Best Sandwich in Every U.S. State
The English may have invented the sandwich, but it's safe to say the Americans have perfected it. From the humble grilled cheese to slow-cooked pulled pork, there's something for everyone at establishments across the nation.
Sandwich preferences vary widely from state to state: Some can be held in your hands, much like the original; other behemoths require a fork and knife to dig into. As far as we're concerned, a sandwich is anything between two slices of bread or halves of a roll (burgers and hot dogs notwithstanding – that's a whole other story!), and every one of the 50 states has something exciting in that regard to offer.
To create our list, we first did a deep dive into the culinary history and local specialties of each and every state in order to identify its emblematic sandwich. Once we'd zeroed in on the dish that best represented the local cuisine, we delved into reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor to find the restaurants, sandwich shops and food carts that locals claimed were making the very best examples of what their state had to offer.
Did your favorite sandwich make the cut?
Alabama: BBQ Chicken Sandwich With White Sauce
Located in the heart of barbecue country, Alabama is known for its whole-smoked chickens and unique white barbecue sauce. While there are dozens of recipes for this mayo-based concoction, the best place to sample it is where it all began, at Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q in Decatur. Here, chickens are smoked over hickory wood for three hours before being dunked in the tangy sauce and served on a toasted bun topped with slaw.
A handful of places in Birmingham also make a great version of this classic Northern Alabama sandwich, including our top pick: Miss Myra's Pit Bar B-Q.
Alaska: Smoked Salmon Sandwich
Alaska is known for its seafood — especially its salmon — so it's no surprise that the locals really know how to make it shine. The Saltry Restaurant, located in the remote town of Halibut Cove, is famous for its stunning views of mountains and glaciers, as well as its menu of artful, seasonal food. The standout dish: a scrumptious smoked sockeye sandwich with lemon aioli. No wonder people are willing to board a ferry just for a taste! Just be warned that it's open from late spring to early fall.
In Anchorage (quite a bit easier to access), Glacier BrewHouse does an amazing Alderwood-smoked sockeye club with a Greek yogurt dressing.
Arizona: Southwestern Panini
A ZOOKZ sandwich is an experience like no other, thanks to a unique contraption that seals the sandwich’s bread around its fillings. The result is somewhere between a panini and a pastry; the #25, with thinly sliced ham, avocado, seasoned black beans, cheese and house-made chipotle sauce, offers the famous Southwestern Arizona flair.
A similar experience can be enjoyed at The Panini People food truck in Phoenix, where the Southwestern, stuffed with chicken, pepper jack, roasted red peppers, spinach and chipotle aioli, is a local fave.
Arkansas: Fried Bologna and Fried Catfish Sandwiches
It's a tie for best sandwich in Arkansas, depending on who you ask. For many locals, to choose anything other than fried bologna would be sacrilege — and the simpler the better. A true Arkansas fried bologna sandwich is just that: thickly sliced bologna, fried and placed between two slices of bread. That's exactly what you'll get at Johnny B's Grill in El Dorado, beloved among locals.
If fried bologna isn't your style, Arkansas is also famous for its fried catfish. While this local delicacy is usually served on a plate rather than on a roll, you can sample a spicy catfish po'boy at the aptly named Eat My Catfish.
California: French Dip
California cuisine may summon images of vegan avocado toast, but the sandwich to try in the Golden State is the perennial fave French dip, allegedly invented in Los Angeles at Philippe the Original. The Beef Double-Dip is the most famous offering at the 100-year-old restaurant, where both slices of bread are dipped in jus before being filled with tender roast beef.
For many Angelenos, Philippe's is still the best place to enjoy this classic, but another L.A. restaurant, Coles, also claims to have invented the French dip. Give both a try to see which one you prefer.
RELATED: These Shops Make the Absolute Best Sandwiches in the U.S.
Colorado: Fool's Gold
Legend has it that one night, Elvis Presley took a private jet from Graceland to Denver just to purchase 28 Fool's Gold sandwiches from the Colorado Mine Company restaurant. Each sandwich was made from a hollowed-out loaf of French bread slathered with margarine, baked, then filled with a pound of bacon, peanut butter and jelly.
