Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Recipe

Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Recipe

Enjoy roasted beef in a rich seasoned au jus, shaved thin and topped on a bun with hot giardiniera. Get a tried and true recipe for the most authentic Chicago Italian beef recipe from a born and raised Chicagoan.

Chicago is truly a magical place and I am grateful to have spent 25+ years living there. As a culinary arts instructor and born and raised Chicagoan, I think it’s safe to say I have credibility when it comes to knowing what a REAL Chicago beef sandwich should look like, smell like, and taste like.

It’s important to note that there are many imposters out there and that –

  • This is NOT a French dip sandwich
  • This is NOT a Philly Cheesesteak
  • This is NOT a Mississippi pot roast made in the slow cooker

While all of those beef sandwiches listed above are great, they are not the Chicago Italian beef sandwich, though many recipes on the internet claim to be.

Growing up I have tried all the famous spots across Chicago (my favorite is by far Johnnie’s Beef which is 5 min from my house, lucky me).

Because we often move due to military life, I needed to master a truly authentic Italian beef sandwich recipe that I could recreate when I cannot enjoy one locally, and share my love of this special sandwich with all of you.

I do not say this lightly (but I do say so humbly), my husband and I both agreed that this recipe rivals some of the top spots in Chicago. Those are strong words but I would not post anything here on my website if I couldn’t back it up.

This recipe on how to make a Chicago Italian beef sandwich takes multiple days to prep and prepare when making this in a home kitchen. I HIGHLY encourage you to read through everything below before attempting this recipe.

Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Recipe

Why This Recipe Works

  • This recipe requires four major components that must all work together: the roasted beef, the au jus, the perfect bun, and the giardiniera/ sweet bell peppers.
  • Slow roast large beef roasts and then shave it thin to cook back in the au jus adding flavor and juice to every piece of beef on the sandwich.
  • A combination of spicy and sweet peppers creates texture and additional flavors to complement the beef.

Supplies Needed:

  • Large Heavy Bottom Pot (I used this ceramic Le Creuset pan)
  • Tongs
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Knife & Cutting Board
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Whisk
  • Wire Rack & Small Baking Sheet (for dry brining)

What Cut Of Beef Do I Use For Italian Beef Sandwiches?

If you’re making Italian beef at home you have two main options for a beef roast:

  • Bottom Round Roast (preferred)
  • Top Round Roast

These two cuts are often used for making roast beef. While we cannot call this sandwich roast beef (that would be a crime), you are essentially following similar steps.

Choose a large, even-looking cut of beef. There won’t be much marbling but the roast should have a large fat cap. You can leave this one, but I prefer to trim it off so the thinly sliced cooked beef isn’t fatty when I go to make the sandwich.

dry aged bottom round roast for Chicago Italian beef

Italian Beef Au Jus:

Au jus is the backbone of this recipe and makes or breaks a good Italian beef sandwich. The whole roast will slowly cook in the au jus and it will be used again to reheat the slices of beef and to even dunk your sandwich.

To make a truly good au jus you need two parts; beef stock and a homemade Italian seasoning mixture. Here is how to make the spice blend:

  • Garlic Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Celery Salt
  • Fennel
  • Coriander
  • Smoky Paprika
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Whole Bay Leaves (add these in separately from the blend)
Au jus Italian beef seasoning blend

Preparation:

The Beef:

To get the best flavor out of your beef, you should begin preparing the roast 1-2 days in advance.

Remove the bottom roast from the packaging and pat it dry with paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Trim off any large portions of fat or silver skin on the roast, then lightly coat it in olive oil and coarse kosher salt.

Place the beef roast onto a wire rack over a baking sheet. Place it in the fridge for 1-2 days to “dry brine”. This allows the salt to draw moisture out of the meat to dissolve the salt. It then reabsorbs the moisture and helps season the inside of the roast with salt.

Dry brining also intensifies the beef flavor of the meat as it loses some of its natural moisture in the fridge and creates a nice dry outside for getting a perfect sear.

The Au Jus:

If you want to make your own beef broth or stock you can. I used a very high-quality beef stock I purchased from my local butcher. Combine the Italian spice blend mixture and keep it separate from the beef stock.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place the oven rack one below the center.
  2. Preheat a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat and add a high smoke point oil to the pan (I like avocado oil). Remove the beef roast from the fridge and pat it dry once more with paper towels.
  3. Sear each side of the beef roast in the pan until it easily releases with tongs and is brown on all sides. Remove it from the pan and turn off the heat but leave the pan on the burner. Wipe out the excess oil with paper towels.
  4. In the hot pan, add some butter and allow it to melt. Add the seasonings to the butter and whisk for a few minutes to amplify the aromatics.
  5. Take the beef roast and coat it in the seasonings. Add the beef broth to the pan and pour it around the beef roast. It doesn’t need to cover the meat completely.
  6. Bring the beef broth mixture up to a simmer on the stove. Once simmering, remove it from the stove and place it into the oven.
  7. Allow the meat to cook for 3.5-4 hours uncovered. Remove the roast from the oven when the internal temperature on a thermometer reads 195 F. (yes, 195 F is correct see notes in the recipe card). The meat should be tender but shouldn’t fall apart.
  8. Let the roast and the au jus rest for 40-60 minutes to cool slightly and then place it overnight into the fridge. You cannot slice the roast until it’s fully cooled for several hours.
Searing and roasting the bottom round roast and au jus for Italian beef

How To Make A Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich:

Remove the roast and the au jus from the refrigerator. Remove the roast from the au jus (leave any hardened fat in the au jus, this adds flavor) and place the au jus mixture onto the stove, and heat it over medium-low.

