You probably have fond memories of enjoying a sandwich made with white bread and thick slices of bologna. Or perhaps you’re just now discovering this interesting and historically significant luncheon meat with its myriad brands and variations.
What exactly is a bologna sandwich, and how did this humble lunch meal become so much a part of our culture? Even more importantly, what are the best condiments for a bologna sandwich?
The Best Condiments for a Bologna Sandwich
There are hundreds if not thousands of condiments in the world. The ones we list below are the most commonly used condiments for a bologna sandwich (or sides).
You may love or hate mayonnaise, and people on both sides of the mayo debate feel strongly about their positions. Either way, there’s no doubt that mayonnaise is an extremely popular condiment.
Most food historians believe that mayonnaise was created first in Spain. However, some people insist that it was a French chef who invented mayonnaise after winning a battle during the Seven Years’ War.
Mayonnaise found its way to the United States via the French, and in the beginning, mayo was mostly used by the upper class. Wealthy New York residents started mixing mayonnaise in their salads. Once food was industrialized, mayonnaise became popular with the working classes.
Mayonnaise is the most popular condiment for a bologna sandwich.
Possibly the world’s oldest condiment, mustard has been used since the Middle Ages. In the beginning, mustard was made from a coarse powder and wasn’t nearly as strong as the mustard that came later.
It was 1720 when a Durham, North Carolina woman named Mrs. Clements started making smoother mustard powder. When she mixed her smooth mustard powder with water, it became a very spicy (hot) paste.
This paste became so popular with her friends and neighbors that Mrs. Durham became famous for her delicious mustard.
When her mustard became popular in the U.S., Mr. Clements decided to take her mustard across the pond to London, where she introduced her special recipe to King George.
The king loved the mustard so much that he patented it. Of course, once royalty recognizes a product, you know it’s going to take off.
Mustard is probably the second most popular condiment for a bologna sandwich, coming up right behind mayonnaise.
3. Miracle Whip
Although it’s similar to mayonnaise in flavor and consistency, there are some key differences between Miracle Whip and mayonnaise. One thing to keep in mind is that Miracle Whip isn’t a version of mayonnaise. It’s actually a totally different product.
In 1933, Miracle Whip was developed as a cheaper mayonnaise alternative. While it contains the same ingredients, it also has extra spices and sugar. Miracle Whip also has less oil than mayonnaise.
Now that Miracle Whip is the same price as mayonnaise, there’s no need to buy it if you prefer mayonnaise. However, many people love Miracle Whip’s slightly different flavor and sweetness.
Believe it or not, ketchup has been around for a very long time. Specifically, ketchup dates all the way back to imperial China. At that time, it was made with soybeans, meat byproducts, and fish entrails. In 1812, chefs started making ketchup from tomatoes.
Not everyone likes ketchup on a bologna sandwich, but people who choose ketchup swear by it. Ketchup is especially good on a fried bologna sandwich.
5. BBQ Sauce
Wait, BBQ sauce for a bologna sandwich? BBQ sauce made its way onto this list because a fried bologna sandwich is a delicacy that some people swear by. And if you eat a fried bologna sandwich, the condiment of choice is BBQ sauce.
According to anthropologist and food historian Zora Neale Hurston, BBQ sauce originated in Florida from the Arawak Native Americans.
The original BBQ sauce was called babacots. Spanish immigrants translated this to barbacoa, which translates to English as barbecue.
It was enslaved people who first added BBQ sauce to meats that were slowly cooked. Slowly, the popularity of the sauce grew as it spread around the country.
A Brief History of Bologna
Like many beloved American foods, bologna made its way to the United States thanks to immigration. The first bologna arrived in the U.S. from Italy, specifically the city of Bologna. Some versions of bologna also came from Germany.
The great-grandfather of bologna in Italy is a type of sausage called mortadella, and American bologna is honestly nowhere near as delicious as the original.
And while American bologna isn’t exactly revered in the U.S. (or anywhere), mortadella is a beloved tradition in the part of the world where it originated.
For thousands of years, mortadella has been one of the most popular meats in Italy. In fact, in 1661, this meat was considered to be such a delicacy that the Pope made an official legal definition for it.
More than 2,000 years ago, mortadella fed the Roman army, and we know this because of stories told on stone tablets. During the Middle Ages, about 10,000 people worked to produce mortadella.
Now that you know all this, how about a little more respect for bologna (or at least its ancestors).
The Bologna Sandwich in the U.S.
Most Americans of a certain age have fond (or not) memories of eating bologna sandwiches. Back in the day, a bologna sandwich was made with Oscar Meyer bologna and slices of Wonder Bread. Usually, a bologna sandwich was made with mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, but some folks preferred mustard.
During the Great Depression and rationing during World War II, bologna was a cheap way to get some meat and protein. Since it was made from meat that would otherwise be discarded, bologna was much less expensive than meats such as salami or ham.
During that time, you didn’t often see cuts such as roast beef or turkey because they weren’t as easily produced as pork.
According to the New York Times in 1924, the “day of sandwiches” had arrived. It was around that time that sandwiches started becoming more and more popular. The first known restaurant offering a bologna sandwich was actually in Canada in 1932 at Montreal’s Wilensky’s.
Later in the mid-1900s, the packaged food industry started producing packaged bologna that was affordable and accessible. It was then that bologna began to be sold both packaged and as pre-sliced deli meat in grocery stores.
Once again, the New York Times had a strong opinion, and it was a good one. The reporter said that bologna was a “truly industrial product.”
But how did bologna become so popular? It was that catchy song by Oscar Mayer. Who can forget “My baloney has a first name, it’s O S C A R. My baloney has a second name, it’s M A Y E R.”
Bologna sandwiches became popular for school lunches in the 1960s, but later school lunch was reformed to be healthier, so the bologna sandwich fell by the wayside.
Fortunately, some advocates, and even some celebrity chefs, are advocating for the return to status of the humble bologna sandwich.
What Are Condiments?
Condiments are essentially anything that’s used to enhance the flavor of foods. However, most people today have come to associate condiments with sauces that are separate from the food.
Condiments have been around for a long time. In fact, a cookbook titled Apicius focuses on food from the fourth and fifth centuries, and it has an entire section devoted to nothing but condiments.
In some cases, condiments are added to food before serving it, but condiments are almost always added after food is already cooked or prepared.
FAQs about Bologna Condiments
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the best condiments for a bologna sandwich.
What does bologna go with?
Now that we know which are the best condiments for a bologna sandwich how about some side dishes? A bologna sandwich is great to pair with any of these options – French fries, Potato chips, Salad, Coleslaw, Potato salad, Macaroni salad, White bread slices, Wheat bread slices, etc.
In addition to condiments, be sure to dress your bologna sandwich up with veggies such as thick tomato slices, leafy lettuce, onion slices, and pickles.
Is mayo good on a bologna sandwich?
It’s a matter of personal preference, but mayonnaise is one of the most popular condiments to use for making a bologna sandwich (or cake!).
What sauce goes on lunch meat sandwiches?
The possibilities for sauces for lunch meat sandwiches are endless. Here are some of the most popular – Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup, Miracle Whip, Chipotle ranch dressing, and Flavored mayonnaise.
What are good condiments for sandwiches?
Some of the best condiments for sandwiches are flavored mayonnaise condiments such as garlic mayo. You can also enjoy mustard, chipotle ranch dressing, and even ketchup on your sandwiches.
Be sure to check out our posts on roast beef sandwiches and condiments.