Jamil's Steakhouse owner Greg Gawey has been telling the story for years about how when he asked his mother for steak she served him bologna, and it's finally paid off.
The September issue of Food Network Magazine, which hit racks Tuesday, focuses on sandwiches from across the country.
Jamil's Senators' Smoked Bologna sandwich represents Oklahoma.
A magazine editor asked for me and several other food writers across the state to nominate three unique Oklahoma sandwiches, and it turns out Jamil's was one of my nominations.
The magazine was looking for unique sandwiches that are representative of Oklahoma. My other nominations were the banh mi from Saigon Baguette and the BBQ Club from Iron Starr Urban Barbecue. I was surprised to see banh mi chosen from Kansas, I'd put Saigon's against anyone in the country. North Carolina claimed the barbecue slot.
In the end, the Senators' Smoked Bologna was a perfect choice as it represents a restaurant that's been associated with the state for half a century and style of sandwich you just don't find much anymore.
Smoked bologna is a forgotten art.
When I moved to Oklahoma in 1989 — by way of California, Texas and Nebraska — the only bologna I'd eaten came out of an Oscar Mayer package. You'll understand, then, why I held bologna in contempt.