Sadly, both places that served the sandwich — the Colorado Mine Company and Nick's Café — have closed. So your best bet to try it is to follow an easy and tasty recipe for it.
If the Fool's Gold Loaf feels a bit too imposing, Denver food truckHeyPB&J serves a variety of unique peanut butter sandwiches, including a Thai Chicken sandwich with spicy peanut butter and orange marmalade, as well as the King, with peanut butter, bacon, bananas and clover honey.
Connecticut: Connecticut-Style Lobster Roll
Whereas the more famous Maine lobster roll is usually served cold, Connecticuters prefer their local iteration: warm lobster with butter, hold the mayo. This sandwich got its start at the now-closed Perry's in Milford, but a host of spots still cook up a delicious version, including the aggressively unpretentious Lobster Landing in Clinton, where the lobster roll is served on a toasted Italian grinder roll. The restaurant's only drawback is that it's open seasonally.
If you want to try this Connecticut standard a bit closer to where it was invented, try the lobster roll at Milford’s 7 Seas Restaurant, made exclusively from claw and knuckle meat.
Delaware: Thanksgiving Sub
Imagine taking a full Thanksgiving dinner and layering it onto a sub, and you have the Bobbie, a Delaware invention from Capriotti's Sandwich Shop. The sandwich, introduced onto the menu over 40 years ago, is made with house-roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo, and has attracted quite a few fans, including former Vice President Joe Biden. The family-founded fast-casual restaurant now boasts 106 outposts, with 15 in Delaware alone, so it's easy enough to track down a Bobbie when you're in The First State.
If you want to try a different version of this Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich, consider hopping the border into D.C. and sampling the Nobadeer at Jettie's, made with roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise on sourdough.
South Floridans love a good Cubano, typically made with two kinds of pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles pressed on Cuban bread. While there are dozens of restaurants offering this classic sandwich, Versailles in Miami's Little Havana is a frequently cited top choice, thanks to its simple, delicious execution of the quintessential recipe.
But if you want to try this sandwich in the city it was invented, set your eyes on Tampa, where you can try it at La Segunda Central Bakery.
RELATED: 10 Best Things to Do in Tampa
Georgia: Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Several southern states lay claim to the pimento cheese — a simple spread or relish combining shredded cheese, pimentos and mayonnaise — as a local staple. But Georgia offers tons of plays on this lunchbox classic, including pimento cheese omelets and grits, both standout dishes on Buttermilk Kitchen's brunch menu. This Atlanta fave also serves up pimento cheese as a sandwich, albeit one you'll have to assemble yourself: the Pimento Cheese Snack comes with housemade pickles, red pepper jelly and white toast.
Fox Bros. BBQ serves its melted pimento cheese atop the house "burger," a brisket sandwich with bacon and jalapeño mayo, but also boasts a plain pimento-cheese sandwich (served either cold or griddled) for those who would rather not mess with a good thing.
Hawaii: Kalua Pork Sandwich
Kalua pork sandwiches are a staple Hawaiian lunch option, and perhaps no one does it better than Kono's. Its pork is slow-roasted for 12 hours and served in many different ways, including in a breakfast burrito, on a biscuit, as a nacho topping and as part of a number of different sandwiches. The most mouthwatering are the "Old School," with guava barbecue sauce, grilled onions and slaw, and the "Triple Crown," which adds ham and bacon to the mix.
Helena's comes in a close second place: The Honolulu classic boasts a no-frills ambiance and a classic menu of Hawaiian faves, including a killer kalua pork sandwich.
Idaho: Huckleberry Sandwich
Idaho may seem synonymous with potatoes, but locals are far more partial to huckleberries. At Trillium in Boise, they form an integral part of the barbecue sauce slathered on the pulled roast turkey and brie sandwich.
Huckleberries play just as well with steak, as shown by Coeur d'Alene's Cosmic Cowboy Grill. Here, huckleberry barbecue sauce is paired with beef tri-tip on sliders you definitely won't want to share.
Illinois: Italian Beef
On Chicago's South Side, Italian immigrants first started making Italian beef sandwiches in the ‘30s. Juicy and flavorful, these sammies are now available all over Chicago, but purists run to Al's, which still claims to be the originator of this classic sandwich. The chain still uses its original recipe to prepare dry-roasted beef coated in a secret blend of spices, topped with peppers and served inside a thick roll. Most connoisseurs opt for their sandwich "wet," with extra meat juice poured on like gravy, so grab a few extra napkins (and be prepared to get a bit messy).
Fabulous Freddie's may not be as much of a household name as Al's, but it's still a local fave, located just steps from Sox park. The juicy Italian beef is made in-house every day and can be topped with chunks of Italian peppers for guests who like a bit of heat.
Indiana: Hoosier Sandwich
This local specialty featuring breaded and fried pork tenderloin finds its roots in the schnitzel, brought to Indiana by German immigrants. But the Hoosier is truly a horse of a different color.
Many believe the sandwich got its start atNick's Kitchen in Huntington, which some still say makes the very best in the state. Marinated in buttermilk, hand-breaded in cracker crumbs and fried fresh to order, this sandwich the size of your face is a local classic.
The historic Oasis Diner in Plainfield is a worthy runner-up: Its retro décor is more than enough reason for a visit, but its tenderloin sandwiches will bring you back — both the classic breaded-and-fried version and other iterations, including blackened, grilled or in the form of four mini sliders.
Iowa: Loose Meat Sandwich
To anyone outside of Iowa, the local delicacy of "loose meat" may sound like something best avoided. But trust us: This sandwich akin to the lovechild of a burger and a sloppy joe is definitely worth a try. The traditional recipe — crumbled, seasoned ground beef and chopped onions paired with mustard and pickles, stuffed between cheap hamburger buns — is no-frills perfection.
Most often associated with the state's Maid-Rite chain, which popularized the sandwich in the ‘20s, today loose meat is available all over Iowa. Canteen Lunch in the Alley in Ottumwa often gets top billing for its recipe, though true purists shun the ketchup used here. A close second goes to the Miles Inn in Sioux City, where the sandwich is sold under the name the "Charlie Boy" and also includes a slice of American cheese.
Kansas: Burnt End Sandwich
Kansas City is known as one of America's barbecue capitals, and while you can certainly find ribs and brisket here, the local specialty, burnt ends, are the real must-try. These charred, fattier ends from the point section of the brisket were once given away for free at Arthur Bryant's. Today, no such luck, but the sandwiches of cubed burnt ends doused in sauce are a local treat more than worth a few dollars.
If you want something that gets a little closer to the crisp, barky ends that originally made this dish so famous, try Gates Bar-B-Q, where they're chopped a bit finer and retain their crispy crunch (whether you opt for sauce or not — but you should definitely opt for sauce).
Both restaurants have outposts throughout the Kansas City metro area, spanning both Kansas and Missouri. So you can try this sandwich while in Missouri too!
RELATED: The Absolute Best BBQ in Kansas City, According to a Local
Kentucky: Hot Brown
This local Louisville specialty was created at the eponymous Brown Hotel in the 1920s. In essence a Welsh rarebit with a bit more heft, this open-faced sandwich of turkey, bacon and cheese sauce is broiled and served hot.
The Brown Hotel still serves its original version, piling the toppings high on Texas toast. But the version at The Café is delicious too, in no small part thanks to toast points on top, which add a nice bit of crunch.
Louisiana: Oyster Po' Boy
Louisiana boasts several famous sandwiches, including the muffuletta, but it's hard to beat a classic po' boy. Fillings abound, but we're partial to fried oysters — especially the version at Domilise's in New Orleans, which has a bit of a cult following for its fresh sandwiches cooked to order. You can even opt for a po' boy with half-oyster half-shrimp filling, a sensational combo.
A bit further afield in Lafayette, Olde Tyme Grocery does this classic right in a down-home atmosphere.
Maine: Lobster Roll
A classic Maine lobster roll is served cold with mayo — and you'll find them on the menu pretty much everywhere you turn. The best might be at the seasonally-operated Clam Shack in Kennebunk, which boasts not only an aesthetic worthy of the name but two versions of the classic sandwich, one with mayo and one with drawn butter (perfect for the no-mayo crowd).