Using a meat slicer or very sharp knife thinly shave off slices of the meat from the roast. Make sure to slice against the grain. Think paper thin slices (like lunch meat). Doing this by hand is a lot of work, but it is possible.

Once the meat is all sliced, add it to the simmering au jus. Let it sit in the broth mixture for 10-15 minutes and reduce the heat to low.

steps for making a Chicago Italian beef sandwich

Slice a hearty French roll (Turano rolls are what Chicagoans often use but they are hard to find outside of the Chicago area) and pile beef onto the roll. No really, PILE it on. Use a ladle to spoon more au jus over the beef. Some people enjoy their sandwich fully dunked into the au jus as it is also sometimes done at beef joints across the windy city.

How to build an Italian beef sandwich

Finish it off with the signature spicy pickled vegetables also known as Chicago Style Hot Giardiniera. You can also try my Chicago style smoked sweet peppers, but I love the giardiniera personally. Pair this sandwich with this grinder salad recipe and a side of fries.

Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Recipe

Now that you are officially enjoying one of my favorite Chicago foods, be sure to also check out Chicago hot dogs and my recipe for a keto Chicago thin crust pizza recipe too.

Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Recipe

Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Recipe

Enjoy roasted beef in a rich seasoned au jus, shaved thin and topped on a bun with hot giardiniera. Get a tried and true recipe for the most authentic Chicago Italian beef recipe from a born and raised Chicagoan.
4.76 from 117 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Recipe
Prep Time: 1 day 45 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Servings: 12 Large Sandwiches
Calories: 247kcal
Author: Bon Appeteach

Ingredients

  • 5 lb. Bottom Round Roast or 2 smaller roasts to give you enough meat
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1.5 tbsp. Coarse Sea Salt about 3/4 tsp per lb. of meat
  • 2 tbsp. Avocado Oil for searing the beef

Au Jus Ingredients

  • 8 cups Beef Stock high quality
  • 4 cloves Fresh Garlic roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp. Butter melted
  • 1 tbsp. Celery Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes use half if you don't tolerate spice well
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Coriander
  • 1 tbsp. Fennel
  • 1 tbsp. Smoky Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. Basil
  • 1 tbsp. Oregano
  • 1 tbsp. Thyme
  • 1 tbsp. Rosemary
  • 3 Whole Bay Leaves leave this separate from the blend

Sandwich Ingredients

Instructions

  • PLEASE NOTE: This recipe works best when its made over 2+ day period. Plan accordingly! I highly recommend you read through the entire article above (and watch the video if needed) and the entire recipe below before starting. Enjoy!

Meat Preparation (Dry Brine):

  • This should be done 1-2 days in advance of roasting the beef in the oven to allow the salt to fully penetrate the beef. Begin by removing the beef roast from the packaging and pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Remove the large pieces of exposed fat and any silver skin. Add the olive oil and coarse sea salt to all sides of the roast.
  • Place the roast over a wire rack and then onto a baking sheet. Place the roast uncovered and into the fridge for 24-48 hours to dry brine.

Cooking The Italian Beef:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place the rack of the oven just below the center.
  • In a bowl, combine all of the spices (except the bay leaves) and mix together until fully combined.
  • Preheat a large heavy bottom pan on medium-high heat. Add the avocado oil (or other high smoke point oil) to the pan. Sear the roast on all sides so it browns. It will take a few minutes per side, flip with tongs when it naturally releases from the pan. Once seared, remove the beef roast from the pan and set it aside. Turn the heat off but leave the pan on the burner.
  • Wipe out any large amount of excess oil in the pan. Then add in the butter (leave the heat off so it doesn't burn). The butter will sizzle and melt fast from the residual heat.
  • To the melted butter, add all of the spices (except the bay leaves) to the butter and whisk to combine. Allow the spices to develop the aromatics for 1-2 minutes.
  • Turn the heat back on to medium low. Add the fresh, roughly chopped garlic and allow it to cook in the spicy butter mixture for 1-2 minutes.
  • Take the large seared roast and place it back into the pan. Turn the roast over into the spiced butter so it coats the meat.
  • Pour in the stock then add in the bay leaves. It's ok if it doesn't completely cover the meat that is ok. Bring the stock mixture up to a simmer then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Carefully transfer the pan to the preheated oven. Roast the meat uncovered until the internal temperature reads 195 F. The meat should be tender enough that any connective tissue and collagen breaks down but the meat should not be shreddable (this takes about 3-3.5 hours).
  • Remove the beef and the au jus from the oven and let it cool for an hour off the heat on the stove. Then transfer the entire mixture (as is) straight into the fridge to cool overnight. The meat must completely chill to 40 F. to make it easy for slicing.

