Finally, Adam Richman is full.
No longer does the Man v. Food eating machine gorge himself on super-sized meals for the entertainment of Travel Channel viewers.
"I've hung up my spurs, food challenge-wise," he says.
But a guy's still got to eat, right?
So now Richman is crisscrossing the country in search of his most satisfying sandwich.
Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America, premiering at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Travel Channel, pits 30 mouthwatering masterpieces against each other in what is an admittedly subjective competition.
"What's going to be a great sandwich for me is not necessarily going to be a great sandwich for everyone else," he acknowledges. "That's why I always say in the show, this is me making my pick.
"But I encourage everyone to go out and find their own bests."
We chatted with Richman about his passion for sandwiches.
What was the genesis of this show?
Man v. Food had ended. Man v. Food Nation was ending. The inevitable 'What's next?' question was coming up.
A lot of producers were coming to me with very hip, intense, concept-driven shows. And I thought, 'Let's just keep it simple.' People love sandwiches. Every culture's got a sandwich.
Let me take the audience on a journey of me looking for my favorite sandwich. And we'll do it like March Madness: We'll go region by region. That way, it will appeal to people on two levels: their universal love of sandwiches and hometown pride.
How did you pick the 30 sandwich competitors? Wasn't it hard to limit yourself to just 30?
I twisted myself in knots over this. And I knew that, no matter what I chose, I'd have to brace myself for some 'Are you kidding?' backlash. For example, there was a website in Boston that was in an uproar because I didn't have a sandwich from Massachusetts for the New England region.
But the structure of the show is simple: Ten regions, three sandwiches from each region. Two sandwiches are ones that I have tried and am partial to. The third is recommended by a friend.
So, yes, there are some tough, impossible decisions involved. But the 30 sandwiches we have are amazing.
Tell us about the two that are from Texas.
First you've got the sliced beef brisket, from Salt Lick Barbecue in Driftwood. Bobby Flay was my celebrity buddy who made this recommendation. He also recommended having a Shiner Bock with it.
The other is the seared beef tongue with smoked green onions from the Noble Pig in Austin.
I actually had gone there to try a completely different sandwich, the duck pastrami. But I happened to ask the guy behind the counter, 'What do you like?' And he said, 'Oh, man, you've got to try the tongue. And get it with a fried egg on it.' And let me tell you, it's so superb. It's, like, life-changing.
What is your criteria for determining a championship-caliber sandwich?
We developed an evaluative system called the BITE scale. BITE stands for Bread, Interior, Taste and Eating Experience. Bread is pretty self-explanatory, as is the Interior of the sandwich. Taste is the synthesis between those two.
And Eating Experience includes a lot of the intangibles: Is the sandwich sloppy? Is it portable? Is it as good cold as it is hot? And is it a destination sandwich, which is to say, is there something about this particular establishment that makes it worth traveling to and eating there?
When you get a sandwich that succeeds on every level of the BITE scale, when it's in its full form, it is sublime in every way imaginable.
One more question. Given your iconic status as an eater of large portions. Have you heard about the Boomstick, the 2-foot-long hot dog that they're selling at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington?
Believe me, I've heard all about the Boomstick from my fans.
It's definitely on my radar. Which brings up another important point. When creating fun food dishes, it's important to use your imagination not just in terms of ingredients, but also with the name.
I mean, the name alone, the Boomstick, makes it fun!