Whether for a gathering during football season, a buffet during March Madness, or a sandwich you’re just making because it’s Saturday and you want to splurge, look no further than The Ultimate Southern Sandwich. We’ll start with the ingredients and then tell you the interesting story behind the brands.
Recipe: The Ultimate Southern Sandwich
Palmetto Pimento Cheese with Jalapenos
Optional: Tomatoes if the season is right
Warm the slider buns and split down the middle. While they are warming, cook the Conecuh sausage in a frying pan — cast iron preferred — until cooked through. Then, assemble the slider sandwiches with Palmetto Pimento Cheese with Jalapenos, Wickles Pickles, Conecuh Sausage and some Duke’s Mayonnaise for good measure.
Two slider sandwiches per person are recommended.
The History of These Ingredients
Palmetto Pimento Cheese & Duke’s Mayonnaise: South Carolina Roots
Personally, I can not keep Palmetto Pimento Cheese with Jalapenos in my house as when I know it’s in the refrigerator, I become completely distracted. For some people, it’s chips, for others it’s ice cream. For me, it’s this particular brand of pimento cheese — with the jalapenos in it — which I promise has a voice that calls out to me, “I’m here … eat more of me … you love me …” And, my favorite mayonnaise, hands down, is Duke’s. It has a particular tang that I like better than all other mayos. What I did not realize until recently is that both companies share some overlap in their company history.
With a brand that has lasted more than a century, Duke’s Mayonnaise originated in 1917 when Eugenia Duke started selling her homemade sandwiches to soldiers in Greenville, South Carolina, who were training at nearby Camp Sevier as America was in the midst of World War One. Her sandwiches were a hit, and the mayonnaise, slathered across each one, was the star. By 1923, she bottled the mayonnaise and started selling it as a separate business; she sold her sandwich company, Duke Sandwich Company, to her accountant, J. Allen Hart. However, she could not keep up with the high demand for Duke’s Mayonnaise and sold the mayonnaise brand in 1929 to C.F. Sauer Company, based in Richmond, Virginia. Duke’s is now available nationwide as well as in New Zealand, Australia and parts of the Middle East.
And that Duke Sandwich Company that Eugenia sold to her accountant? Well, that company is still in the same family and has expanded to include three locations in Greenville, SC. They also have expanded their manufacturing capabilities in several ways under parent company Duke Sandwich Productions. One of the products that Duke Sandwich Productions is responsible for producing is Palmetto Pimento Cheese, to the tune of more than 120,000 containers each week at its South Carolina facility!
Just how did this delicious pimento cheese originate? Sassy Henry was living in Atlanta and mixing up batches of this spread for tailgating at Braves’ games. She and her husband moved to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, with their two children in 2002 to run the Sea View Inn. This recipe continued to be used as part of the menu served to guests. In 2006 it was available at local stores on Pawleys Island and the surrounding area. Now it is widely available across the entire country.
Wickles Pickles & Conecuh Sausage: Alabama Roots
I married a man from Sylacauga, Alabama. What this means is that I’ve been brainwashed to pick a side (Auburn or Alabama), have heard his family wax poetic about the virtues of a Chilton County peach and have been indoctrinated into the world of Conecuh Sausage. In fact, up until a few years ago when Conecuh Sausage became available outside the Alabama state line, we would travel home with some Conecuh Sausage, and my in-laws would bring it with them on visits as well. That’s just what one did.
The Sessions family has been smoking Conecuh Sausage in Evergreen, Alabama, since 1947. Evergreen is about 80 miles southeast of Montgomery, just off of I-65, in Conecuh County. And, instead of my in-laws carrying some up with them each time they visit, we can now go to the local grocery and pick some up. See this store locator to purchase some and taste why it’s considered an iconic Southern food.
And, speaking of my sweet husband, he hates pickles. But, that’s okay as I love them and will gladly eat all that are served to him. His family had a lake house for years on Lake Martin, near Dadeville, Alabama, and that happens to be the home to what many (and I agree with them) think is the world’s best pickle, Wickles Pickles. They are spicy, crunchy, a bit sugary and make any sandwich better. But, keep that jar open with a fork nearby as pickle lovers will empty it as it’s hard to have one of these pickles and stop. This company uses a 90-year-old family recipe, but they’ve only been selling them to the public since 1998. While at first I would only find these at the stores in Dadeville, now I find them on the shelves of many large chain grocers. Plug in your zip code at this store locator and see what I’m talking about. So dang good.
These four brands, from South Carolina and Alabama, make The Ultimate Southern Sandwich possible. Substitute brands are not allowed!