Purists, however, may turn their noses up at the Clam Shack’s choice to replace the traditional buttered hot-dog bun with a hamburger roll. To these folks, we suggest another seasonal best, Red's Eats, the world-famous side-of-the-road shack in Wiscasset whose long line indicates its quality.
Maryland: Pit Beef Sandwich
Often dubbed Baltimore's answer to barbecue, pit beef is cooked over coals until charred and crusty on the outside and tender and pink on the inside. Typically made with top round and sliced ultra thin, pit beef is best served on a Kaiser roll with horseradish, mayo and thinly sliced raw onion.
Pioneer Pit Beef in Catonsville does this classic upright, serving the warm beef in a wide range of stages of doneness and boasting an intensely smokey flavor locals love. Baltimore’s Chaps Pit Beef serves a great version of this classic, too, not to mention combos pairing the beef with sausage, corned beef or turkey.
Hoagie, sub, grinder…spuckie? This common sandwich has a unique name in Boston thanks to its Italian immigrant roots, with locals condensing the word "spucadella," a type of Italian long roll. Similar to an Italian hero, a spuckie is made with a variety of Italian cured meats and cheeses and can be served cold or pressed.
One of the best can be found at Cutty's in Brookline Village, which boasts not just a traditional spuckie with fennel salami, capicola, mortadella and mozzarella, but also a vegetarian version made with eggplant. Second place goes to Boston’s Nebo Cucina and Enoteca, which serves a whole menu of spuckies, with ingredients ranging from prosciutto to Italian tuna to fried meatballs.
Michigan: Detroit Ham
You can get a ham sandwich anywhere…right? If you see no problem with that statement, you've never tried a Detroit ham sandwich. This local specialty, invented in the ‘60s, consists of smoked, bone-in, spiral-cut ham slices on an onion roll topped with Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, lettuce and tomato.
The sandwich is in the name of Mike's Famous Ham Place in Detroit, and has been on the menu since 1974. Lile's is another great spot to try this local invention, thanks to its generous slices of hand-carved ham.
Minnesota: Fried Walleye Sandwich
Walleye is the official fish of Minnesota, and locals love it any which way, but fried on a sandwich is definitely a frontrunner. Mac's Fish and Chips' three outposts throughout the Twin Cities serve it simple, to tremendous effect: battered and fried with pickles, lemon and tartar sauce.
If you're looking for something a touch more innovative, 400 Tavern in Minneapolis adds its own twist on the fave with its North Shore Walley Roll, serving the fish beer-battered and pairing it with spicy aioli on a butter-toasted roll.
Mississippi: Pig's Ear Sandwich
A long-standing Mississippi tradition, chewy, flavorful pig's ears are particularly delightful in a sandwich. Thanks to attention from Anthony Bourdain, this is what the Big Apple Inn in Jackson is known for, and they certainly live up to the hype: pressure cooked until tender, the ears are served with mustard, homemade hot sauce and slaw.
As far as we can tell, this is the only place in the state to try this delicacy…unless you're brave enough to try making it at home!
Missouri: The Gerber
This St. Louis invention is a toasted, open-face sandwich topped with garlic butter, ham and locally popular Provel cheese (a processed combo of cheddar, Swiss and provolone with a low melting point and a super buttery texture). Try it atRuma's Deli, the local chain that first invented this sandwich back in 1973.
While many remain loyal to Ruma's, some locals claim it has gone downhill of late. Gioia's, however, is another great option. While they don't technically have a Gerber on the menu, since you can customize your sandwich however you like, it's easy enough to order a delicious iteration of the Gerber here by combining garlic bread, ham and Provel.
Montana: Pork Chop Sandwich
Made famous by one of Montana's most famous sons, Evel Knievel, the pork chop sandwich is a Butte favorite. Many local restaurants claim to serve the best version, including Knievel's pick, the Freeway Tavern's "World Famous Wop Chop," made according to a top-secret recipe.
Pork Chop John's is certainly a contender as well; since 1924, John's has been dunking its loin-cut chop in cornmeal batter and topping it with mustard, pickle and onion.
While Reubens are more frequently associated with NYC, this sandwich may in fact have been invented at Omaha's Blackstone Hotel by Lithuanian immigrant Reuben Kulakofsky in the ‘20s.