How To Make Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches

  • Remove the chilled beef roast and au jus from the fridge. There will be fat that has separated and cooled at the top, do not remove this (it adds flavor). Remove the beef roast and place it on a cutting board and place the au jus in the pan back onto the stove and heat over medium heat so it simmers.
  • Slice the meat as thin as possible (this is key). Use a standard deli meat slicer or get ready to use your knife skills to create thin, shaved pieces of meat. Slice against the grain until you have sliced up the entire roast. This takes a lot of time by hand with a knife, so prepare yourself.
  • Place small handfuls of the thinly sliced beef into the au jus and cook on medium low in the the broth mixture for about 10 minutes to heat and flavor the beef.
  • Slice a French roll (turano rolls recommended) and pile on the shredded beef and ladle over extra au jus. Some Chicagoans prefer their sandwich dunked into the au jus (so you have that as an option).
  • Top the Italian beef sandwich off with some spicy giardiniera (you can also try making sweet peppers but the giardiniera is the most common way to eat this sandwich).

Notes

Keep the sliced beef separate from the au jus and heat the au jus when you plan to make a sandwich. Cook the beef you plan on using for each one. You can freeze extra meat and au jus separately as well to make future sandwiches. It’s also great on pizza too, you should try it! 

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 1816mg | Potassium: 526mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2056IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 4mg
4.76 from 117 votes (87 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




  1. A true Italian beef comes with a mild and hot giardiniera. This has an oil base not vinegar. Another option sweet bell pepper the is baked in the oven tossed in oil. Bon appétito

    1. Cindy,

      Yes, there are both mild and spicy forms of giardiniera and yes they are pickled in a vinegar mixture, but preserved in oil. Unless you’re making your own, that’s what’s available to the average consumer. Per my article this information is outlined as well as my grilled version of classic sweet peppers. Enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    My first W2 job was at Frankly Yours back in 1984. Chicago hot dogs and Italian beef. We used to get the sliced beef in buckets and just added it to the au jus, served on Gonella bread. I now live in New Mexico, and go to Portillo’s whenever I possible. No longer. This recipe is the best. The only change I made was adding 2tsp of rosemary to the au jus mix (my grandmother, Carmella Lotesto would insist). Delicious. Like “let’s start a food truck” delicious. My house smells evoked all good core memories – from my Aunt Lucy’s to Frankly Yours and other Chicago haunts. Thank you!

    1. This comment means the absolute world to me and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to come back and share your experience. This recipe was a true labor of love and as someone who often can’t enjoy Chicago Italian beef locally, recreating this for myself and others like you is why I do this! I’ll definitely try it again with rosemary, thanks again!

    2. That’s awesome to hear! Originally from the Chicago suburbs, but have lived in NM for the last 20 years. Our fav back home is Johhnies Italian Beef. So tough to get bread out here, but we stocked up on the Turano last time we were in Denver. Currently using this recipe and wanted to ask a question about the finish temp on the meat. Other recipes we’ve tried only cook the meat to 135-140 (med rare) and then you finish it off when you heat it up in the au jus. why such a high finish temp?

      1. Johnnies is also my favorite! I’m so glad that it’s yours too. While all those other recipes like to cook to medium/ medium rare, I do not for a few reasons. If that au just temp remotely goes past 140 F (very easy on a home stove) then the second you add the meat, it’s turning to leather and rubber and is overcooked anyways. I’ve tested it, and trust me it doesn’t come out well. Cooking to 190-195 F. allows for the meat to slowly braise and cook down relaxing the proteins in the meat so it is still tender and because it’s braised it isn’t dry. This is a fool proof method for home cooks and works best when you’re mass producing this much beef. You can cook to 135-140 if you’re monitoring your au jus temps but my method absolutely makes delicious beef. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Susan,

      No, it’s correct! The roast is safe to eat after 145 F. internally but this is a denser lean cut of meat. In order for the connective tissues to break down internally and tenderize you want to roast low and slow (like in BBQ) so the meat is more enjoyable to eat. Letting it cook longer doesn’t hurt the meat, especially since you will fully cool and slice it before adding to the au jus. Hope that helps!

      1. Are the Fennel, Smoky Paprika, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Rosemary all supposed to be in Tbsp? I followed the directions and the spices immediately absorbed all the butter and fat and became a paste. Didn’t look like what you had in your video. I was just curious because all the spices together come out to just shy of 16 Tbsps

        1. Hi James,

          The spice blend is correct and I have made this recipe dozens of times. You need a LOT of spices to give the meat and the jus flavor because it’s a large amount. Was your butter melted? I use a wider pan so maybe it looks like less in the video because it’s spread out. You can always add a small amount of the beef broth too to thin it out before coating the meat and to slightly deglaze your pan after searing. Hope all went well with the remainder of the recipe and thanks for leaving a comment!

          Lauren

      1. Hello Ladies….
        Doesn’t The recipe call for 1- 5lb Bottom Round Beef Roast? Not 1.5lbs? I know sometimes recipes can be confusing. Lol

  3. 5 stars
    Hands down this rivals ANY Chicago beef stand and supersedes many. I’m a born and bred Chicagoan (50+yrs.) and have had beefs from the more popular places to the neighborhood places. Worth the time and effort. Personal preference is to tone down the red pepper flakes a little. Thank You for taking the time out to craft this recipe and sharing. This is an amazing recipe! This is Chicago Italian Beef!

