"This sandwich will be sweet and moist from the onions, savory and chewable thanks to the thoroughly cooked cecina, and as spicy as you dare prepare."
What's true of a steak is not necessarily true of a steak sandwich. I like my stand-alone steak bleeding rare and cut from the rib, but slap that prime, pink flesh between two pieces of bread and I struggle both to taste and to chew the thing. A steak sandwich is the one time I want my meat thinly sliced and cooked through, to break down fibers and build up flavor.
Carne cecina, the salted, sun-dried beef traditional to central Mexico, is my favorite taco filling at my local taquería. Yet, despite living in a very Mexican part of Brooklyn, where cecina is sold alongside cigarettes, I had always resisted buying the raw ingredient. In its uncooked form, the meat has an off-putting, greyish-brown cast; it seemed easier to pay somebody $2.25 to put it in a taco for me. And then it occurred to me: Thin sheets of cecina, with their intense, almost jerkylike flavor, would make one hell of a steak sandwich. This one, I'd have to cook myself.
To make The Steak Sandwich to End All Steak Sandwiches, you will need: