Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?

The Greatest Sandwich On Earth

by Gareth Dimelow
7 October 2013 15 Comments

We take you to Sheffield, to make you salivate over a dead pig in a bun.

Pretty much everywhere in the world has a signature dish – some item of culinary alchemy that everyone who visits the area feels compelled to sample. Cornwall has its pasties, Bakewell has its tarts. And Sheffield has arguably the greatest sandwich on Earth – perhaps a little ironic given the city’s cutlery-based heritage.

If you’ve ever lived in, or even briefly visited Sheffield, you may well have heard of Mr Béres. Kentucky had an honorary Colonel to thank for putting it on the foodie map, we have a Hungarian refugee who moved to the UK in 1956. Five years after setting up home in steel-town, Sandor Béres and his wife Eileen opened their first butcher’s shop, specialising in pork and beef. Quickly recognising the city’s seemingly insatiable appetite for hot meat sandwiches, Béres focused on that part of the business, and before too long had a thriving chain of shops across the city.

Cornwall has its pasties, Bakewell has its tarts. And Sheffield has arguably the greatest sandwich on Earth – perhaps a little ironic given the city’s cutlery-based heritage.

When I was a boy, I used to spend several days a week with my grandparents, while my dad was studying and my mum was attempting to support the family on a supply teacher’s wage. The days were filled with walks along the river, watching one of the three TV channels that were available at the time, or staring in bewilderment as my grandpa pushed a heavy concrete roller over his small but impeccable lawn. And then once a week, he’d drive us into Hillsborough to visit one of Mr Béres’ pork sandwich shops.

To the untrained eye, the shops were nothing special – the kind of place that would make Roy’s Rolls look like The Ivy. The only clue to the wonders within was the constant queue of people lining up to get inside. Years later, when my dad and I would make our fortnightly pilgrimage to see Sheffield Wednesday play, we’d diligently join the line to grab a sandwich to take into the match. All to be washed down with a flask of hot Oxo. Given the high meat content of this Saturday afternoon ritual, I was certain that if I’d had a nosebleed, it would have been Bovril dripping down my shirt-front.

Thirty years later and nothing much has changed. The sandwiches still come in three sizes, and for me, graduating from one size to the next was like a rite of passage. As a child, I started out with half a standard (split with my sister), until I was considered mature enough to handle a whole one to myself. As my appetite grew, I moved onto the King Size – which used the same sized bun but was more generously stuffed with fillings. By the time I was in my teens, I was ready for the Jumbo, an almost grotesque sandwich that had to be held with both hands, even when it was cut in half.

The sandwich itself is deceptively simple. First, there’s the fresh white bap from Béres own bakery, which gets dunked into a tray of ‘dip’ (really just the juices from the straight-out-of-the-oven pork joints). Since the dip swiftly soaks into the bread, it can make eating the sandwich something of a race against time, as you attempt to finish it before the bread completely dissolves into a porky primordial gloop.

Given the high meat content of this Saturday afternoon ritual, I was certain that if I’d had a nosebleed, it would have been Bovril dripping down my shirt-front.

If you ask for the ‘works’ you’ll get a huge pile of freshly cut pork that’s pink, rather than white. This gives it a softer texture than the sometimes dry, mealy meat that you get when you cook a pork joint at home. Béres’ joints are traditionally cured and cooked in gas-fired ovens, which makes the meat fantastically succulent. It also means that the crackling that crowns the sandwich is crunchy and crisp, but won’t leave you requiring emergency bridgework. In contrast, you’ll also discover a thick smear of soft sage and onion stuffing, plus a huge dollop of homemade apple sauce. It’s this rich combination of flavours and textures that make this more than just another meat sandwich. Each one comes wrapped in a simple paper bag, usually festooned with sticky pork-fat fingerprints, as much a symbol of the sandwich-maker’s art as the unique impressions that Nick Park’s hands leave on Wallace and Gromit.

Even now, the very sight of Mr Béres’ shopfront is enough to trigger a Pavlovian response. And no trip to visit my family is complete without a round-trip into town to score a bagful. My only regret is that my Jewish and vegetarian friends will never know the wonder of Mr Béres. Even if trying to convince them would be as futile as telling a lesbian that she just hasn’t met the right bloke yet. You can keep your fancy gourmet sandwiches, made with artisan granary bread, sprigs of rocket and a drizzle of unicorn spunk. I’ll have a Jumbo pork sandwich with the works. And I’ll see you in the cardiology ward.

Click here for more stories about food

Click here for more stories about life

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook

If you like it, Pass it on

image descriptionCOMMENTS

robin lee 9:03 am, 17-Jan-2012

they do a good pork sarnie in Sheffield. there was (and maybe still is) a butcher in the Banner Cross area called Malcolm Stringer who was Marti Caines ex husband, she had divorced him for knocking her about. this is not to be condoned. but after their split he put all his energy into making a blinding pork sarnie. he always wore one gauze glove and white trilby so he looked like some mental Michael Jackson fan and prided himself on his crackling and apple sauce. it was my lunch for 3 years. I am hungry now.

Nigel 12:53 pm, 17-Jan-2012

I'll be driving past the Béres on Chesterfield Road in an hour or so, you have just made my luch decision for me. It's about time I had my first pork sanie of 2012

Andy Southgate 12:59 pm, 17-Jan-2012

As much as we may try, we British will never top the US of A for inventiveness, taste and all round artery clogging loveliness in the sandwich department. The sandwich sounds good mind, and as my girlfriends is from Sheffield, I'll probably be visiting one of his shops soon enough.

Tony 1:44 pm, 17-Jan-2012

Never miss a trip to Felipe's when in LA: downtown, nr Chinatown and a Dodger's pre-match experience to savor ... Sawdust floors included in every visit!

JoJo 3:16 pm, 17-Jan-2012

So agree,they are bloody fab! the ones on french bread everything on apart from apple yummy. My friend introduced us to them, so everytime we drove from Manchester to see her,we called there first.Ive Missed them has shes been living in Leeds the last year but now she has just come back home to live in Sheffield.If I remember isnt there a big main one just opposite the swfc ground with chairs outside? worth a detour.

JohnP 4:47 pm, 17-Jan-2012

Beres is the best place for sandwiches in the North, let alone Sheffield. Am due one I think, off to Hillsborough..... :-)

ad 4:58 pm, 17-Jan-2012

why is it ironic thatt sheffield - cutlery etc - does good sarnies?

kevin 5:06 pm, 17-Jan-2012

I guess its because one doesn't eat a sandwich with cutlery

ad 11:13 am, 18-Jan-2012

right, cheers kevin

Lisa 6:01 pm, 18-Jan-2012

Well ... Beres on Sab Times,( had one today pigged out on a kingsize ) Even though I try to eat healthy, you can not resist Beres melt in the mouth sandwiches, and now I see they do wonderful cup cakes. What more could a girl ask for. Pity I have just started training for the marathon, still theres only so much green tea you can drink and rabbit food... pass me the carbs! ps. they do a mean sausage roll as well.

Simon B Scatman 12:00 pm, 19-Jan-2012

Pure perfection on a roll - they are good sarneys. I ve met the owner too he's a jolly chap with a passion for pork!.

www.thegreenwichbarber.com 11:45 am, 20-Jan-2012

"Malcolm Stringer who was Marti Caines ex husband, she had divorced him for knocking her about. this is not to be condoned. but after their split he put all his energy into making a blinding pork sarnie" Well......there's no prizes for guessing how how he tenderised the meat then! With his own fair fists it would seem. :-0

mike 12:17 pm, 21-Dec-2012

for me, the best sandwich has got to be the moster , woody allen, from carnegies deli in new york ,

Owlstalk 7:41 pm, 7-Oct-2013

'Meat is Murder'

Gareth 9:59 pm, 8-Oct-2013

Deliciously moist murder.

Leave a comment

Life image description SABOTAGE

Close
Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better