    1. Carol,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such incredible feedback about this recipe. It genuinely made me tear up. I love so much about Chicago (especially this sandwich). I am so happy and humbled to hear how much you love it too. Thanks again!

      Lauren

  4. 5 stars
    My central Illinoisan Mormor used to make Italian Beef as an entree rather than as a sandwich filler, and since it wasn’t one of my favorites I hadn’t had it in many years and never made it myself after she passed.

    On a whim after remembering a really sweet story she once told about making it right after she got married, I found this recipe on google and tried it. After my first taste, the memories rushed back hard. This one is definitely going in the big repertoire.

    Thank you so much!

    1. 5 stars
      Just came to say that the spice mix for the jus is extremely legit. At first I was concerned it was too spicy for our guests but it mellowed dramatically after resting. I also blended the jus (sans bay leaves) before cooling it and the result was delicious.

      If you have access, Martin’s hoagie rolls work well for this. Wrap them individually in foil and bake at 450F for ~8 minutes to crisp them before using.

      Really enjoyed this recipe— will be following your page from now on!

    1. After you coat the meat in the butter/spice mixture and pour the beef broth in you can add the bay leaves. Then pop the roast in the oven. You can remove them before refrigerating the roast when it’s time to cool it.

  5. How long roughly would a 5lb roast bake in the oven to reach 195 degree internal temp? Also, will other cuts of beef be ok for this?

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Timing really depends on a lot of variables. I always base it on the internal temperature, but it usually is about 3- 3.5 hours or so. I would say your best outcome is definitely with a bottom round roast or a top round roast. I do not get the same texture with a chuck roast for example.

  6. I was a little thrown off by the flavor of this beef… and not in a bad way! I’m so used to the subpar flavor at your typical hot dog joint or Portillos that I wasn’t expecting this to be so “Italian flavor” heavy. But man this has got to be the best Italian beef I’ve ever made. Even my non-beef loving husband loved it! Needless to say I sent this recipe to all my beef loving friends and will be adding this to the recipe arsenal for many future uses!

    Admittedly, I wasn’t patient with this recipe and made it all in the same day. I dry brined for 2 hours, cooked it as written, let it rest for an hour and sliced it the same night. It was still outstanding!

    1. This comment is EVERYTHING! Thank you so much for sharing your experience (and how you made it in one day, love the feedback). We feel the same way about this beef recipe (and I agree, Portillos has really declined after they got sold). Hopefully, this is your new go-to recipe and I appreciate you sharing it with the other beef lovers in your life.

  7. Hi,
    I’m attempting this for the first time, should I sear all sides before roasting or is it not needed?

    1. Hi Matt,

      I recommend searing it first yes. This gives it way more flavor. After the sear I take it out and then add in the butter and spices. Let those become aromatic and then coat the roast in that mixture before adding the stock and then roasting. I go way more in depth in the article and I have a video too for reference. Enjoy!

      -Lauren

      1. Thank you, Sorry I didn’t see the video, I will check it out. I must have skimmed over that part in the article. Thanks again.

        1. All good!! Always happy to help answer questions but in case I don’t get back to you quickly you can definitely use those as a reference. Enjoy your Italian beef and have a wonderful long weekend.

          1. HI, I am in the resting stage and boy does it smell great!! One last question, the jus looks a loot greasy, is there a way to cut it, would adding more stock cut it down some? I also forgot add the bay leave, hopefully that doesn’t hurt it much.

          2. Hi! It’s a very lean cut of meat so the fat is definitely what gives this flavor. Diluting it will not help you here. However, if you cool it all down overnight the fat will harden across the top and you can easily remove it out once it’s hard if you want to reduce it. Enjoy!

          3. 5 stars
            I just want to to say Thank you!!!! Way better than any chain beef I’ve had!!! It worked out perfectly with a lil tweaks I made personally but I want to thank you for putting this recipe up, I was nervous to attempt it but it turned out great!!!!

          4. That’s awesome! I am so glad you tackled this recipe. It looks intimidating but it’s well worth all the steps to get the best flavor. Appreciate it and hope you give more recipes a try!

  8. 5 stars
    Prefacing my comment by stating that I live on the southern part of the Texas/Louisiana border, so I’m used to cooking and eating food that is well-seasoned. I always add extra seasoning when using an internet recipe to cook. That is not necessary with this beef recipe – Lauren knows what she is talking about! I was too heavy-handed with the basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary when making the jus which definitely overpowered the other ingredients. I was able to cut it down to a good level by adding a couple packets of splenda to the jus. Everything turned out fantastic besides that fixable little hiccup, and I will definitely be using this recipe again!

    1. Ben,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, this is seasoned quite intensely to start with because the jus really needs it to impart some serious flavor. I am glad you were able to round it back out after you made the changes. Enjoy and appreciate the rating!

      Thanks,
      Lauren

      1. Hi I’m trying this for second time. First time I kind of cherry picked from your recipe and another. I used chuck last time and didn’t immerse the meat in the broth. This time I’m pretty much following yours as faithfully as I can. I’m using a 3 lb bottom round. I have a question about whether I should have the fatty side up or down? And is really okay to have liquid 3/4 of the way up the roast?

        1. Hi David,

          Yes, I would recommend following this recipe exactly as written. I spent most of my life in Chicago and lived near Johnnies Beef. This recipe is the best I have had outside of that in my opinion. I’ve tried this with the chuck roast as you mentioned and it doesn’t work well. It will shred but not hold up if you want the nice paper thin slices you get with the bottom round. Mine don’t typically have much of a fat cap, but I would sear that side really well to help jump start the fat rendering. Place the fat cap side up in the oven so that it continues to melt and break down and it will keep exposed portions of the roast from drying out. The liquid is just fine 3/4 the way full while braising. Enjoy your Italian beef; let me know how it goes!

    2. Thank you for this wonderful recipe for Chicago Italian Beef. I am wondering if, after searing the meat, there is a way to cook this in a crockpot.
      Thank you for any advice.

      1. Hi! I haven’t done it but I am sure you can. The high setting on most crock pots is around 300-350 F. If you do this for 3-4 hours and check the internal temperature of the meat with a thermometer and pull it out to rest and cool when it hits 190-195F. you should be able to get a similar effect. Do not cook it so long that it shreds (if this does happen it’s not a bad thing but it helps you control the slice for the sandwich). If I have some free time soon, I’ll also try and test this out because I am curious. If you do it this way I’d also love your feedback. Thanks! -Lauren

  9. 5 stars
    After re-watching The Bear this week, I had a craving for Italian Beef. I live in the Chicagoland area and there are plenty of beef places around me, but I thought I’d give a shot to making it myself. I was a bit intimidated by the recipe the first time I read it, but it was really easy to make. The beef was incredible – it had much more flavor than Portillo’s! I think I’m going to go out and get a meat slicer because I’m definitely making this again!!!

  10. Tried this recipe twice: Once as written, once slightly modified. Learn from my mistake and make these easy tweaks to end up with something truly outstanding:

    1) Only cook the meat to 135, not 195. I was apprehensive about cooking top round that much, and I should’ve trusted my gut. Turned the meat into shoe leather. Round isn’t brisket; there’s not really any collagen to break down and keep it moist. Even cooked in the gravy, it was extremely overdone. Cooking it to a rare/medium rare (before reheating in the gravy) makes it much more flavorful.

    2) Cut most of the spices in half, or at least, the oregano. This recipe is way more “Italian-forward” than real Chicago beef. It’s not bad, but it’s not what you’re expecting, either. Even at half spice, you’re going to have something with more zip than Portillos but it won’t be overwhelming.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and feedback. I am glad you found a way to make this that best works for your preference. I’ve tested this recipe out many different ways and personally would follow this recipe as I have it, but that is the beauty of cooking (and personal choice) when you can make it your own. I am glad you found a version that makes your taste buds happy! Have a wonderful day. -Lauren

  11. Looks amazing I am making this while I type please add the bay leaves in the steps so people don’t forget to add with the stock 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    My experience with Italian Beef sandwiches is limited to 4-5 visits to Portillo’s and it’s been a few years since my last trip to Chicago. I made your recipe after watching The Bear on TV and I was now curious about what I was missing. Your recipe was easy to follow and made perfect sense to me to bloom the spices, add the broth, then braise the beef at 325* for 3 hours to get the roast to 195*. (I am a Texas Pitmaster and have smoked plenty of whole packer briskets and roasts low and slow to 204* to get the connective tissue to break down and leave a tender piece of beef to enjoy after resting).
    I did deviate from your recipe by using a custom red pepper flake mix (arbol, ghost, habanero, jalapeno) and Spanish hot smoked paprika. It was a bit spicy but still delicious.
    As far as slicing, a good (sharpened) 12 inch slicing and carving knife should make easy work of this.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Craig, and I love that you made this extra spicy (sounds delicious). I agree with cooking it to 190-195 F. (also a fellow pitmaster here). It’s a lean cut and does better with this method in my opinion for braising. Appreciate the review, enjoy!

  13. This three day recipe resulted in dry, salty beef. And I like my food pretty salty! I didn’t add any additional salt besides the salt for the dry brine (which I did for 36 hours) and the celery salt in the spice mix. I did use salted butter, so maybe that was the problem? I still ate it though!

    1. Hi Liz! Appreciate you leaving a comment. There’s a lot of factors regarding brining and salt when it comes to working with large cuts of meat. Did you use a smaller cut, under 5lbs? What type of salt did you dry brine with (believe it or not there are huge differences even with different coarse salts)? From the years I have made this, I can’t personally say it’s every been too salty so I feel like theres more at play here potentially? Happy to hear back on your experience! Thanks!

  14. Hi there! This recipe looks amazing! We are in the middle of a heat wave here but I still want my Italian Beef sando. What are your thoughts about using Sous Vide for your recipe. I was thinking about after the dry brine and sear. Adding the broth to the bag before sealing then Sous Vide 195 degrees for the three hours. Cool and proceed.

