You’d be hard-pressed to find someone as passionate about sandwiches as Jeff Mauro. The native Chicagoan (you might know him as The Sandwich King) has based his entire career around them. After winning season seven of Food Network Star (he created sandwich-centric dishes every episode) Mauro joined the cast of the network’s The Kitchen, then went on to open Pork & Mindy’s in The Windy City, where sandwiches — or “Sangwiches,” as they’re listed on the menu — rule the roost.
With a name like Pork & Mindy’s, you can guess what the VIP, or, uh, VI-Meat, is of those sandwiches. Pork comes on a good chunk of them, and if yours doesn’t come squealing, there’s a side of pig candy for that. It’s Mauro’s famous candied bacon: thick-cut slabs dunked in enough brown sugar to make your diet null and void for the day.
So it was with all that in mind that we asked Mauro to create the ultimate sandwich — sorry, sangwich — to run as a special at Pork & Mindy’s just for Delish fans. A few emails, one brainstorming phone call, and a trip to Chicago later, we came face-to-face with the Three Big Piggies. The towering beast is a meat-lover’s dream come true, piled with three types of pork — because how could it not be? There’s Mauro’s traditional pulled pork that’s slow-smoked over hickory wood for 14 hours, his buttermilk-marinated pork tenderloins (the flavor boost comes from a crust of crumbled breadcrumbs), and — duh — the pig candy.
And if you think Mauro would leave the toppings at just lettuce and tomato, well, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. The guy doesn’t do anything half-assed, and the Three Big Piggies is proof. On top of the requisite romaine and tomatoes, you’ll find hot giardiniera (an Italian relish of pickled veggies) and house-fried pickles on a toasted brioche bun that’s slathered with barbecue mayo.
It’s the kind of meal that falls strictly under the don’t eat on a first date category. But, Mauro’s married with a kid — which explains why his “test bites” just keep coming.