I have a freezer full of corned beef right now. The remedy for that? Corned beef sandwiches. One of the reasons I make corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day is to use up all those leftovers between two pieces of rye bread the following week. But, in order to make the sandwiches even better, I decided to make a copycat version of a sauce from one of my favorite places in high school, Grouchos.
Recently, I had an old high school friend tell me that she had watched one of our old movies that we had made when we were sophomores/juniors. We used to get her video camera and record all of our “antics” – which were way tamer than they sound. After she mentioned watching one (I had just watched the same one about a month or two ago), I found the pt 1 of the “series” and popped the tape into my VCR. Yes, gasp! I actually still have a VCR!
Anyway, I digress, while I was watching it -and noting how obnoxious I must have been (sorry, Mom & Dad!) – I noticed one of my old favorite restaurants that we used to frequent in high school, Grouchos. It’s a sort-of chain that’s scattered through South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, and has great sandwiches. Not only that, but they have the best sauce – if you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. The stuff is legendary. I remember my mom would buy us some to keep in the fridge whenever she went over there. It would never last more than a couple of weeks because we’d use it on every sandwich we made – my brother, Rich, especially loved it.
The sauce is a thousand island mixed with Russian dressing and lots and lots of dill. And it’s fantastic. You dip your sandwiches in it, you dip your chips – I even know some people who dip their pickle spears in it. And you always have to ask for 2 servings of it with your sandwich because it’s inevitable that you’ll go through the first sauce before you’ve even half-way through.
While there are locations all over (except in Charlotte!!!), I’ve found that none of the locations really compare to the Lexington, SC restaurant where I so fondly spent many high school days. The others were always missing that one little thing. So, until I can go back to the Lexington restaurant, I’ve resorted to making my own sauce to recall those memories.
I find that it’s pretty close to the original – I tend to go on the heavier side of the dill, just because I think that more so replicates Grouchos’ version. For the sandwich, I chose to use some of my leftover corned beef and some muenster cheese (a nice nod to the Roast Beef International Dip, my personal favorite) and slather it with this sauce -the flavors couldn’t have gotten along better.
Corned Beef Sandwiches with Copycat Grouchos Sauce
For the sandwiches:
Copycat Grouchos sauce
1 tbsp Mayonnaise mixed with 1tbsp softened butter, for spreading (use more or less depending upon how many sandwiches you are making)
For the Copycat Grouchos Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/2 tsp worcestershire
1/8 tsp onion powder
1-1 1/2 tsps lemon juice
2-4 Tbsps dill
Pepper, to taste
To assemble the sandwiches, take two slices of bread and slather each with the Grouchos sauce. Layer one slice of bread with corned beef and muenster cheese; close the sandwich. Spread the mayonnaise/softened butter mixture on the outside of the sandwich. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and brown on both sides until cheese has slightly melted. Repeat with additional sandwiches. Serve immediately with an extra side of sauce.
For the Copycat Grouchos Sauce:
Mix together all ingredients. Add more dill, lemon juice, pepper to suit your tastes. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours.