Grilled Reuben Pocket

The Grilled Reuben Pocket is a a quick to prepare hand-held delight perfect for snacking or as a meal itself.

The Reuben sandwich has history deep in New York delicatessens and Midwest poker parlors.  Wherever its beginnings, the classic Reuben is a sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing, usually prepared on pumpernickel or rye bread.  Numerous variations exist on the sandwich, including the Rachel (with pastrami or turkey), the Blue Reuben (replacing the dressing for bleu cheese), the Virgin Reuben (sans meat) and others.  All have one thing in common; they are tasty, versatile and can easily be made on the outdoor grill.

 

Our recipe for the Reuben Pocket includes the classic Reuben ingredients layered in croissant dough and grilled over lump hardwood charcoal, enabling the dough to absorb the smokiness of the fuel source and flavors of a good old fashioned barbecue.  So quick and easy to make, these Reubens are small enough for snacking, but can be made large enough for a meal.  What you’ll need:

 

  • Thick-sliced corned beef
  • Swiss cheese
  • Prepared croissant dough (such as the canned Pillsbury type)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Thousand Island dressing

 

I have not outlined specific measurements for this recipe, as the size and quantity of the Reuben Pockets may vary.  To begin, lay flat the dough from one can of croissant dough (it’s better to buy the dough as a full “sheet” if available, rather than the perforated varieties) and cut into quarters.  In the middle of each piece of dough, layer Swiss cheese, then corned beef, then sauerkraut, and top with Thousand Island dressing.  Fold dough together and pinch all seams to create a nice pillow-shaped pocket.

 

Heat your grill to a medium temperature of around 350°F and bank your coals to one side to utilize cooking over indirect heat.    Brush a light coating of olive oil over the dough to prevent it from sticking to the grates, place the pockets on the grill (away from the coals) and replace the cover.  Cook pockets for approximately 10 minutes, and then turn at a 45 degree angle with a flat metal spatula.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, then turn over.  The dough should begin to “bake by this point and show signs of browning (if the dough is still fairly raw, wait to turn over until it has firmed up and begins to turn brown).  Repeat the process of cooking for another 5minutes, turn at a 45 degree angle, then finish cooking an additional 5 minutes or until the dough appears baked, golden and flaky.  Remove from grill, wait 5 minutes and serve along with additional Thousand Island for dipping.

 

The grilled Reuben Pocket will quickly become a favorite for those that encounter it, being so easy to eat with the hands and completely mess-free.  This method can be used as a basic canvas for creating any number of “pocket” creations.  Stuffing the crusts with pizza sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni is a fantastic Italian variation, or utilizing the flavors of stir-fry sauce, some chicken and vegetables will give you a tantalizing Asian flair.  With the flavors of charcoal infused right into the dough, the Reuben Pocket will quickly become a staple at your next barbecue!

 

Keep on grillin’!

Damon Holter

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