How to properly pack a sandwich for a trip to the beach

Now that we’re well into the heat of summer, it’s time to talk about beach outings. No matter what body of water you’re heading to, you’ll want to make sure you pack more than just your wetsuit and sunscreen properly. Lunches and snacks in hand are just as important, and the easier they are to eat when you have a beer in one hand and a napkin in the other, the better.

For these reasons, we love a good beach sandwich when we’re heading to the ocean, but it can be surprisingly easy to end up with a soggy, chewy mess if we’re not careful.

The correct stacking order is crucial for a perfect wrapped sandwich. After some experimentation in the test kitchen, we’ve established a few key rules for crunchy, crispy, and fresh sandwiches no matter how long they stay in your beach cooler.


Toast the bread

Crafting a sandwich that will survive your day at the beach starts with the bread. We prefer to use regular sandwich bread as the base for our sandwich, but it can easily get soggy. A light toast (don’t get too crazy here) is the first step to creating a moisture barrier for your sandwich. Bonus: By toasting your bread, you’ll not only reduce the sog-factoro, but you’ll also help create another crunchy, crunchy texture element in the sandwich.

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Pat the product dry, very dry

Before you even think about adding lettuce, tomatoes, or onions to a sandwich, you’ll want to get as much moisture out of it as possible. After washing and slicing your produce, take a few minutes to dry everything thoroughly with a paper towel. Pay special attention to those pesky tomato slices and leaf lettuce crevices. Several firm pats with a paper towel will make all the difference.

Build a moisture barrier

Start building your sandwich by building a moisture barrier with dry ingredients, like lettuce and cheese. (Bacon also works great here.) You’ll want to stick these ingredients inside the top and bottom bread slices. Cheese works better on the bottom than lettuce. Place the meat of your choice over the cheese, followed by any moist toppings like onions and pickles. Place these freshly dried tomatoes on the lettuce.

Put the condiments in the middle

It’s the real shot of the pro, and it may go against all your sandwich instincts. When building a sandwich at home, one of the first things you probably do is spread mustard, mayonnaise, and other spreads directly on the bread. You don’t want to do that here. The moisture from these condiments will inevitably seep into the bread, leaving you with a mushy mess. (And yes, we know the mayonnaise barrier theory (Chef Jeffrey respects it), but our experience shows that mayonnaise also makes soggy bread.) Instead, spread all these treats on the slices of meat and tomato so that they sandwich each other in the center. They’ll be stuck on that precious toast all day.

MUSTARD MAGIC: How to use the condiment as an ingredient instead


When it comes to protecting your sandwich, its packaging is just as important as its construction. Instead of just tossing your sandwich in a plastic bag, consider creating a better moisture barrier from those ice packs in your cooler. You know how sandwiches are packaged when you buy them from a sub-store? They are often wrapped in parchment paper to hold everything in place (no red tomatoes in sight). We suggest you take inspiration from this design and wrap your perfect sandwich in parchment and a plastic bag. Your midday belly will thank you for the extra effort.

Check out these recipes to up your cooking game:

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