Texas! What is best in life? Apparently it is naming foodstuffs after athletes (and, in the case of Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton, the reverse). It is a thing we like to do, because while we may never possess the raw athletic ability of our sports heroes, we can certainly possess a sandwich that bears their name and imagine, briefly, that the glory of the sandwich we are consuming is somehow similar to the glory that our favorite stars have achieved on the field.
Or something like that. It’s hard to know exactly why honoring people with delectable treats is so satisfying, but we definitely do it often. There was, of course, the Zeke Sandwich, a collection of five smoked meats piled high enough to guarantee that its consumer could not pull off a midriff-baring powder blue tux, made briefly famous at Buddy’s BBQ during the Cowboys’ playoff run. There are Slam Duncan-O’s, the sugary breakfast cereal sold at H-E-B locations to celebrate the chain’s hometown hero Tim Duncan. Bob’s Burgers featured a “Troy Oinkman” burger (somebody attempted to create a recipe, because why else was the Internet invented?). You can walk into seemingly any supermarket in Texas and buy something with the name “Nolan Ryan Beef” staring back at you from the label (slightly different, since his ranch supplies the meat, but he still knew to put his dang name on the thing). Fellow Mavs star Justin Anderson sold a namesake “Justintime Burger” at American Airlines Center last year. The response was so great that teammate Dirk Nowitzki got a Dirk Burger to sell alongside it.
It is, in fact, Nowitzki that brings us to discuss this very important topic on a Wednesday afternoon. His undeniable basketball greatness has now been translated to yet another arena: that of the toasted fast-food sandwich, available via the Dallas-based national chain Which Wich. Via a press release from the company, we learn the following:
To celebrate and thank Nowitzki for the impact he has made on the Dallas area during his time as a member of the Mavericks, Dallas-based Which Wich is proud to announce a new line of “DirkWiches” for his 20th NBA season. These will be available only in Dallas area locations with a special #DirkWich brown bag and will be complemented by souvenir Dirk drink cups and special edition bags of “Dirk’s Chips.”
One dollar of each purchase will go to fund the Nowitzki Foundation, which works with kids in the Dallas area, and each restaurant within that area will also promote DirkWiches with a seven-foot-tall cutout of Dirk in the midst of a fadeaway jumper. So that ought to whet your appetite.
But let’s cut to the chase: what are your culinary options when you order a DirkWich? Great news: they are vast and varied!
First, there is the Dirkwurst, which pays tribute to the star’s German home by stuffing an “authentic German bratwurst” into a pretzel roll and dressing the thing with Bavarian-style mustard. There is the “Tall Baller,” also known as the “Double Wicked” for some reason that does not appear to be Dirk-related, featuring a double portion of turkey, a double portion of ham, a double portion of roast beef, a double portion of pepperoni, a regular portion of bacon, a regular portion of cheddar cheese, a regular portion of pepper jack cheese, a regular portion of provolone cheese, and a stack of lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a toasted baguette. There is the “41 Club,” named after Nowitzki’s uniform number, which featured sliced chicken breast, candied bacon, and fresh avocado, and which sounds downright healthy after reading about the Tall Baller. (According to D magazine, it’s also Nowitzki’s favorite!)
For those who prefer to honor the twenty-year veteran without consuming meat, the Swishwich is a veggie sandwich that sounds like something a professional athlete could actually eat on occasion without being immediately scolded by their trainers: mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, sprouts, avocado, mayo, and Thousand Island dressing on a whole wheat baguette. For something that will not make you feel like Dirk himself has blessed you with the gift of great athleticism, consider the MVPizza, which puts pepperoni, melted mozzarella, and marinara sauce (duh) on a baguette with, oh geez, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and then “dribbled” (their words, from the press release) with ranch dressing. And then, finally, there’s the MFFL, which is a Cuban sandwich: pulled pork, ham, swiss, pickles, and yellow mustard. Definitely a tribute to Mark Cuban and not Dirk Nowitzki.
All of this sounds varying degrees of edible, if you’re not a Mavs fan or looking for novelty foodstuffs through which you can express your support of its star big man. If you are a Dirk diehard or a fan of culinary experimentation, though, it appears that your Dirk-emblazoned collector’s cup runneth over.