    1. I haven’t tried this with sous vide so I cannot entirely speak on the results. It will definitely create a tender Italian beef, but it definitely would need to cook in the au jus and braise. This is a key component to the overall flavor and outcome for this recipe. If you experiment and give it a try, please let me know!

      1. 5 stars
        Amazing! Here’s my sous vide adaptation.
        I had to use 3 roasts to get to 5 pounds, so I used three vacuum seal bags. I made your recipe up to the oven cook. Then the gravy was divided amongst the three bags and pulsed until the liguid reached the seal area. The souv vide temp was 140 for twenty-four hours, then seperated from the gravy. I followed your recipe from that point again. Everyone agreed that this the IT recipe for Italian Beef. Thank you!

      2. 5 stars
        Sous vide magic! Followed your recipe up to the cook. I had to buy 3 roasts to equal 5 pounds. Put them in three bags with 1/3 of the gravy. Vacuum sealed with pulse method. Sous vide at 140 for 24 hours. Separated the roast from the gravy and chilled. Followed your recipe again. Absolutely delicious! I will try your cook when the weather cools off.

    2. 5 stars
      This recipe is incredible. I’ve never had an Italian beef before, so can’t comment on authenticity, but I hope it’s this good in Chicago.

      I was very skeptical about cooking a lean, generally unpleasant cut like bottom round to 190F+ but in this case just trust the process. Its hard to believe, but the end product is somewhat diet friendly too.

      A few notes:
      1) Watch your times closely if you have convection bake. Mine was done below 2.5 hours at 315F.

      2) I think the author used a 5Qt braiser/”everyday pan”. I used a ~7qt dutch oven and it was perfect substitute. No way I could have used my 3.5qt braiser with the amount of stock needed (it reduces a lot as you are cooking uncovered)

      3) I used a fresh amoroso roll (Italian steak roll) and it worked great

      4) Make sure other people are there when you do the final step of heating the sliced beef in the jus, lest you eat more than is suitable for a civilized person.

        1. I made this recipe using venison rond roast, it turned out amazing! I did cut back on the crushed red pepper and it was still a tad spicy for me.
          I’m making it again today using a round roast however I’ll need to try a slow cooker do to a time crunch.

      1. 5) Forgot this one: if you have extra jus after you’re out of meat, use it as the liquid to make rice. It’s fantastic

  15. Can I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt instead of Sea Salt and should I alter the amount of salt. Thank you in advance! Making this for our first Sunday family football dinner!

    1. Hi Tani,

      I typically use Morton brand which is actually a little saltier than diamond. General rule to follow for dry brining meat is about 3/4-1 tsp. coarse salt per pound. If you’re concerned about saltiness (I’ve never had an issue) you can dial it back and always add more once you taste test if you prefer! Enjoy!

        1. Hi Lisa,

          Morton’s is actually a denser salt. I would suggest doing a little less. Rule of thumb with dry brining is usually 1 tsp of salt per pound. You could try 1/2-3/4 tsp instead to be safe!

    2. I did. I would recommend about 1tsp/lb or slightly more. Worked perfectly for me. Diamond Crystal tends to be less salty than every other form of salt commonly used in recipes in my experience.

    3. Hi, I can’t see whether you’re covering the pot in the oven, my instinct is to put a lid on for such a long cook…??

  16. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! About 20 years ago, a fellow classmate/friend (born & raised in Chicago) of mine in college made these sandwiches at a party she had. Despite my pleas, she would not share how the meat is prepared. The only detail she shared was, “it takes a few days to make”. Well, I followed your recipe to a T, and my wife & I had these sandwiches for dinner last night. They were OUTSTANDING! As far as I know, there is literally nowhere around us to get anything like this, and we are hooked! Thank you again!

  17. 5 stars
    I am having a party on Saturday and the meat is dry bringing since Monday in the fridge. Can I cook this today and reheat on Saturday as long as the AU JUS is kept separately?

    1. I would definitely get that roast cooked today just to prevent any potential spoilage. Definitely agree with keeping them separate and stored after the overnight cooling as well. If you’re concerned about the meat going bad before Saturday you could freezer it instead of refrigerating it as well. Then slice it from a slightly frozen state and into the au jus the day you plan to serve as well. Just give it time to defrost a bit (but partially frozen may make it even easier to slice into thin pieces). Enjoy!

  18. This was beyond outstanding. I will never go back to the dry packet again to make Italian beef. The flavor of the broth was over the top. I added the pepperoncini and some of that juice and couldn’t stop drinking cups of the broth at a time. I hope to translate it to soup next time if I can make myself stop drinking it all first. My beef bone broth will always have these spices added from now on. I am deeply, deeply impressed. Well done!

  19. 4 stars
    I’m glad I found this recipe. I’ve tried to make something like the Italian deli in my town but he uses too much salt.
    The herb mix sounds perfect. I can’t wait to try this.
    Btw, I’m in the Chicago burbs and grew up with the best Chicago beef.
    Thanks for giving us this recipe.

  20. 3 stars
    Agree with some other commenters, a bit too heavy on the Italian seasoning. I would cut the rosemary by at least half if I made this recipe again. It was good, but had an undertone of eating a candle or potpourri

    1. Noted! I appreciate you sharing. I would say if you follow strictly to the amount of beef stock and meat that it does work but everyone has a different preference. Thanks for providing the feedback as it does also help others!

