In this great nation 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 the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. --The Mgmt.
I spent years eating barbecue before I came to recognize, and then to appreciate, the smoked-turkey sandwich as a member of the pork-beef-chicken canon. For the longest time, I considered it an unnecessary distraction; like the mozzarella sticks, hamburgers, and salads at some barbecue joint, a consolation for the Yankee-minded masses.
I can't tell you the sandwich that turned me, although I think that I may have eaten it at Hog Heaven in Nashville, but now I recognize smoked turkey for what it is: a glimmering third or fourth way to barbecue, a whole new world of smoke-and-meat flavor for the open-minded pitmaster or barbecue connoisseur.
The best smoked turkey tastes clean and light, with traces of hickory smoke and honey that play on the palate like white wine to pulled pork's PBR. The turkey at Bradley's isn't the smokiest I've tasted, but it is sweet and mellow. Served on buttered toast, it's not so different from the turkey you ate on sandwiches as a kid; only the thicker cut and hint of smoke tell you that it isn't.
The sandwich comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion—don't take any of it, here or elsewhere. The meat needs room to talk. If you add too many condiments, a smoked-turkey sandwich will taste like any other turkey sandwich. Bread, butter, smoked turkey, and just a little bit of sauce (I prefer the vinegar, but like the hot, too) are as simple as the elements of a barbecue sandwich should be.
Bradley's Pit Bar-B-Q and Grill
517 New Highway 68, Sweetwater, TN 37874 (map)
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.