I was in a real sandwich mode this past week. The holiday break allowed me to think a bit slower on what I wanted to consume. These are good times, because it means I can slow cook practically anything, and trust me, I did. I started off the week slow roasting beef that I encrusted with herbs and spices, made an Italian sauce for my meatball subs, then to end it, made some slow roasted pork that just rocked some tacos, nachos, and burritos. The slow roasted beef however was something that yielded a few really good sandwiches.
When I was reflecting on all of the great sandwiches out there, there was one that stood out to me (besides the meatball subs, the Mexican tortas, Shrimp Po’ boys, Gyros on the grill, or a Reuben), and that was the Italian Beef Sandwich. Every time I go to one of the good hot dog places outside of Milwaukee, Sammy’s Taste of Chicago, I typically order one of their delicious sandwiches. It is a real mess to eat, as the au jus drips out, and their peppers roll off your fingers as you are biting into the thin slices of beef. That last sentence actually just got me hungry for one! So I thought that I would take a stab at making my version of the Italian beef sandwich.
This is really easy to make, and you can get a really think cut by placing in the freezer for about 40 minutes before you are ready to cut and place in a warm bath of its cooking liquid, or what I know as the “au jus”.
- 2 or more pounds of beef sirloin tip, rested for about 20 minutes at room temperature
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cups of water
- Good, sturdy Italian loaf
Begin by preheating your oven to 475 degrees. To a bowl, add in all of your spices, and mix well. Get your roasting pan out and massage the dry mixture all over the beef. Place in your preheated oven for 15 minutes, then once cooked, reduce the heat to a much lower 250 degrees and cook for 25 minutes. Once the 25 minutes has passed, add in the water, which will cover up some of your meat, and place back in the oven, at 250, for 45 minutes. Take your meat thermometer and check the internal temperature of the meat. Stick it into the center of the meat, about half way through, and get a read on it. It should read 140 for medium-rare beef, which is what you want. If you are not there yet with the temperature, place it back in the oven, and check every five minutes or so. When you have reached the 140 degrees, remove it from the oven, and transfer it to another dish, as you will let it cool a bit, then cover and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Keep the water mixture, and let this cool.
Before you are ready to serve, wrap the cooled beef in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for about 45 minutes. By hardening up the meat, you will get a much better chance of getting thinner slices that you would just by pulling it out of the refrigerator. Take your carving knife, and cut against the grain, trying to get really thin slices. Warm up about 1/2 cup of the reserved beef liquid, on about medium-low heat on the stove, then add in as much beef as you want to pile into your sandwich. Warm up the beef a bit. Get your bread ready, and add the beef, some of the “au jus”, and top with as much Giardiniera mix as you so desire.
Now you have options when eating these sandwiches, and everyone has their own style. Meaning, you can add as much “au jus” to this as you want, making it ‘wet’, or simply keep it dry. Like cheese? Add provolone or mozzarella, and you now have a cheesy Italian beef.
Overall a great sandwich that is really easy to make. Hope you enjoy!