  21. If you were having a big event and wanted to cook this a couple weeks ahead, how would you freeze it? Would you freeze the meat in the Aujus? Or would you freeze them separately?

    1. I have done this a few different ways. For an event like this however, I would recommend freezing the roast whole (not sliced yet) and the au jus separately. Then 1-2 days in advance defrost the roast in the fridge only and slice into thin pieces. Really cold meat is actually easier to slice as well so this works to your advantage. Then heat your jus and add the beef and you should be good to go!

    1. I haven’t tried it personally so I cannot say for sure how this will come out. It works best with a bottom round roast or you could sub with a top round roast for best results.

  22. 5 stars
    I spent my very early childhood in Oswego. Once in a while my dad would bring home Italian beefs from Don Walker’s in Aurora and we all loved them.
    I’ve tried many Italian beef recipes and never really got it right until I found this! It’s spot on!
    Thank you very much!

  23. 5 stars
    I followed your recipe up to where you put it in the oven, sous vide it instead for 24 hours. Came out great.

  24. I’m slightly nervous with this recipe. Instead of oven I will be smoking the meat. It goes against every principle to cook this meat to 195°. Virtually any other recipe states to stop at 135-140ish. But I do get the understanding of cooking it like a brisket. I’ve done all sorts of other roasts and cooked them to medium. Let cool & slice with my electric slicer. I’m putting my faith in you. Here goes…giddy up!

    1. Michael,

      I know people on here feel VERY passionate about not going to 195F. (you are just seeing the handful that comment but that’s not the majority of experiences). That being said, if you’re smoking it then you absolutely can got to the 195 F. mark. You want this tender, but not shreddable so don’t take it too far like you would for pulled beef and use a bottom round roast if you can. My main reasoning for the 195F. temp is that if you’re slicing this thin enough and putting it in hot au jus, it will cook through anyways. This ensures a tender and juicy fall apart beef every time in my opinion. I’ve been cooking for over a decade, smoking and grilling for 5+ years and know what GOOD Chicago Italian beef is supposed to taste like. While those that want to cook this to medium or a medium rare can, this recipe has always been a hit for me and there have been over 1 million views on this recipe since posted and it’s still ranked number 1. I have yet to try another one outside of some local Chicago establishments that I love more. I hope that encourages you and gives you some confidence. Please let me know how smoking it goes, I’d love to know your experience! Thanks 🙂

  25. When you say large rolls how many inches are you referring to?
    I was thinking about making this recipe for a wedding rehearsal dinner at 4.5 inch rolls.

    1. Usually a Chicago Italian beef sandwich is usually about 6 inches I would say. I’ve cut the bread in half before for catering if there was a lot of other food being served. I think you would be find with 4.5 assuming there are sides etc.

      1. I need to adjust the recipe for approximately 60 servings.
        How much raw bottom round do you suggest I start with?
        I know that there is about a 35% loss in weight after it cooks.

  26. 5 stars
    We were invited to a pot luck this Friday and I thought this would be a super fun recipe to try. I had the butcher cut me a beautiful 5.3lb bottom round roast and it is currently in my refrigerator dry brining. I’m really excited for this as Italian Beef sandwich’s are my favorite and I really want to impress people at the pot luck. I also happen to have a commercial meat slicer and I’m excited to use it. Thank you for taking the time to make this recipe so clear and easy to understand. If I pull this off and make delicious Italian beef I think it’s going to be my go to for parties and football games.

  27. I have not made your recipe yet, Jewel has whole “Eye Of Rounds” on sale for $1.99 per pound (7 pound average). Would you recommend cooking to 195 degree temp? Thank you and have a most awesome afternoon!

    1. I have never tried it with an eye of round so I cannot give you a truly accurate response. I haven’t really had the best outcome with anything other than a top or bottom roast. Try roasting to medium (135 F.) if you prefer. I hope it works out!

    2. I’ve made this with eye of round a couple of times and brought the temperature to about 150 – 160
      I got one of those $1.99 a lb. roasts myself!

  28. 5 stars
    Two “older” Italian ladies lived next door to us. One made her Italian beef but instead of melted butter she placed a whole stick of butter with fresh rosemary and thyme on top of the butter. She made hers in a crockpot which cooked all day. I asked why she did that. She told me you don’t want tough meat-my Noona taught me this way. The other Italian lady made it more like your recipe. Either way yummy. Although I think I like the cheesy crusty bread better!

  29. 5 stars
    I just proof read my comment and to clarify the rosemary and thyme topped stick of butter is put on top of the meat. She always used a crockpot. I think roasting the meat this way would cause a smoky mess!!!

    1. I make a paste with the butter and the spices first because this actually helps slightly rehydrate them and cooking them briefly before adding any broth really amplifies their flavor. The meat braises in the oven in the au jus, which is a very similar method to a crockpot so there is no smoky mess (not sure what you’re referring to here to be honest).

  30. 5 stars
    Loved this so much. I shared it with a few friends and they are every single oz.

    I want to perfect it and felt like I did something wrong. In my opinion the meat was dry. Even after reheating and adding au jus to the sandwich the meat was just dry.