Today, superb versions are still served in Omaha, including at Crescent Moon, where the sandwich is made with slow-cooked corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing on marbled rye.
Nevada: Patty Melt
While the patty melt was invented a bit farther to the West, in California, Nevada boasts some of the best in the nation — perhaps because Biff Naylor, son of the sandwich's inventor Tiny Naylor, still serves this grilled cheese/hamburger mashup at Du-par's inside the Suncoast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The patty is topped with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese and served on grilled rye, and it's hands-down one of the best in the state.
The Cracker Boxin Carson City also cooks up a formidable version, and its atmospheric diner ambiance is tough to beat.
New Hampshire: Fried Haddock Sandwich
Given its position on the Atlantic coast, it's no surprise that New Hampshire is home to sublime seafood. Locals have taken a page out of the book of the original colonizers in dishing up delicious beer-battered haddock fish, served inside a scrumptious sandwich at mini-chain Nadeau's, with outposts in Manchester, Concord and Exeter.
Petey's Summertime Seafood in Rye (open year-round, contrary to its name) also offers a fried haddock sandwich that's always moist and never greasy, not to mention an extensive menu of other seafood specialties.
New Jersey: Italian Hoagie
It's perhaps no surprise, given New Jersey's huge Italian-American population, that an Italian hoagie would be the top choice of the Garden State.Cosmo's Italian Salumeria in Hackensack serves up some amazing versions featuring top-quality Italian meats and only the freshest mozzarella. The #1 earns its name with a winning combo of ham, salami, soppressata, capicola, mozzarella, provolone and sweet peppers.
Atlantic City's White House Subs, meanwhile, is one of the most renowned sub shops in the country, home to the White House Special with tons of salami, capicola, ham and provolone.
New Mexico: Turkey and Green Chile Sandwich
New Mexico is known for green chiles, so it’s little wonder that they end up on the state's most delicious sandwiches.
At Relish, the "Albuquerque Turkey" features turkey, havarti, chile and chipotle mayo on toasted sourdough. Santa Fe Capitol Grillalsohas a Santa Fe turkey melt that's topped with the state's famous food.
New York: Pastrami on Rye
Pastrami on rye is an NYC staple, so it's no surprise that you can find it in a lot of places. With Carnegie Deli closed (RIP), Katz's is probably New York's most famous deli serving the quintessential mile-high sandwiches.
From the time-tested practice of ordering at the window, getting your ticket and waiting for your sandwich to be delivered, to the sandwich itself — one of the only ones in the city still made with hand-carved meat — Katz's is an experience for sure.
North Carolina: Barbecue Pork Sandwich
"Barbecue" in North Carolina is synonymous with pork shoulder, so the must-try in this state is, naturally, the pulled pork sandwich. Stamey's is a Greensboro institution, serving up moist chopped pork with just a hint of sweetness to its sauce. The house-made slaw (a secret recipe!) really dolls up this sandwich.
Another tasty option can be found at Lexington Barbecue, where the moist, hickory-smoked 'cue keeps locals and visitors alike coming back for more.
North Dakota: Sloppy Joe
This cafeteria fave — a wondrously messy mix of ground beef or pork, onions and tomato sauce or ketchup, stuffed inside a hamburger bun — is a standby in North Dakota, served at a number of unpretentious roadside stands.
When the famed The Fabulous Kegs Drive In in Grand Forks closed, the state lost its indisputable sloppy joe king. Thankfully, West Fargo's Jumbo's (another restaurant that closed) still sells jars of Jumbo's sauce in local shops and online. If you're lucky, you may even encounter Jumbo's Food Truck at a local event, where you can sample not only joes but Sloppy Spud or Mac'n'Joe!
Ohio: Polish Boy
Don't confuse this Ohio specialty with a po' boy: A Polish Boy is a kielbasa sandwich with a layer of fries, a layer of either barbecue or hot sauce, and a layer of coleslaw. And yes, this sammy is somewhat similar to a hot dog, but it's still often referred to as a sandwich and is delicious enough (and enough of an Ohio staple!) that we decided to include it in the mix anyway.
