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.
Courtesy of The NFL Gameday Cookbook by Ray Lampe a.k.a Dr. BBQ
|1 teaspoon salt (for the rub)||2 teaspoons salt (for the gravy)|
|1 teaspoon black pepper (for the rub)||1 teaspoon dried basil|
|1 teaspoon granulated garlic||1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (for the gravy)|
|One 4-pound sirloin tip or bottom round roast||1 teaspoon black pepper (for the gravy)|
|1 1/4 cups water||10 crusty French Rolls|
|1/4 cup olive oil||Giardiniera, as needed|
|3 cloves garlic, crushed||1/4 cup olive oil (for the sweet peppers)|
|1 tablespoon dried oregano||2 green bell peppers and 1 red bell pepper thickly sliced from top to bottom (not in rings)|
Preheat the oven to 450°F. 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 350°F. 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 150°F. 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 you’re 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 350°F. 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 and spicy hot giardiniera.
For the peppers: 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.
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