As prime feasting season approaches, a few words of lunchtime advice: Forget about the Wawa Gobbler.
Sure, the limited-time offering inspired by Turkey Day leftovers is popular enough for Business Insider to call it “one of the most infamous gas station sandwiches in America.” (Remember when Wawa ≠ ‘gas station’? Sigh.) But even that superlatively-titled post agrees with Serious Eats that the Gobbler is just ok, good if you happen to be nearby, but nothing to write home about.
So, time for some real talk: The Turducken at Jake’s Sandwich Board is the true Thanksgiving sandwich of your dreams.
Inspired by the bird-within-a-bird stunt dish, it’s actually much better than its namesake entree. Served on a Carangi seeded roll that’s been spread with housemade cran-apple sauce, the sandwich starts with a ladleful of house-roasted white and dark meat turkey and chicken breast that’s been soaking up a housemade gravy since being pulled by hand off the bone.
On top of that goes duck, sourced from Charlotte, Pa., and softened by a six-hour braise. Next layer is sweet Italian sausage crumbles, carrying all the flavors you expect with traditional stuffing.
Finishing it off — yes, there’s more — are a pair of mini potato pancakes, which are kind of like what would happen if tots and mashed potatoes had a baby. (Protip: Order a side of them and add a few more on top, the crunch they add is excellent.)
The combo ends up tasting like the most ideal Thanksgiving leftovers possible. Even better because you don’t have to do the whole hours-of-cooking / awkward-family-chatting / getting-drunk-to-escape rigamarole beforehand. Also, the whole thing rings in at $12, which is a good deal for 12 to 14 ounces of fresh-roasted meat plus all that other food. Especially considering you’ll probably be able to split it with a friend, especially if you get the recommended extra potato pancakes.
Unexpectedly, a preview tasting proved that even polishing off more than half the sandwich won’t leave you feeling overstuffed, just fully satiated.
But don’t take our word for it. How good is the special, which is available November 1-30 and has been offered by the Philly hot hoagie specialist each fall for the past eight years? Good enough that requests started pouring in two weeks ago, per Gary Dorfman, who opened his fast-casual shop at 12th and Sansom in 2010 and expanded to University City four years later.
“People were calling to ask specifically when it would be coming back,” Dorfman said. “It’s like a cult-favorite of people who work around here.”
Last year, Dorfman sold nearly 500 Turducken Sandwiches, triple the previous season. On some days, he even ran out. Same thing’s likely to be true this year, since the ingredients are all custom-made and take up a lot of space and time.
If that happens, you can always go to Wawa and get a Gobbler to fill your belly while you go online and place an advance order for your Jake’s Turducken tomorrow.