Maybe the cheesesteak isn't your favorite sandwich, but it's in almost everybody's top 10, and you can't deny that sort of consensus. While Philadelphians may claim a real cheesesteak must come on a local Amoroso roll, they also claim it should come "wit Whiz", and Cheez Whiz was invented 20yrs after the sandwich (next, we'll find out the Constitution was really signed in Delaware). A real cheesesteak needs nothing more than frizzled, chopped up, griddle-seared sirloin with Provolone thrown on at the last minute to melt, all turned upside down on a sub roll. The beauty of a cheesesteak, and the secret to its top ranking, is that even a bad cheesesteak is still delicious. Low-quality meat and processed cheese only accentuate its fatty heavenliness. And its versatility makes it equally satisfying as a late-night binge or a midday escape to a dreamsland of obesity. Even its name is awesome. So bow down and pay homage to its mighty power, then pray that you'll be able to stand up afterwards.
1) The Thrillist Sandwich Countdown® concerns itself only with general sandwich styles, not specific sandwiches from this or that deli or restaurant.
2) Availability is taken into account. If there's an amazing sandwich that's only served by a Buddhist monk with gilded robes and particularly well-manicured eyebrows at the top of Machu Picchu, it's going to be docked points.
3) A specialty sandwich born at a particular restaurant, or endemic to a region, can still make the cut, provided it has been recognized as a general sandwich style recreated by other sandwich makers. Primanti lovers rejoice.
4) Certain sandwiches are grouped. We won't break down grinders by their various meat combos, but chicken salad is different from tuna salad.
5) If you can't pick it up with your hands, it isn't a sandwich.
6) For the purposes of this list, a hamburger is not a sandwich. It is a hamburger.
7) A hamburger sub is a sandwich, as it falls under the subset of Submarine Sandwiches, kind of like the Irish kid you went to college with who got a full ride for being 1/16th Swazi.
8) There will be no cased meats, including bratwursts, knockwursts, frankfurters, or spankfurters. If a sausage is sliced into rounds and piled between bread as a deli meat, it is a sandwich.