Reubens, I also decided to make my own Reuben sauce. There are a million different recipes out there, and after playing around with just about every one of them I finally came up with a version that I really liked.

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Of course, it also had to play nicely with the corned beef or pastrami – whichever one happened to be the deli pick of the day. And I like a Reuben sauce with a little texture, so it had to have an ever so slightly chunky consistency amid all the creaminess. Tasty dried onion flakes and plenty of finely chopped cornichons add just enough “bark” to the “bite” of this Reuben sauce. And a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice brighten and balance the rich tomato paste and Worcestershire.

What I ended up with hit all the important points on my list, and then some.

The name of the recipe, of course, implies what it’s intended for. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying reuben sauce in other ways, such as:

  • A tasty chicken, turkey and fish sandwich spread
  • a zingy dip for chicken tenders and fish fingers
  • sauce for grilled or roasted chicken, fish and pork
  • sauce for grilled or roasted vegetables such as potatoes, asparagus, brussels sprouts, etc.
  • sauce for tacos; excellent with carnitas (just add a few splashes of your fave hot sauce)

The name of this recipe is also a bit tongue-in-cheeky because one wouldn’t exactly call this a light recipe, but then again, we’re not pairing it with carrot sticks. It’s meant to be good… And it is!

Reuben sandwiches are the kind of thing you crave (at least, I do…), and when you have one, you want it to be really good. They’re meant to be bold and tangy. They’re supposed to have a lot of flavor – pleasant, pungent “in your face” flavor.

Because classic reubens have relatively few ingredients, good quality ingredients make all the difference. Start with a fresh baked pumpernickel. Get the good pastrami or corned beef, and if you can find the stuff with the peppered edges, even better! The same goes for the Swiss cheese – the nice, thick deli slices that melt unapologetically when you toast your reubens are the best.

And let’s talk about the kraut, y’all. Reubens need good, tart sour kraut with some crunch – not some whimpy, wilted wannabe cooked cabbage salad. I cut my teeth on my German grandmother’s home-grown, homemade sour kraut. It had plenty of pucker power which set the bar pretty high when I started looking for store bought versions later in life. After a few trials, we found Frank’s Kraut and we love it. I think even my grandmother would approve. She’d probably question the teaspoon of celery seeds (per 32 ounce jar) that I toss in when I make kraut, but I think she’d get it after she tasted it. {Wink!}

As for how you put the whole thing together, that’s another story. Just like the ingredients used (and, yes, the aforementioned “must haves” are my personal faves but you may very well have other ideas…), the end result is all about personal preferences.

But, details matter here, my friends… Details. Matter.

7 Steps for a great Open Face Reuben

Like open face sammies? (Me too!) A good open face sammy is all about balance: Not too sparse so it’s more of an app than a long-awaited main course, but not so heavily piled that you end up with a big soggy blob. You call the shots with your sammies, but for a little bit of crunch, and a whole lot of tangy, melty, reuben deliciousness without too much bulk, here’s my “7 Step Reuben Program”:

  1. Slather copious amounts of reuben sauce on the bread (because it’s all about the sauce here!)
  2. Pile on a healthy amount of beautiful pepper-crusted pastrami
  3. Sprinkle on a nice helping of kraut (make sure to squeeze out the excess liquid first so you don’t end up with saturated bread). See above note about adding celery seeds to your kraut… Just sayin’.
  4. Finish with strips or shreds of good Swiss rather than just laying a slice on top.
    1. In my experience, if you just cover the the sammy with a thick slice of cheese, the heat doesn’t distribute well enough through the ingredients below. Break it up a bit, and all the flavors warm and come together beautifully.
  5. Place sammies on a baking sheet, and toast under the broiler for 3 – 5 minutes or so.
    1. I determine “doneness” when I see the edges of my bread darken as they toast, the color of the reuben sauce intensifies as it caramelizes, and the Swiss becomes a beautifully melted mess on top of it all.
  6. When ready, pull the pan out of the oven, top with more sauce and – if you’re a crazy garnish fanatic like I am – sprinkle more finely chopped cornichons on top.

Full-On, Pan-Toasted Reuben ‘Melt’

If you want even more of the good things that make reubens so crave-worthy, go all the way:

  1. Pre-heat a pan on the stove top over medium-low heat.
  2. Butter the “outsides” of two pieces of bread, then lay bread – buttered sides down – on a plate, and follow steps 1 – 4 above.
  3. Once layered, put the top piece of bread on your sammy and place the whole thing – buttered side down – into the pre-heated pan.
  4. Cook the first side for a minute or two until bread is toasted to your liking. Then flip the reuben over with a spatula, and repeat the cooking process.
  5. When both sides are toasted, remove from pan, plate, and devour while warm, crunchy, melty and unabashedly delicious.

