Jeff Mauro's Thanksgiving (Sandwich) Traditions

Jeff Mauro, best known as winner of Food Network Star and host of Food Network's Sandwich King, celebrates what, as expected, sounds like a pretty awesome Thanksgiving. And just like nearly every other family, there are a couple of specialties that make it onto his family's table every November. We had the opportunity to chat with him about the holiday, and he let us in on a couple of his family traditions.

"People don't actually eat a Thanksgiving meal," he said. "There's so much food available, but I've found that people don't really enjoy it. They fill up on starters, and then just get a nibble of everything else."

So what is Mauro really in it for? "It's all about the leftovers," he said.

And when it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers, Mauro is a master of the form. "For me, it's all about cold turkey, hot bacon, lettuce, cranberry sauce, and fried stuffing in place of bread," he said. Now that's a leftover plate we can get behind.

When asked about his ideal Thanksgiving sandwich, he knew right off the top of his head what goes into it: "Pulled dark meat, a little breast meat, sharp provolone, crumbled bacon, mayo mixed with diced giardiniera, a salted slice of tomato, iceberg lettuce if I can handle it, all on a buttered and griddled roll. It's so good I can eat 10 of them."

At the interesting inclusion of giardiniera, that spicy Chicago specialty mixture of oil, vinegar, celery, hot peppers, and other spices and ingredients to taste, he said, "It's Chicago, I put it on everything!"

But what about the foods that actually make it onto the Thanksgiving table? For Mauro, there are a few unique additions to the traditional turkey dinner: "There's always a pasta course, with homemade ravioli, and my grandma's sausage bread, which is pizza dough, rolled up with sausage, salami, pepperoni, and cheese, then browned in the oven."

While it's not something you see on every Thanksgiving table, no Mauro family Thanksgiving is complete without it.

"That sausage bread is my favorite thing in the world," he added.