Thursday, July 23, 2015

Get Go Sandwich Standoff: "The Smokestack" vs "Kielbasa Reuben"

When I found out that GetGo had new crazy sandwiches, I had to get to the nearest gasoline dispensary and try them!  First I consulted with my doctor to make sure that my heart was healthy enough for mad science culinary productions, and then I ordered The 7" Smokestack and the 3.5" Kielbasa Reuben.

For some reason, GetGo only has certain sandwiches that you can get in 3 1/2" size.  It seems kind of arbitrary and was a bit unfortunate with The General, so we'll see if the extra 3.5 inches of sandwich are any more satisfying this time.

As usual, these look nothing like the beautiful subs on the billboards, but they don't look awful, either.  Here's the real-world view (with only half of the 7" Smokestack):

I tried the Smokestack first.  It's hard to find the "official" ingredient list because Get Go doesn't seem to have anything more on their website than a picture of the sandwich (it's like they're afraid to put this thing into writing - maybe there's a gag order), but as far as I can tell it's supposed to have jalapeño poppers, pulled pork, fried onions, and some kind of sauce that's not BBQ (but it's trying really hard to be delicious regardless), on their regular old sub roll.

In the interest of complete disclosure: I love pulled pork. I think that some slow-cooked shredded pork in a sweet, tangy, spicy sauce on a bun with nothing else is a pretty good sandwich itself, so I had high hopes here.

First impressions: the Smokestack is not bad. It's weird - the pork is OK but tastes stale or something - like it was in the refrigerator uncovered for 2 days before they made the sandwich.  The poppers though - they are omnipresent on this thing.  I didn't measure but I'd believe there's more of them by weight and volume than pork - I mean this thing is loaded with poppers.  You don't get this many when you just order jalapeño poppers as an appetizer at a bar.  It's like a jalapeño popper sandwich... it's just that they're not actually jalapeño poppers. They're like fried cheese balls with tiny bits of jalapeño in them.  It's a bit of a disappointment - I understand that genuine jalapeños might be a logistical challenge here, but the Get Go Frankenstein sandwich laboratory left the realm of reason a while ago.  Maybe there's some special licensure required.  The sandwich also has some pointless fried onions - they are overwhelmed by a thin layer of pork and a mountain of jalapeño-bit breaded fried cheese balls.  The not-BBQ sauce isn't bad but I don't think it really adds a lot here either.  It's just a bit spicy, but not nearly as much as I expected.

Despite the pointless onions, I happily ate the entire 3.5" sandwich. It's not amazing but pretty good for coming from a gas station. It's not very smoky. I wouldn't call it 'complex' but the flavors mix well and the texture is not offensive.  It does leave behind a trail of the not-BBQ sauce, so don't take this sandwich with you on your getaway from a big jewel heist.

On to the kielbasa Reuben surprise. Again, there's no real information on the site, just a picture.  I'm guessing it's sauerkraut, Russian dressing, swiss cheese, and sliced kielbasa on their regular old sub roll.  It tastes like a Reuben but without the caraway, and the kielbasa has a weird plasticky flavor... it's like somebody put ham on it but left part of the wrapper. Also, it really needs the caraway. Or the bread should be rye or something.  It's almost like somebody wanted to make a Reuben but got lazy halfway and gave up early.

I finished this one bit I wasn't happy about it. It tastes pretty much you'd expect, but it's just not a great version of the Reuben.  It's like the difference between microwave pizza bagels and delivery.  It's also just not over-the-top enough... it's just a Reuben with a slightly different variety of salty meat. I feel like some crazy chef with wild hair must have burst into the R&D kitchen with this ZANY idea to put kielbasa on a Reuben and nobody had any better ideas so they had to go with it.

The clear winner here is The Smokestack. It's legit.  I'd actually eat it outside of crazy over-the-top sandwich testing situations.

I finished the 2nd half too.  Now I need to lie down for a few days.

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