Seti's in Cleveland is one of the most famous purveyors, selling the sausage sandwiches out of a plain food truck with the option to add chili or cheese. Also in Cleveland, the version at Mabel's BBQ, dubbed the Polish Girl, can be enjoyed with a choice of classic kielbasa or hot with cheese, and comes topped with chopped pork and coleslaw. Yes, please.
Oklahoma: Chicken-Fried Steak Sandwich
This classic dish of battered and fried steak is popular in several states, but perhaps nowhere more than in Oklahoma, where it has been part of the official state meal (alongside fried okra, cornbread and black-eyed peas) since 1988.
A tantalizing version with a super-beefy flavor can be found at Savoy in South Tulsa, where only the best top round is tenderized in-house before being battered, fried and served on a homemade bun.
Oregon: Grilled Tillamook Cheddar Sandwich
While you'll certainly find grilled cheese across the country, Oregon's local Tillamook cheddar cheese makes it one of the best spots to enjoy the comfort-food classic.
At Portland’s Bunk Sandwiches, the ultra-cheesy sandwich can be enjoyed with a side of creamy tomato soup. The Gabby at the aptly-named Grilled Cheese Grill, also in foodie-mecca Portland, pairs Tillamook with Swiss and mozzarella for an even cheesier sandwich. (Because as we all know, you can’t have too much cheese.)
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Cheesesteak
Obvious? Yes. But was there any other choice? The Philly cheesesteak is a local staple and national legend for a reason.
John's Roast Pork often tops the list among aficionados, with its seasoned beef loin, grilled to order, piled into scooped rolls and topped with sharp provolone or American cheese. It's also a great spot to try another local classic: the eponymous roast pork sandwich.
But for some locals, only Cheez Whiz will do for a true cheesesteak. If you fall into this camp, turn to Tony Luke's. With several spots throughout the city, this cheesesteak spot opts for sliced rib-eye steak and rolls baked on-premises for the ultimate crisp crust.
RELATED: Where to Get the Best Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches in America
Rhode Island: Italian Grinder
Rhode Island is known for its grinders — a sub or hoagie in most other states — made from hard rolls filled with layers of Italian meat, cheese and veggies. Tomaselli's at Rosario in Providence makes two of the best: a plain one with banana peppers and the Tony T's version boasting sharp provolone and red peppers.
The Ultimate Grinder from Providence's Ocean State Sandwich Company takes things a step further, adding a homemade sun-dried tomato and banana-pepper relish to the mix.
South Carolina: Pulled Pork Sandwich With Mustard Sauce
South Carolina pulled pork stands out from versions in other regions thanks to its tangy mustard base. Discover this local specialty at Columbia chainSouthern Belly BBQ, where all of the sauces — including the Midas (inspired by South Carolina liquid gold) — are made in-house. Pulled pork is delicious on its own, but is also a real treat on the Castro sandwich, which pairs the pork with pickles, banana peppers and Swiss cheese on a buttered French roll.
Sample yet another version of the local specialty at Poogan's Smokehouse in Charleston, where a pulled pork sandwich and slider are both on the menu. Really want to indulge? Order the Four Porksmen, with pulled pork, pork belly, bacon and ribs crammed inside a sweet bun — sure to satisfy even the hungriest eaters.
South Dakota: Pheasant Salad Sandwich
South Dakota has been known for its pheasant salad sandwiches since World War II, when volunteers passed out this local delicacy to soldiers for free. A more modern version of what was then ultra-simple wartime fare is served at the aptly named Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge in Brookings: a sandwich of pheasant, pecans, cranberries and Swiss cheese served on toasted rye bread.
You might also be able to try an ultra-traditional version by snagging a seat at a WWII Pheasant Canteen Team event: This small group of volunteers is committed to sharing the unique history of this sandwich with the local community.
Tennessee: Nashville Hot Chicken
Nashville hot chicken was reportedly invented by a woman scorned: Andre Prince Jeffries, owner of Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, claims that the cayenne-pepper-spiced fried chicken was first cooked up by the girlfriend of Jeffries' great-uncle, a noted womanizer, to punish him for one too many late nights out. Her attempt at revenge apparently had the opposite effect — today, dozens of spots cook up this classic, including, of course, Prince's, which serves its chicken on plain white bread with the diner's choice of heat level.
