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Unread 11-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #10
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Those all look good but I don't think they'll be like the beefs you'll find in the joints in Chicago. I think people make the mistake of adding beef stock. Then it becomes a good roast beef sandwich, but not a Chicago Italian Beef. Here's a recipe that I did for The NFL Gameday Cookbook and I think it's very authentic.

Italian Beef Sandwiches
From The NFL Gameday Cookbbok by Ray Lampe
Chronicle Books 2008
In Chicago, this is the food of the neighborhoods. Yeah we eat plenty of hot dogs too, but Italian Beef is the most popular sandwich in the Windy City.

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic

One 4-pound sirloin tip or bottom round roast

1 1/4 cups water
cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper

10 crusty French Rolls
Chicago-Style Sweet Peppers (recipe below)
Giardiniera, as needed (available at most grocery stores near the pickles)

Preheat the oven to 450F. Combine the rub ingredients and sprinkle them all over the roast. Place the roast on a rack in a small roasting pan, and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the gravy ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 350F. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Slowly pour the gravy into the bottom of the pan. Cover and return it to the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150F. Remove it from the oven, uncover, and let cool for 30 minutes. Wrap the roast in foil and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. Transfer the gravy to a bowl, being sure to get any stuck stuff from the bottom of the pan. At this point you should have 2 cups of gravy. If youre short, add enough water to make 2 cups. Cover and refrigerate with the beef.

The next day, take the meat out of the refrigerator and slice it as thinly as possible. Slicing it while cold will help. This is a very important part of the recipe. If you can use an electric slicer, that would be the best, as you want it very thin. If not, get your best sharp knife and take your time slicing it as thinly as you possibly can. The authentic Chicago Italian Beef is sliced paper thin and that is key to its taste.

Now preheat the oven to 350F. Add the beef and the gravy to a roasting pan or an oven-safe Dutch oven. Toss well to coat all of the beef with gravy. Cover and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and toss the meat to coat again. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes. Layer the meat on crusty French rolls with Chicago-Style Sweet Peppers (recipe below) and spicy hot giardiniera.

Makes about 10 sandwiches

Chicago-Style Sweet Peppers
This one is pretty simple, but its the perfect complement to the Italian beef.

cup olive oil
2 green bell peppers, thickly sliced from top to bottom (not in rings)
1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced from top to bottom (not in rings)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, or just until soft. Transfer the peppers and oil to a bowl and serve at room temperature with the beef.

Makes 2 cups
Ray Lampe
The Honey Badger of BBQ. I just don't give a sh!t.
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