This Italian Beef Sandwich recipe will transport you to Chicago with flavorful, tender beef on a bun with pickled vegetables and a rich broth.
If you’re a fan of hearty and savory sandwiches, you’ve probably come across the mouth watering Italian beef sandwich.
This culinary masterpiece is a beloved specialty in the Windy City, Chicago, and for good reason. We chose this sandwich for Illinois because of how famous it is in Chicago.
What’s an Italian Beef Sandwich?
An Italian beef sandwich is a culinary marvel consisting of thinly sliced, tender roast beef piled high on a roll or Italian bread.
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What sets it apart is the flavorful au jus, a savory beef broth, that it’s dipped in or served with. This sandwich is known for its robust and meaty taste, making it a favorite among sandwich aficionados.
Origins of the Italian Beef Sandwich
The Italian beef sandwich has its roots firmly planted in the Italian-American community of Chicago.
It’s believed to have originated in the early 20th century when Italian immigrants, inspired by their culinary traditions, started serving thinly sliced roast beef sandwiches. These sandwiches quickly gained popularity and evolved into the iconic dish we know today.
To make a delicious Italian beef sandwich, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Chuck roast: A flavorful cut of beef that becomes incredibly tender when slow-cooked in a crock pot.
- Beef broth: Essential for creating the savory au jus.
- Italian seasonings: Basil, parsley, fennel seed, bay leave, oregano, and thyme
- Salt and pepper: For seasoning the roast beef.
- Giardiniera: A spicy and tangy condiment made from pickled vegetables, often used to garnish the sandwich.
- Provolone cheese: While not traditionally part of the recipe, some people enjoy adding cheese to their Italian beef sandwich.
- Italian bread or rolls: The sturdy bread holds up well to the juicy beef and au jus.
How to Make Italian Beef in a Crock Pot
- Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper and sear all sides in a hot skillet.
- Place the roast in the crock pot and pour in the beef broth. Mix in the pepperoncini and Italian seasoning.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the beef is tender and you can easily shred
- Once cooked, remove the roast from the crock pot and shred the beef.
- Slice your Italian bread or rolls, and assemble the sandwiches by piling on the shredded beef..
- Don’t forget to dip the sandwich into the flavorful au jus before each bite.
- Garnish with giardiniera for an extra kick.
Are Italian Beef Sandwiches Healthy?
Italian beef sandwiches are delicious but not particularly healthy due to their high meat content and the dipping in au jus. Enjoy occassionally.
Are They Spicy?
Italian beef sandwiches can be spicy if you add giardiniera, which has a spicy kick. You can adjust the spice level to fit your prefrence.
Does an Italian Beef Sandwich Have Cheese?
While not traditional, some people like to add Provolone cheese to their Italian beef sandwiches for extra flavor.
What Is Giardiniera?
Giardiniera is a spicy condiment made from pickled vegetables, typically including peppers, carrots, cauliflower, and celery. It adds a tangy and spicy kick to the sandwich.
Wrap This Sandwich(and article) Up:
The Italian beef sandwich is a culinary gem that has made its mark on Chicago’s food scene and beyond.
With its rich history and bold flavors, it’s no wonder this sandwich has a devoted following. So, whether you’re in the Windy City or trying your hand at making it in your own crock pot, be prepared for a taste sensation that’s hard to resist. Enjoy!
- 1 Slow cooker
- 4 lbs chuck roast or rump roast
- 1 tsp oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp crushed fennel seed
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 garlic cloves crushed
- ½ 12 oz jar of pepperoncini with juices
- 4 cups beef broth
- 12 hoagie rolls
- Giardiniera and roasted red peppers for serving
- Heavily season all sides of the beef with salt. Allow to sit in refrigerator uncovered overnight or for up to 24 hours.
- Remove from fridge and allow it to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes – 1 hour. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add oil and sear beef on all sides.
- Remove from heat. Place beef broth, Italian seasonings, garlic, bay leaves, and pepperoncini in your crock pot and gently mix. Add in beef.
- Cook on low for 9 – 10 hours or on high for 3 – 4.
- When finished cooking, remove the beef and shred. Pour and strain the broth into a container and taste to adjust seasoning if need be.
- Load rolls up with beef, giardiniera, and red peppers. Dunk the sandwiches in the broth.