Grub Guide

Thirteen Spectacular Pork Sandwiches That Aren’t the McRib

The McRib wishes it could be as good as Bark's crispy pork sandwich.
The McRib wishes it could be as good as Bark’s crispy pork sandwich. Photo: Ryan Monaghan/New York Magazine

Hey, maybe you heard that McDonald’s is once again rolling out its McRib sandwiches for a limited time only. It’s true that people go crazy for this thing, but ick. We have a tough time abiding. Pork purée that’s been molded into a strange rib facsimile and slathered with too-sugary (and way-too-red) barbecue sauce just isn’t our idea of a great sandwich, especially in a town that’s as pig-crazy as New York. In fact, this city is stuffed to the brim with juicy, fatty, makes-life-worth-living pork-and-carb excellence. Below is but a small sampling of our favorites. Check them out, then, as always, let us know what your favorites are, too.

The Sandwich: The Macho Man or Woman
Where to Get It: Court Street Grocers
The South Brooklyn grocery store’s sandwich counter turns out plenty of pork (tamarind pork loin, a killer rendition of a Cuban, even a pork roll at breakfast), but Grub’s favorite is this pulled-pork-butt, cheddar, and cole slaw combo finished with house-made duck sauce and stuffed into juice-drenched garlic bread.

The Sandwich: The Cumberland
Where to Get It: Brooklyn Sandwich Society
This Fort Greene newcomer is very quickly making a name for itself among sandwich devotees. One reason why: this mix of honey-glazed pork belly, pickled carrots, sharp shiso, and kimchee mayo.

The Sandwich: Porky Melt
Where to Get It: Pork Slope
Dale Talde’s homage to highway roadhouses gets it right with this (even if we doubt they have anything similar in St. Louis): toasted marble rye, mustard, onions, and a fat patty of ground pork sausage.

The Sandwich: P.B.L.T.
Where to Get It: John Brown Smokehouse
Burnt ends get all the love at the Long Island City joint, but don’t overlook this over-the-top, smoked-belly take on a BLT.

The Sandwich: Crispy Pork
Where to Get It: Bark
Skip the hot dogs here and get the sandwich: Heritage pork parts get shaped and deep fried into a crispy-juicy patty that’s then topped with pickles and slaw.

The Sandwich: Char Siu Pork or Pulled Pork
Where to Get It: Dickson’s Farmstand Meats
The menu changes daily at the Chelsea Market butcher, but you can count on either a classic pulled-pork with cole slaw, or a spiced char siu version. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter which one you get since, no matter what, the meat used is top-notch.

The Sandwich: The Cubano
Where to Get It: The Spotted Pig
At $18, April Bloomfield’s pork-stuffed (lunch-only) Cuban sandwich is hardly the cheapest in town. Then again, this is confit heritage pork and funky Gruyère cheese from one of the city’s great chefs — that kind of pedigree comes with a price.

The Sandwich: Banh Mis
Where to Get It: Pretty Much Anywhere
The great banh mi fad of the late-aughts may have settled some, but that doesn’t make the porky, paté-stuffed sandwiches any less amazing. Check out Banh Mi Saigon Bakery, Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches, Ba Xuên, or plenty of others.

The Sandwich: Steamed Pork Bun
Where to Get It: Practically any outpost in the Momofuku empire
Steamed buns blew up this year, but Grub still gravitates back toward David Chang’s pork-belly mainstays.

The Sandwich: Pork Hero
Where to Get It: Defonte’s
Whether you go to the Red Hook original or the Manhattan offshoot, order a gigantic hero full of roasted pork and fried eggplant.

The Sandwich: Porchetta Sandwich
Where to Get It: Porchetta
Sara Jenkins has made New York’s ur-sandwich: Grand Daisy ciabatta rolls filled to the brim with slow-cooked loin, belly, and skin — and no slaw or mustard or anything else to get in the way.

The Sandwich: Spicy Pork Hero
Where to Get It: The Meatball Shop
It’s hard to beat the bare-bones subs at the ever-expanding meatball empire. (Get it with tomato sauce and mozzarella.)

The Sandwich: Pulled Duroc Pork
Where to Get It: Num Pang
We’ve already talked about New York’s army of amazing banh mi bakeries, but we’ll call special attention to the Cambodian shop that puts out a similar sandwich yet fills it with tender, slow-cooked pork.

Related: Eight Things Britney Spears Has in Common With the McRib

Thirteen Spectacular Pork Sandwiches That Aren’t the McRib