Food & Drink | June 8, 2022 7:00 am

Is a Steak Sandwich Made Without Garlic Bread Even Worth Eating?

Sam the Cooking Guy, the author of "Between the Buns," has thoughts as well as a sandwich recipe from his book

Sam the Cooking Guy's garlic bread steak sandwich from his book "Between the Buns"
Sam the Cooking Guy's garlic bread steak sandwich from his book "Between the Buns."
Countryman Press

As a wise man once posited in a piece for this very publication, there are few situations outside of a convention for celiac vampires or the finish line of a marathon where a piece of garlic bread is not a crispy, buttery value add.

Sam Zien, aka San Diego-based YouTuber and restauranteur Sam the Cooking Guy, likely wouldn’t disagree with that sentiment as he has very strong feelings about people who say that they can’t mess with garlic. “I’m a little suspicious of those people because I’m not sure if it’s they can’t have it or that’s just what they say because they don’t think they like it and want to catch the least amount of grief,” Zien tells InsideHook.

For the 62-year-old father of three, who also happens to be a native of Canada, that’s about as harsh as it gets.

As it turns out, the passion for garlic runs through the Zien family tree as one of the recipes in his new book, Between the Buns: Burgers, Sandwiches, Tacos, Burritos, Hot Dogs & More, was inspired by his youngest son Zach requesting a garlic bread grilled cheese. While Zien didn’t exactly fulfill his sons’s request, what he came up with exceeded expectations and led to an increase in YouTube subscribers.

“Garlic bread grilled cheese was a good idea. I just went a little bit bigger by making it a garlic bread steak sandwich,” Zien says. “Garlic bread by itself is delicious, but it gets even better if put other stuff in it. It’s just building up layers of flavor. Steak sandwich? Great. Steak sandwich, toasted? Better. Steak sandwich with garlic bread as the outside and other components? The best.”

A garlic bread steak sandwich a day keeps the vampires away.
A garlic bread steak sandwich a day keeps the vampires away.
Countryman Press

Those added components include mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, arugula and sriracha. Caramelized onions also make an appearance on the sandwich and add a flavor layer that Zien believes should not be overlooked. “I think the caramelized onions are really important,” he says. “They’re rich because they’ve been cooked in butter and oil. The caramelized onions are a soft, really delicious layer. I put a shit ton of ’em in there because they deserve to be in there.”

The onions made the cut, but the cheese that was part of Zach’s original request actually did not.

“I didn’t think it needed cheese in this particular case. I felt like cheese was maybe going to detract from the four main components: the garlic bread, the onions, the sauce and a half-pound of steak,” Zien says. “A little slice of steak in here is not doing anybody any good. People worry about calories and carbs which is fine. Don’t have a steak sandwich every day, but make it a damn fine one when you do. The steak is medium-rare, which is the way a steak should be cooked. If you’re somebody that likes a well-done steak, then please don’t make my sandwich. Ever. It should certainly be a one- or two-napkin sandwich.”

How many will it be for you?

Garlic Bread Steak Sandwich (makes 2)


  • One 1 lb. rib-eye steak
  • Oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
  • 1½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tbsp (½ stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 slices of bread (Go with something hearty)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • ½ cup caramelized onions 


  1. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat a grill, grill pan, or even a cast-iron pan to medium-high heat, lightly oil the steak, season it well with salt and pepper and put it on the grill.
  3. Cook until medium-rare (please) by turning the steak a lot every couple of minutes —​ this will keep it from getting that unwanted gray ring and will end up a beautiful medium-rare throughout. To get there, use a digital instant-read thermometer starting about 10 minutes in and remove it when it hits approximately 130 degrees. Let the steak rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Combine the mayo, sriracha and Worcestershire in a small bowl, then set aside.
  5. Mix the butter with the garlic, parsley and a pinch of salt in a separate small bowl and brush on one side of each piece of bread.
  6. Combine the arugula, ½ tsp. of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix well.
  7. Slice the steak nice and thin across the grain.
  8. In a nonstick pan over medium heat, put in the slices of bread, butter side down and cook until beautifully golden on the buttered side. Then flip over and give the unbuttered side a little love for some color and crispness.
  9. Remove from the pan, add the mayo sauce to two of the toasted bread slices (buttered side down), then layer on the arugula, steak, onions and finally the remaining slices of bread.