Maybe it sounds funny, but there are memories fused into Todd David’s bologna sandwich. He prefers it the old- fashioned way: Three-ish slices slapped onto white bread (the squishy, misted-with-whatever-chemical-that-makes-it-last-for-decades kind) with a swirl of spicy-sweet mustard. The best way to devour this version is in front of the open door of the refrigerator with the speed of the rapture — quickly disappearing the entire sandwich in the middle of the night.
In college, it wouldn’t be weird at all to find Todd David spearing a hot dog — which is essentially a tube of bologna — and lift it up to the hot lights in his room until the hot dog screamed and charred. He’d slide the dog into a bun and, voila, he had his first meal of the day.
Now, David’s process is slightly more sophisticated: Cattleack runs wagyu brisket trimmings through a grinder until it’s velvety and shakes in dry spices. It cures for a day or so, “getting happy” and firetruck red. The encased bologna gets a cold smoke bath, followed by hot smoke, and it’s sliced novella-thick to order. A couple of circles of raw white onion and a quick maze shape of barbecue sauce are all you’ll need. Plump with smoke and unmistakably bologna-salty juices run through the slice. A scoop of pimento cheese, with thick shreds of cheddar, is pure Southern luxury.
Halve the sandwich and dive in. Your mind will instantly file away the memory into a folder marked “wagyu bologna sandwich.” It’s both new and nostalgic: You’ve never had a bologna sandwich like this, but it’s still, somehow, familiar. It’s a sandwich to anticipate beyond the first time it’s ordered.