The Windy City is famous for a lot of things (like
deep-dish pizza, Garrett’s popcorn, and World’s Fairs), but when it comes to city-specific, iconic sandwiches, nothing holds a candle to Chicago’s Italian beef. Based on the sandwich-eater’s preference, the sandwich is then dipped or fully submerged into the au jus it was cooked in before being wrapped deli-style to let the juices soak into the bread. Whether you’re new to the roast beef and peppers sandwich or are looking to perfect your fave lunch right at home, keep reading on for everything you need to know about this staple sandwich:
History of the Italian beef sandwich:
This meaty, juicy, gut-busting sandwich is a Chicago delicacy that’s thought to have been created by Italian immigrants during the Depression as a way to make tough and inexpensive cuts of meat more palatable. A classic Italian beef sandwich is made by piling thinly sliced, au jus-dunked roast beef onto a French roll and topping it with roasted sweet peppers or spicy giardiniera.
The Italian beef:
The only barrier to making one of these babies at home is getting a super-thin slice. Even if we chill the cooked roast, without a commercial slicer, it’s almost impossible to get the paper-thin slices that an Italian beef is known for. As a workaround, we shredded the slow-roasted beef to mimic the tenderness of sliced beef.
How to make the best Italian beef sandwich:
— Don’t fear the dip. You don’t have to go full dunk on your first attempt, but at least give the ends of the sandwich a dip or spoon some jus over the bread.
— No mayo & cheese, please. Cheesesteaks are delicious, but that’s not what we’re going for here. The extra fat in mayo and cheese will weigh the sandwich down and make it overwhelming.
— Put that ketchup down. Just don’t. It’ll make Chicagoans shudder. Sweet roasted peppers and tangy, spicy giardiniera are all the condiments you should need.
Did you try making this sandwich? Let us know how it went in the comments!