Party Fowl is another tasty option, offering a number of variations on the sandwich, including a hot chicken po' boy and a hot chicken cubano.
Texas: Brisket Sandwich
Whereas in most of the U.S., barbecue is synonymous with pork, in Texas, BBQ means beef — brisket, to be exact.
La Barbecue in Austin is known for its ultra-moist brisket, served chopped and topped with house-made sauce. You could also opt for the restaurant's La Frito Loco, a behemoth combining brisket and pulled pork with chipotle coleslaw, Fritos, cheese and jalapeños. This one’s not for the faint of heart!
Utah: Halibut Sandwich With Fry Sauce
Contrary to what you might think, the key to this local Utah sandwich isn't exactly the fish, but rather the sauce. Fry sauce (a combo of ketchup and mayonnaise) was ostensibly invented in Utah at the Arctic Circle restaurant, a claim to fame the chain capitalizes on to this day, serving the pink sauce on its fried Alaskan halibut sandwich (and selling it in bottles to take home).
You can also try fry sauce at Crown Burgers, either atop one of the restaurant’s signature burgers or on its fish-fillet sandwich. The fry sauce here might not be the original, but it was voted the "overwhelming favorite" in a 2015 Salt Lake City residents poll.
Vermont's favorite sandwich is so emblematic of the state, it sports its name! Made with cold cuts, apple slices and, of course, Vermont cheddar, this sweet-and-savory concoction can be found from Burlington to Manchester.
The charming Craftsbury General Store makes its version of the Vermonter with all-natural turkey, bacon and maple aioli for even more local flair. The sandwich is assembled on sourdough and pressed panini-style before serving.
AtKlinger's Bread Company in South Burlington, the Vermonter gets an even sweeter touch thanks to cranberry pecan bread and raspberry mayonnaise.
Virginia: Ham Biscuit
Country ham is one of Virginia's most emblematic products, and while there are tons of ways to enjoy it, sandwiching the rich, salty ham on a biscuit is perhaps the best way to go. Sample the combo at Old Chickahominy House in Williamsburg, where the biscuits are rolled thin and served hot, allowing the flavor of the ham to shine through.
Or dig into the specialty at the Roanoaker, where the rich, buttery biscuits haven't just caught the attention of locals, but also of The Today Show.
Washington: Salmon Sandwich
Washington is known for the quality and freshness of its seafood, and that certainly includes salmon. Market Grill in Seattle's Pike Place Market is perhaps best known for its clam chowder, but it also serves up one of the moistest blackened salmon sandwiches around.
Highliner Public House is another great local spot to try a salmon sando: The grilled wild Coho salmon is served with savory garlic-herb butter and lemon-garlic aioli. Perfection.
West Virginia: Sausage Biscuit
Choosing the best sausage biscuit is a point of contention among West Virginians.
Local chain Tudor's Biscuit World is a perennial favorite and often cited as the inventor of this sandwich. Today, Tudor's still serves up several versions of this dish, including the Ron, with sausage, egg and cheese, and the Peppi, a nod to another WV specialty — the pepperoni roll.
Despite its name, Suzi's Hamburgers in Charleston is another top pick for this sandwich. Here, the biscuits are massive — the perfect base for a truly filling meal.
Wisconsin: Grilled Wisconsin Cheddar Sandwich
As the largest cheese-producing state in the nation, Wisconsin is no stranger to a fabulous grilled cheese.
The very best may well come from theMeltedfood truck in Madison, where the ultra-specialized team serves sandwiches like The Gold Standard, with munster, cheddar and Swiss, or the Caprese, with mozzarella and tomato.
Wyoming: Beef Sandwich
Wyoming's cattle-ranching industry translates to delicious local grass-fed beef. The prime-rib sandwich at Mangy Moose in Teton Village is a surefire crowd-pleaser, served with horseradish sauce, grilled onions, white cheddar and hand-cut fries.
T-Joe's in Cheyenne serves its own version as a lunch special with a price that's hard to beat (and the option to sample some Rocky Mountain oysters while you're at it!).
The state also knows how to do roast beef sammies right, including at Pearl St. Market in Jackson Hole.
RELATED: We Tried Rocky Mountain Oysters. Here’s What It Was Like.