A Sandwich a Day: The Rocket Pig at Rocket Pig
In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
In the YouTube video showing how Rocket Pig's eponymous dish is made, chef Ralf Kuettel describes it as "the perfect sandwich." Self-serving though it may be, that statement is not far from the truth, as the crowds and daily "Out of Pig!!!" signs attest. Operating out of a carriage house behind Trestle on Tenth, Kuettel's Swiss brasserie, Rocket Pig has a singular focus: the menu consists of the sandwich, some chips and cookies, and soda. (If you're eating in, you can also get oysters or charcuterie brought over from Trestle on Tenth, but as Rocket Pig is about the size of an elevator and an easy walk to both the High Line and Hudson River Park, getting it to go makes more sense.)
Kuettel takes the meat from the neck and shoulder of a heritage pig, brines it for three days in a mix of juniper, bay leaves, and other spices, gives it a dry rub, smokes it for four hours, and roasts it for another two before slicing it and serving it on toasted ciabatta with red onion jam and a mustard sauce. As you'd expect, the cost of all of that prep gets passed on to you, but for your $14 you get a remarkably well-balanced sandwich, fatty and meaty, savory and sweet, crispy and chewy. The onion jam combined with the natural sweetness of the pork could make it cloying, but the mustard sauce keeps things in check. If you need more heat, the side of house-made hot sauce works wonders.