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Sandwiches

Nice work. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host, Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. See if Todd has hacked your favorite sandwiches here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    In 1984 the diminutive Clara Peller blurted out in a series of four television ads the memorable phrase that would pop up on T-shirts and in presidential campaigns: "Where's the beef?" The ad was devised by Wendys' advertising agency to attack the misconception that its Single hamburger was smaller than its competitors "big name" hamburgers. The campaign was so original that it stole the show at the 1984 Clio Awards, winning the advertising industry's highest honors and registering the highest consumer awareness level in the industry's history.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    In June of 1998, Gardenburger was on a roll. Bolstered by booming sales of its Original Veggie Burger, the company introduced three new varieties of its popular meatless patties: Classic Greek, Fire-Roasted Vegetable, and Savory Mushroom. The first one, the Classic Greek Veggie Patty, includes calamata olives, feta cheese, and spinach to give it a distinctively Mediterranean flavor, yet with only three grams of fat per serving. 

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 patty
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–150
    Fat per serving–3g

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Paul Wenner started his company in 1985 when he developed a meatless hamburger from leftovers at his vegetarian restaurant. Even though his Gardenburger was a hit, Paul was forced to close the restaurant due to dwindling sales. On the bright side, this gave Paul more free time to develop and sell his delicious puck-shaped plant patty. Today Paul's Gardenburger brand is thriving, with an estimated fifty million patties served in restaurants, cafeterias, and concession stands in 1998 alone.

    To make this clone, you'll need a food processor and a hot barbecue grill. And if you're looking for an interesting way to serve it, the manufacturer suggests you slap the veggie patty onto some focaccia bread and top it off with marinara sauce, grilled squash, and a little Parmesan cheese.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 patty
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–150
    Fat per serving–3g

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Chef Paul Wenner fathered a hot product when he ground up those leftover vegetables at his restaurant and formed them into the shape of a hamburger patty. When Paul got out ot the restaurant business, he peddled the meatless patties out of his van under name Wholesome and Hearty Foods. In 1992, when his company went public, the stock shop up to $30 from $3 on rumors that McDonald's was planning to sell the veggie patties under the golden arches. When those rumors proved to be false, the stock came crashing down quicker than sales figures for the McLean Deluxe. Later, the name of the company was changed to Gardenburger, and new products, such as the Savory Mushroom Veggie Patty, were developed.

    For this clone, you'll need to track down three types of mushrooms: the common white button, brown or crimini, and portobello. You'll also need a food processor to mash everything up real good.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 patty
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–140
    Per per serving–3g

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Wendy's kicked it up a notch in 1996 when the burger chain introduced the Spicy Chicken Fillet Sandwich. The deep-fried chicken fillet is breaded with a secret coating containing just a bit of sting for those who like their food with heat. It's not knock-your-socks-off hot, but the spice gives the chicken a great flavor that's got customers coming back for more.

    In this Top Secret Recipes reduced-fat Wendy's spicy chicken fillet sandwich recipe, you'll learn how to get that heat in the chicken, and then how to use a special baking technique that will give the clucker meat a breaded-and-fried consistency without too much oil.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–380 (Original–410)
    Fat per serving–8g (Original–15g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Did you know that Dave Thomas, the spokesman and founder of the country's third-largest hamburger chain, got his start in fried chicken with a famous Kentucky colonel? In 1962, Dave had an opportunity to turn around four failing KFC carryouts for an ownership stake in them. Dave worked hard and was eventually successful. He parlayed his new ownership into four more KFC restaurants, and in 1968 he sold them all for $1.5 million. Dave was a millionaire at age thirty-five. A year later, Dave opened his first Wendy's restaurant, and today the chain is over 5000 units strong. Pretty good for a guy who didn't finish high school.

    Here's my conversion of one of the best items on Wendy's bargain ninety-nine-cents menu that weighs in at 25 grams of fat. Let's knock this down to just eleven grams, using lean ground beef, fat-free mayo, and turkey bacon.

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–1
    Calories per serving–310 (Original–430)
    Fat per serving–11g (Original–25g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    In 1997, Wendy's announced its IPO—also known as the Initial Pita Offering—on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Wendy's CEO Gordon Teter rang the bell to open the day of trading while Wendy's stock traders on the floor munched out on four varieties of the pita sandwiches, including this one, the Classic Greek Fresh Stuffed Pita.

    For our low-fat clone, well cut a gaggle of grams by making the dressing fat-free, and then well use low-fat feta cheese. Following this secret formula below, you can turn what is normally a 20-fat-gram sandwich into one that weighs in with only 2.5 grams.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–240 (Original–440)
    Fat per serving–2.5g (Original–20g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Publicity stunt alert. For one day in 1997, St. Petersburg, Florida, became "St. Pitas-burg" to celebrate the introduction of Wendy's Fresh Stuffed Pita sandwiches. Over 40,000 balloons formed a giant pita sandwich at a local Wendy's restaurant, while local residents and Wendy's staff learned the "art of eating a pita" from pita eating experts.

    The Chicken Caesar Fresh Stuffed Pita was one of those pitas introduced on that glorious day. See if you can figure how to eat this clone version, made with much less fat, all on your own.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–283 (Original–490)
    Fat per serving–5g (Original–18g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    One day in 1958, when Top Hat restaurants were operating in several Oklahoma cities, lawyers informed founder Troy Smith that Top Hatwas already a copyrighted name and that he would have to make some hasty changes. The chain's partners searched for a name that summed up the company motto: "Service at the Speed of Sound." They agreed that the name Sonic had a nice ring to it.

    Sonic is now the country's fifth-largest hamburger chain and boasts some amazing statistics. For example, if you were to take all of the hamburger patties Sonic served last year and stack them up, they would be as tall as 2,576 Empire State Buildings stacked one on top of the other. 

    If you like your burgers with a spicy kick and dig mustard, try this reduced-fat clone for one of Sonic's tastiest creations.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–1
    Calories per serving–400 (Original–380)
    Fat per serving–10.5g (Original–16g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

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    Driving through Louisiana in 1953, Troy Smith happened upon a cozy hamburger stand that had installed an intercom system to speed up ordering. Troy adapted the idea for his small chain of burger joints and hired nimble servers to bring the food out to customers quickly. The concept was a smash, with revenues for the chain doubling during the first week. Sonic was cashing in on the growing popularity of the automobile. Customers parked their cars in a stall, rolled down the window, and ordered from a speaker. The food was then brought to the car on a tray by a roller-skating carhop with extraordinary balance.

    Today, Sonic has rejuvenated the carhop concept by serving customers the same way as in the '50s: with individual car stalls, speakers, and waitresses on wheels. The company is America's largest drive-in hamburger chain with more than two thousand units rolling in 1999.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–1
    Calories per serving–400 (Original–314)
    Fat per serving–10.5g (Original–15.7g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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