I remember my first party sub. In the second grade, we were celebrating whatever you celebrate in second grade—maybe we had party funds from the annual nerd Brainwave competition or maybe it was the class guinea pig’s birthday. I only recall the shock and awe of staring at foot after foot of sandwich. The box itself could have held an anaconda. The meat was spilling out almost cartoonishly. The shredded lettuce surrounded it like confetti. It was glorious. And just like that, my fascination and obsession with party subs began.
People tell you that you should never meet your idols, which is why I’ve previously avoided run-ins with party sub magicians. What if it was all trickery? What if, as friends have assured me, the giant loaf wasn’t actually impressive at all, but in fact many smaller and weaker bread specimens sliced to disillusion those of us who believe in the massive hoagie roll? But recently, my curiosity got the better of me and I called up Gil Calderon, general manager of Meathook Sandwich in Brooklyn (known for extreme subs and sandwiches). And behold, he revealed exactly how a perfect party sub gets made. Highlights below.
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So is the bread really that long? Amazingly, yes. Meathook sources party sub bread from Rockland Bakery, a large-scale operation in New York. “They have ovens with decks that can house a six-foot long hero,” Calderon says. “In big, industrial-sized bakeries, the decks are that size so they can fit a bunch of loaves.” So maybe it’s not a special, giant oven dedicated to party sub bread like you may have hoped, but it’s not a trick!