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Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich


We wanted to make many different things for this party but a lot of the ideas fell through. One of the ideas was cheesesteaks but we didn't want Mandi to be on the grill all night. We were watching Man v. Food on the travel channel (have you seen it? Think Diners Drive-ins and Dives minus awful catchphrases, frosted tips, and backwards sunglasses, and plus a fun eating challenge) and they were in Chicago (another plus to MvF, one city at a time.) On that episode Mandi and I saw a sandwich we had never seen before. It was called the Chicago style Italian beef sandwich. One of the things that attracted us to this sandwich (besides the fact that we were drooooling at our TV) was that it sits in a gravy and not only CAN be made a day in advance, but NEEDS to be made a day in advance! Like most regional food we make, we like to have someone from the area to vouch for authenticity, especially in a case like this where we have never been before! Our friend Mike was more than happy to be a taste tester.

A nice rump roast. This could be called top or bottom round at your store. This is a good choice when serving lots of people cause it is a cheap cut.

Slice some garlic thick and insert the slices into the meat. Just make a little slit and slide them in!

The outside is seasoned well with salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder.

A meat thermometer helps to not dry out the meat. You want it to be medium after it roasts so that it is able to soak up the gravy.

Finishing up the giardiniera.

After the roast cooks, there will be deliciousness in the pan below it. Scrape this a bit while it is still hot so when you pour it into the other pot, the pan scrapings will come along. You can make the gravy right in here, but we needed to switch pots because of volume and ease of service at the party.

Make sure to let this rest for a half hour! There is no rush cause you are eating it tomorrow anyways!

Ok start browning some onions in a pan. 10 minutes later add like 10 cloves of garlic minced. Next add that delicious pan juice with all the scrapings. Cook this for at least 5 minutes.

Stock, Worchester, and Tabasco. No need to measure.

Remove the strings and start slicing! Slice it real thin or it won't be tender enough!

Some of that garlic we hid earlier.

Once everything is back into the pot, stir, cover, and put it in the fridge overnight!

The next morning it smells amazing. Skim off most of the fat that has hardened and accumulated at the top.

Put the pot back on the stove when it's time to party. Once it is hot, it's ready to serve!

YUM it's reallllly good!

I didn't dip my sandwich, because we were at a party and it was already really juicy anyways, however it is traditional and many at the party did.

Don did. See the gravy soaked bun in his hand?

Mike also dipped, and looked just like this every time he did.  These pics are actually from 3 hours apart!  Look at the clock and the fullness of the pot. Looks like 2 seconds apart doesn't it? Well, anyway, mike gave us the Chicago thumbs up on the sandwich and said it reminded him of going into the city with his dad as a kid. Awwwww, how cute.  Glad to bring back the memories!

For the sandwich, we mostly followed this recipe. We used store bought beef stock instead of water and bullion. I also thinned the whole thing out with some water in the end. I made the gravy in our dutch oven instead of the baking dish, but I still was able to gather the drippings for use in the gravy.

Traditionally you order this sandwich "hot" or "sweet" hot meaning a giardiniera, and sweet meaning roasted green peppers. To roast the peppers, you can check out my guide here. For the giardiniera, we have a recipe here. Do the first night brining like we did there, then the next day after rinsing the veggies add some minced garlic, serrano chiles, and scotch bonnets (it's supposed to be hot!.) Chunk up a few varieties of olives and some pepperonchinis. Add in lots of oregano and thyme. Then fill with equal parts of vinegar and olive oil. Mix this around often as it marinates in the fridge. The reason it is different, is because the other giardiniera is from New Orleans, but this one is from Chicago.


This looks supoib! I can imagine melted cheese all over it. Don't know if that's authentic or not but. Oh and onion rings!

But Dan, backwards sunglasses, frosted tips, and heinous catchphrases makes Guy super cool and relatable...yuck.

Anyway, this looks fantastic.

Oh boy, that looks so tasty! I will definitely give this a try very soon. Thanks for sharing!

As a consumer of the great Chicago style Italian beef I commend your hearty creation. My one tip if you continue to make this in the future; find an electronic slicer, getting the meat sliced uber thin is an added bonus (although not super necessary, its something all the shops around here have)


Mmmmm, Im gonna have to try this weekend. Thanks!

That looks delicious! I'll have to try this - thanks for the awesome recipe!!

Really nice. Can't wait to try this one out!

keep ones painted nails otta the fud!

why is mike wearing 4 shirts?

I would pay cash money to see Adam Richman kick Guy Fieri's ass.

For a little variety, grill some spicy hot Italian sausage the day of the party and leave them steeping in the gravy with the roast beef, the longer, the better. Then scoop a piece of sausage into each beef sandwich. Technically called a "Combination Sandwich" back on North and 25th, this is the real goal behind most city-wide visits to a beef stand. Oh yeah, if you do decide to do something like drizzle melted cheese all over it, just don't tell anyone from Chicago.

.....okay. Obviously, I need to make a trip towards home. Or make this. Either way, I need some beef.

Looks like I have something to make for the family next weekend.

Thanks for the post. This looks great.

Love how the first ingredient for a sandwich is a whole roast joint! Nice work.

is mike single? ;)

I buy (good, like Boars Head) roast beef from the deli sliced super thin, buy a packet of Au Jus, simmer it, then slap some hot giardiniera from a jar on it. 10 minutes, you're done. And we're from Chicago. But your way sounds good too. :-)

WOW...that truly looks like an amazing sammie!

I enjoy your picture play-by-play...keep up the good work.

What is the name of the company that makes the Au Jus packet. I'm from Pa. and would like to know where to get it.

I want to make this for the Bocce gang

Wow, that looks absolutely delicious! Great post, you did such a nice job presenting the pictures too...I am definitely going to have to try that recipe this weekend!

Sounds amazing! I love the idea of inserting garlic into the meat. I'm sure it adds a great flavor to the beef. And thank you for these nice pictures.

Great Job, it sure looks good and I might just have to try this. Being from Chicago I can vouch for the awesome nature of this type of sandwich. Some of the Beef Shops there do add cheese upon request. Right now whenever I get the taste for these or want to serve them at a party I order online from a place called Buona, they ship it anywhere. I can remember them from being a kid in the 80s. They're well known in the old Italian neighborhood of Chicago and Berwyn/Cicero

Best sandwich. Im from chicago so this frustrates me. Im away at college and when I go home on breaks I eat a million of them. Great for parties because they're easy to serve. Anytime youre in chicago check out johnnie's beef on north avenue or buona beef. Hell, most places have a pretty good beef. Great stuff.

While tempted to give this a thumbs up, this is not an italian beef. The recipe certainly looks good but its not the real deal, and i also dislike italians.

Really good attempt.

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