There are a range of possible reactions when one bites into a sandwich. For example, one can be satisfied or pleased. You might express the former with a simple exclamation of “mmmmm” and the latter by pointing frantically, trying to motion to an associate that the combination of this spread with that meat is simply sublime. On the other end of the spectrum you might be disappointed in a sandwich, letting loose a puzzled “hrmmm” as you wonder what went wrong. These are fairly average reactions and as you dine on a wide range of sandwiches I’m sure you’ll find yourself expressing these reactions and more. Beyond that range of average reactions, dear reader, are truly rare sandwich related feelings, and it is my hope that you will one day dine on a sandwich that makes you feel as this one made me.
I took one bite and could feel my shoulders turn inward as my head slumped down. I cursed and was instantly disappointed. Not in the way that you might assume, the sandwich itself was amazing. I was very, very disappointed in myself for a very simple reason: This was the only pork shoulder sandwich I had and the odds that I would soon have another one were not good. This, friends, was so fine a sandwich that before the conclusion of the first bite I was angry I did not have another.
I wish that I could impress you with my sandwich ingenuity, but the beauty of this sandwich is that I did no more than millions of my fellow sandwich enthusiasts do every night. I reheated some leftovers, split a roll, added mustard and there it was. I am simply lucky in that I was starting with some very good leftovers. Earlier in the week I had roasted a pork shoulder with a wet rub of garlic, cumin, orange juice and other spices. It was served with a sauce of olive oil, orange juice and garlic. So later in the week when I found a few slices of pork shoulder in the fridge I went to work. A few tablespoons of leftover mojo sauce went into a pan where they were soon joined by some onions. Once the onions softened the whole of it was set aside, and into the pan went 2 or 3 slices of pork shoulder, making sure to include plenty of the flavorful crust. Once the pork was hot it was laid onto a grilled roll, the onions and sauce laid on top of that, and finally a thin layer of mustard went onto the top half of the roll. I took a quick picture with my phone and retired with my sandwich to the living room, where I sat down and experienced the most profound disappointment of my gastronomic life.
The pork was tender and moist, the crust flavorful and just chewy enough. The sauce presented a mellow garlic flavor that paired well with the mustard as well as a tang amplified by the sauteed onions. If the Bánh Mì suggests the idea of sandwiches as a religion, this simple sandwich I pulled from my fridge is a vision. Truly, it was a very fine sandwich.