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Chain Reaction: We Try 6 Thanksgiving Sandwich Specials

Turkey, stuffing, and cranberries make for a solid sandwich, so it's no surprise that several sandwich chains sling Thanksgiving-themed sandwiches year-round. We checked in with a few of the larger operators to find out how their versions stack up.

Capriotti's

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[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

Capriotti's has two Thanksgiving themed sandwiches on their menu: a Cran-Slam Club and The Bobbie. The Cran-Slam Club ($6.49) is a mostly successful merger of two sandwiches: ham with mayo and lettuce on top, slow-roasted turkey on the bottom, plus a thick layer of cranberry sauce and an extra slice of bread bridging the gap. The bread-to-fillings ratio was ideal, but the cranberry sauce tasted more like cranberry-blueberry jam, and stole most of the flavor focus. Toasting the bread and doubling up the ham (since there wasn't enough of it to stand out) would be big improvements. Still, it's a perfectly tasty sandwich, but my main thought while eating it was "where's my stuffing?" —Erin Jackson

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[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

I found it on The Bobbie ($7.49 for a small). This sub sandwich is loaded with so much sage-scented stuffing, I had to keep tamping it down to take a proper bite. The cranberry sauce is less prominent, and the denser bread makes for a chewier and more satisfying sandwich. The Bobbie is made with the same slow-roasted turkey as the club sandwich, which is reasonably moist, but could benefit from some warm gravy. Since that's not an option, ask for extra mayo. The pile of salty, starchy stuffing on top commands a fatty, creamy element to balance it out. —Erin Jackson

Which Wich?

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[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

The benefit of going to Which Wich? for your Thanksgiving sandwich fix is that their Thank You Turkey ($5.75 for a small) is entirely customizable. You can double the meat, add additional toppings, or get it warm or cold (hint: warm is better). Toasty bread, warm turkey, and stuffing doesn't need much more than a squirt of mayo, but bacon and dried cranberries would both be tasty additions. This sandwich's only misstep is the stuffing. Warmed up, it's distractingly mushy, but the crunch from the toasted bread mostly masks the texture issues. —Erin Jackson

Earl of Sandwich

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[Photograph: Erin Jackson]

The Holiday Turkey ($6.49) sandwich at Earl of Sandwich is served warm, with sliced turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and GRAVY. Believe me, this needs to be in caps because gravy is the silky, turkey-tinged element that coats all the ingredients, uniting them into one glorious flavor bomb. The cranberry, rightfully relegated to the background, has a nice tang, and there's enough stuffing to be noticed, but not so much that it dwarfs the turkey. Put all of those elements together inside a warm, flaky, toasted bun, and you get one of the best turkey sandwiches I've ever had, Thanksgiving-themed or otherwise. —Erin Jackson

Pret a Manger

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[Photograph: Ben Jay]

Pret A Manger's website advertises Pret's Holiday Lunch—a sandwich with roasted turkey, nut roast stuffing, cranberry sauce, crispy onions, spinach, mayo, and black pepper on granary bread—but the location we went to only had Holiday Turkey Dinner ($7.99), a wrap with the same turkey, stuffing, cranberry, onions and pepper, plus turkey gravy and sweet potato, because apparently people eat sandwiches for lunch and wraps for dinner.

Unfortunately, the wrap is not something I'd recommend for any meal. The turkey's flavor is one note (salty), the sweet potatoes provide mush without flavor, and on my first bite, I actually thought the nut stuffing was stray bits of turkey bone. The cranberry sauce did nothing except turn one corner of the wrap slightly purple, while the advertised crispy onions and gravy were nowhere to be found. Also, is that green stuff on the "dinner" wrap spinach? I thought that was only supposed to be on the "lunch" sandwich. Unless you like blowing eight bucks on a bland, salty, and questionably bony mess (albeit a nicely wrapped one) that's been sitting in a heated case, I'd strongly caution you to avoid.—Ben Jay

Cosi

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[Photograph: Ben Jay]

Luckily, Cosi makes a version that does the holiday some justice with the Turkey & Stuffing Sandwich ($7.49), consisting of the aforementioned turkey and stuffing, plus a healthy amount of cranberry sauce on flatbread. The turkey is gently spiced, and they left the skin on! The stuffing is fairly mushy, but it has a nice flavor and is heaped on generously, while the cranberry sauce adds a subtle sweetness. Put that all on some crispy flatbread, and you've got a surprisingly tasty, if slightly silly-looking sandwich. I got mine toasted, but if you want it cold, that's an option, too.—Ben Jay

About the authors: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax

Ben Jay is an editorial intern at Serious Eats, photographer, carnivore, beer and whisky drinker, and music nerd. If he doesn't get leg and wing this year, Thanksgiving will be a failure. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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