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! 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. A nice spicy giardiniera to go on the sandwiches 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.

Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich