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Photograph courtesy of That's Good Work Out of You

Any sandwich that has an entire festival based around it has got to be serious, and the spiedie is no exception. This weekend (August 3 to August 5) is the annual Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally in Binghamton, New York, and while everyone in the Triple Cities Area (Binghamton, Endicott, and Johnson City) has their favorite version of the spiedie, few will argue that Lupo's S & S Char Pit has one of the best.

The name spiedie comes from "spiedo," the Italian word for "spit," and the sandwich originally was skewered cubes of marinated lamb that were grilled to a crisp and pulled off the spit using the slice of Italian bread that you ended up eating it with. While Lupo's still serves a lamb spiedie, chicken and pork are by far the most popular. Every cube of meat that gets grilled at the Char Pit goes through a 24-hour soak in the spiedie marinade, which consists of oil, vinegar, and a closely guarded recipe of dry Italian spices that Lupo's has been using since 1951, when Sam Lupo Sr. opened a meat market that specialized in spiedie meat (the Char Pit opened in 1978).

For bread, Lupo's uses a six-inch Italian-style hoagie roll with a flaky crust, and while many will argue that a real spiedie must be served on sliced Italian bread, nobody will argue about the source. True spiedies are always served on Felix Roma Bread, and Lupo's gets its "spiedie rolls" direct from the source.

For those who can't make it to Binghamton, Lupo's ships bottled marinade as well as marinated spiedie meat. In fact, the meat it ships is the same meat it uses in the Char Pit—but nothing compares to having a spiedie fresh off the grill at the restaurant. It's crisp and slightly charred on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. And don't even think about asking for condiments. According to Sam Lupo Jr., "only tourists ask for mayo." If you're from the Triple Cities, your spiedie is just meat and bread.

Lupo's S & S Char Pit

Address: 6 West State Street, Binghamton NY [map]
Phone:
URL: spiedies.com; online ordering available here

Spiedie Fest & Baloon Rally

When: August 3 to August 5, 2007
Where: Otsiningo Park, Binghamton, New York
URL: spiediefest.com

About the author: Zach Brooks is the proprietor of Midtown Lunch, where he blogs about affordable lunchtime eats in Midtown Manhattan. The guy knows his sandwiches.

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