Think about it… After you’ve gone through the trouble of getting all the good stuff to make the best tasting reubens to cure your cravings, a lack luster sauce just wouldn’t do. Don’t risk it… Whip up a batch of this reuben sauce instead, and as always…


Reubenesque Reuben Sauce

Yield: 2 cups

This wonderfully complex, easy to make “Reubenesque” Reuben Sauce will make all your reuben sammy dreams come true! Also great on chicken, fish, pork and veggies… Take a look!


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoons cornichons, finely chopped (about 6 cornichons)
  • 1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Worchestershire
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste


  • In a small glass mixing bowl, combine the ingredients and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so to allow flavors to marry before enjoying.


Can be refrigerated in an air tight, glass/non-reactive container for up to 24 hours. It’s fine for a couple of days, but definitely starts to lose it’s luster after that.

Other ways to enjoy this sauce:

  • chicken, turkey and fish sandwich spread
  • dip for chicken tenders and fish fingers
  • sauce for grilled or roasted chicken, fish and pork
  • sauce for grilled or roasted vegetables such as potatoes, asparagus, brussels sprouts, etc.
  • sauce for tacos; excellent with carnitas (just add a few splashes of your fave hot sauce)!


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Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Stuffed Burger

Don’t even act like you didn’t know this was coming.

If you know me, you know me. Remember when I posted my most favorite pimento cheese in the entire damn world?

Yeah, I stuffed my burger with that.
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I grilled an onion roll, slathered the top with more pimento cheese, AND…I topped it with fried onion strings. Can you ever really have too much cheese?

That would be a big no.

I’m currently in pursuit of the perfect burger for World Food Championships, and this is one of my trial runs. Not sure if it will be going to competition with me, but damn, it’s so good.

Add extra condiments, if you wish. But I didn’t need them.
Here’s your printable-

Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Stuffed Burger

Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Stuffed Burger



  • Make the pimento cheese and fried onions.
  • Combine ground round and marinade; form into 6-8 thin burgers.
  • Place about a tablespoon of pimento cheese in the middle of half of them, and top with the other thin burgers, pressing to seal the edges.
  • Grill or pan fry until done, being careful as you flip - You don't want to lose the cheese filling!
  • Build the burger by placing lettuce on bottom bun, followed by burger, tomato and onion strings.
  • Slather top buns with more pimento cheese and top.


Feel free to add ketchup, mustard, etc. I found that the pimento cheese was plenty from a taste standpoint, but you may want a little more.

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Jalapeno Popper Beer Can Burger

That wasn’t a typo. It’s not beer can chicken.

It’s a beer can burger.
Basically, you’re forming a burger patty and shoving a can of beer in the center, and wrapping the sides around the bottom of the can to form a well.
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It’s actually fun, and what you stuff it with it is only limited by your imagination. After you wrap the meat around the beer can, remove the can and fill it with whatever the hell you want to.

This one I decided to stuff with jalapeno popper goodies.

I didn’t use bacon because my experience with using it as a stuffing hasn’t exactly been fantastic – it became kind of limp and weird. I still achieved the taste I was looking for, however, with black forest ham, jalapenos, cream cheese and white sharp cheddar.
I probably should have actually wrapped them in bacon, but I didn’t think about it until these were made. Soooo, I’ll definitely be doing that next time to see how that works out.

After you fill your little “well”, you make another burger and carefully place it on top, sealing the edges.
Then grill or pan fry. If you pan fry, make sure to cover it after you flip it so the center gets done.
I discovered this stuffed burger using a beer can from Kelly at Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen. She’s a good friend and fellow food blogger that makes some pretty amazing food. Check her out.

This burger is exceptional.

I’ve made so many, I know, but this one truly is special.
The filling in this burger held together very well. I was a little worried about it, mainly because of the cream cheese, but it did amazing.

I also made this amazing buttermilk cilantro lime sauce, and although you don’t need it for this particular burger, it’s damn good.
Jalapeno Popper Beer Can Burger

I almost piled a bunch of things on like lettuce and tomato, but I decided to taste it as it was, and it really was enough. I think if I added anything else it would have taken away from the taste.

Sometimes I have to reign myself in when it comes to overdoing the condiments.

Here’s your printable-

Beer Can Jalapeno Popper Burger

Beer Can Jalapeno Popper Burger


    For the Burgers
  • 1/2 lb ground chuck
  • 2 tbsp Moore's Original Marinade
  • 1 "beer can
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temp
  • 4 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded or chopped
  • 4 oz Black Forest ham, chopped
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 burger buns, toasted
  • For the Cilantro Lime Sauce
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp sea salt


    For the Burgers
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine ground chuck and marinade, and form into 4 burgers, reserving enough beef to form a cap (or small, thin burger) for each burger.
  • Smash the beer can in the middle of each, and wrap the meat mixture around the bottom of can, forming a well in the center.
  • Combine the rest of ingredients, and add an equal amount to each burger "well".
  • Top with smaller burger and pinch to seal.
  • Add burgers to a large oven safe pan over medium high heat, splash each with Worcestershire and sear on each side for 1-2 minutes to brown.
  • Add to hot oven, cover and broil for 7-10 minutes on each side.
  • For the Cilantro Lime Sauce
  • Combine ingredients in a jar and shake it.
  • Serve burgers with or without sauce on a toasted bun.

