- Gray Fultz posted a TikTok sharing her boyfriend’s sandwich recipe in March.
- The recipe used 21 ingredients, including six types of meat and three layers of cheese.
- Fultz told Insider the recipe went viral after it was shared by other cooking creators on the app.
A recipe for a sandwich that uses 21 ingredients has gone viral on TikTok, with step-by-step instructions for how to make the giant meal described by one creator as “pure chaos.”
The sandwich is named after traditional Italian “grinders” — a term used to describe sandwiches with hot fillings — and though it’s a complex recipe featuring six types of meats and three layers of cheese, it has developed a glowing reputation on TikTok for its “amazing “tasteful and distinctive salad topping.
The creators who catapulted the sandwich into virality told Insider the story behind the recipe, and how it became the latest food trend on TikTok.
The recipe was invented by a former restaurant owner
The recipe was originally shared by 29-year-old TikTok creator Gray Fultz, but it was actually invented by her boyfriend, Josh Wright, who used to own a restaurant in Virginia where he made the sandwich for his customers.
Fultz posted a video of Wright making the sandwich on March 28 and described what he was doing throughout the process. At the time she had around 70 followers, she told Insider, so she didn’t think twice about the video. “I was just kind of like, ‘Hey, watch my boyfriend make me a sandwich.’ And then all of a sudden it just went crazy.”
While Fultz’s TikToks typically received under 10,000 views, she told Insider this particular video received 100,000 views within two days. It has now been viewed over 775,000 times and Fultz has over 20,000 followers.
The recipe went viral after it was shared by prominent cooking creators on TikTok
On April 4, Erica Kuiper, a cooking influencer whose videos have received 1.8 million TikTok views, filmed a video of herself watching Fultz’s video, saying, “That video was pure chaos, and I’m here for it.” She posted three subsequent TikToks where she made the recipe and tagged Fultz. They have more than seven million views combined.
According to Fultz, it was after Kuiper and a handful of other popular TikTok creators shared the recipe that it went viral. Videos with the hashtag #GrinderSalad, which typically show people making the recipe at home, have now been viewed 36 million times.
Kuiper told Insider she did not stick exactly to the original recipe, removing some ingredients like turkey and using baguette instead of focaccia because she is a “full believer in switching recipes up to your liking.”
After the recipe went viral, more and more creators started to adapt Fultz’s recipe, such as using the ingredients in lettuce wraps or salad bowls instead of the original sandwich.
“I think it’s fun that people are making and trying it,” Fultz told Insider. “It’s cool to see everyone’s spin on it.” However, she said she would recommend that people make it Wright’s way at least once so they can see what it was originally supposed to taste like.
The sandwich inventor has now joined TikTok, where he posts more of his recipes
Fultz told Insider that after his video started to get lots of views, Wright made his own TikTok account and started sharing more of his recipes on the app from March 30. His videos typically receive between 1,000 and 2,000 views.
Fultz also said that she and Wright, who used to work together at Wright’s former restaurant, will keep making cooking videos as she continues to learn from his experience and expertise.
“He is so knowledgeable about sandwiches and food. I’m very lucky,” she said.
For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.