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Sous Vide Carnitas


Well, tacos.
Carnitas | Dixie Chik Cooks I want a taco truck!! I think I would do fabulously; I would never run out of taco ideas.

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Since sous vide cooking is my latest method addiction, I had to go and sous vide this. I just can’t get enough of it.

Remember this?
So, today I made my carnitas sous vide, then threw them on a hot ass grill to get a nice sear before I chopped it all up.

Sous vide is so easy because really all you have to do is babysit it. You set the temp, throw your food in a tightly sealed bag in the water and set a timer. I LOVE it.

I used Smithfield Boneless Pork Shoulder Roast – it was so tender.

After the pork is done, these are very easy to put together. This isn’t a mandatory thing, but I like to grill my tortillas – it gives the taco another texture dimension that I just love. The slaw is so good and can actually be used for lots of things, you could put it on a burger or eat it as a side with BBQ. (Yes; it has jalapenos in it).
Carnitas Don’t forget to squeeze extra lime!

Here’s your printable-

Sous Vide Carnitas

Sous Vide Carnitas


    For the Carnitas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 1/2 lbs pork shoulder (also known as 'pork butt')
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • For the Slaw
  • 1 bag angel hair slaw
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 cup pickled jalapenos, diced
  • For the Sour Cream Sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • Flour tortillas
  • White cheddar, shredded
  • Fresh limes, quartered
  • Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


    For the Carnitas
  • Combine the oil through lime juice to make a rub.
  • Rub the pork shoulder, place in a gallon size zip lock bag and sous vide for 1 1/2 hours, or until internal temperature is 145 degrees.
  • Remove from bag, heat sunflower oil over medium high heat (or grill) and sear carnitas on each side about 1-2 minutes.
  • Chop pork.
  • For the Slaw
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly; refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For the Sour Cream Sauce
  • Combine ingredients in a shaker or jar.
  • Assemble tacos by adding pork, white cheddar, slaw and sour cream sauce. Squeeze more lime juice, if desired.

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Greek Stuffed Chicken

Do you like to stuff things?

I do.
I love to stuff chicken.
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You’re basically taking a bland ass piece of protein and transforming it into a plate of whatever-the-hell makes you happy.

I’ve always, always been in love with Greek flavors. Olives and feta cheese are probably two of my favorite things. Pair those with balsamic mushrooms and onions, and I’ve given you one amazing chicken dish.
And, yes, I served this over grits.

I’m Southern. What do you expect. AND it works beautifully.

This is a fairly easy recipe. The chicken is marinated in my new favorite bottle of addictiveness – Moore’s Zesty Garden Herb Marinade. Not only does this work with chicken and veggies; I’ve marinated flank steak in it and it’s phenomenal.

I caramelized onions and mushrooms in butter and balsamic vinegar, combined those with capers and feta, then I slit a pocket into the side of a healthy sized chicken breast and stuffed.
I’m gonna go ahead and apologize for my finger looking more like chicken than the actual chicken itself. I cook all the time and I’m an RN, so never plan on seeing my hands and/or fingers looking even remotely attractive.

Back to the chicken…

I kept it all in place by wrapping it with baker’s twine before putting on the grill.
Easy peasy.

I made a quick balsamic pan sauce to pour over the whole thing, and done.

You’ll want to put this on your dinner rotation.
Here’s your printable-

Greek Stuffed Chicken

Greek Stuffed Chicken


    For the Chicken:
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Moore's Zesty Garden Herb Marinade
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled, plus more to top
  • 3 tbsp. capers
  • 6 Castelvatrano olives, pitted and chopped
  • Grits, cooked
  • Flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • For the Pan Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp. flour + 1 tbsp water, whisked together
  • 1 tsp salt


    For the Chicken:
  • Place chicken breasts in a large zip lock bag with marinade, seal and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • Caramelize onions and mushrooms in butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally; stir in balsamic vinegar and toss.
  • Combine onions and mushrooms with feta, olives and capers.
  • Cut a slit in the thickest side of chicken breasts and stuff with onion mixture; wrap with twine and tie to secure.
  • Grill or broil until done.
  • Serve over grits.
  • For the Pan Sauce:
  • Combine everything in a pan over medium high heat and whisk until thickened.
  • Pour over chicken and grits.
  • Top with more Feta and parsley.
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