    Reflecting on cooking it, the meat got to about 205 in 3.5 hours and the oven was at 325. The only other thing I can think that I messed up was not whisking the spices in butter, I stirred them instead.

    Any pro tips would be awesome!!!

    1. I only cook my meat to about 190-195 F. and the 3.5 hours is a rough guideline as all cuts of meat are not the same (marbling, size, weight etc.). Use a meat thermometer to get the best accuracy and be sure to reallllllly slice it thin when you slice it after chilling. The meat should almost be paper thin for this to work well with the au jus. Glad it was a hit regardless! Thanks 🙂

    1. Bottom round is the best option. Eye of round is lean and similar but much smaller cut. I haven’t tried it personally but my best recommendation are top or bottom round for best results.

  31. This looks very close to Al’s beefs in Chicago. I grew up in the Northern suburbs and have been in Texas since 93. I’ve hunted down the recipe, I’ve come close watching a Video of Al making his but he won’t share his full spices. Im most positive what you have here is it! One thing I learned is reheating the juice is make sure it gets no hotter than 175. Or the meat will get rubbery. Totally trying this recipe.
    Thank you from a Chicago girl at heart!

    1. Hi Angie! Yes, as a fellow born and raised Chicagoan I can say this recipe is the closest you’re going to get to going to Al’s or Johnnie’s. The au jus getting too hot is a huge issue for home cooks and will absolutely overcook the beef. This is why I cook my roast for about 3 hours or roughly to 185-190 F. internal. It actually creates a much more tender product and won’t turn to rubber the second it hits the au jus. The folks in the comments who think this should be cooked to 135-140 F will find out the hard way unfortunately. I have made this recipe for a long time and it’s never done me wrong. I hope you give it a try! Thanks for sharing and leaving a comment!

  32. Can you cook in the oven as directed, then once pulled from the fridge overnight, cut and add to the au jus in a crockpot to take to a pot luck? What would be your recommendations here? #fromchicagotoo

    1. Yes, you can absolutely do that! Maybe keep the meat sliced sperate, warm the au jus first in the crock pot then add the beef in when ready to heat through and make your sandwiches!

  33. Hi! I have the bottom round roast brining in the refrigerator now! Can’t wait to cook it tomorrow and it it on Monday. Question on the pan to cook it in – I don’t currently have the pan you recommend and was wondering if a Lodge enameled Dutch Oven would work? Or, a larger metal roasting pan that I use for turkey. What do you suggest? Thank you!

    1. Hi Jen,

      Yes, any style roasting pan will work! As long as it fits your roast and the liquid can cover the majority of it. I think your lodge pan will work perfect. Enjoy!

  34. I have made this recipe 2 times once with venison and once with beef both were wonderful!!
    I’m hoping to make this for my son’s wedding rehearsal dinner I April.
    How much meat would I use to feed 30 to 35 people?

  35. 5 stars
    The recipe was awesome! Used 1 tsp of red pepper flakes and the hot giardiniera was too much spice. When I make it the next time I’m gonna omit the red pepper flakes.

  36. I’m stuck with what I did wrong. The beef and jus came out so spicy. I had a 2 pound bottom round but used all the spices called for. Would that have done it? Wanted lots of au jus for freezing.

    My husband (from Illinois) kept saying it smelled just like his favorite restaurant in McHenry but he too thought it was too spicy.

    1. Hi Alison,

      The recipe works best with the 5lb roast, so my guess is that it’s way too overpowering with the amount of meat you used. Try heating just the au jus on medium low heat on your stove and adding some more beef broth (maybe 1 or 2 cups to dilute). Test taste and see if that helps at all. It’s definitely on the spicier side (I note this on the red pepper flakes listed in the ingredients), but overall it’s probably that your ratios are off. Hope this helps!

    2. Is it possible to slice this closer to the cooking time without the overnight rest? Maybe you can toss the cooked roast into the freezer for just an hour or two to firm it up?

      If you can’t tell, I didn’t pre-read the recipe and have the meat dry brining to cook tomorrow morning ahead of some guests so we’ll see how it works out!

      1. It definitely does best with a slower chill over a longer period of time in the fridge. You can remove it from the jus and pop it in the freezer. It will help it some but may be trickier for getting super thin slices if you’re cutting by hand and not using a meat slicer. It’s still doable, just more work! I hope it all goes well!

  37. Hi! Your recipe looks like the most legit (and even Guy Fieri tries to be in the mix). However, what about the onion and carrots? I get that those are in the giardiniera, but it seems good to make those as well as the sweet peppers. Would you recommend putting them in with the meat and roasting? Or making separate like the sweet peppers?

    Thanks for your assistance – I really want to try this sometime.

    1. Hi! The giardiniera (carrot mixture you referenced) and sweet peppers is a topping only and not a part of the actual Italian beef mixture. While you could add it in, I would not personally. I have a homemade Chicago style hot giardiniera recipe coming out this weekend as well though, so stay tuned if you want to make it at home! Thanks 🙂

  38. 3 stars
    While I like the dry-aging and the seasoning mix, roasting the meat to 195F internal temp is way over the top. Italian beef is all about juiciness, which is achieved by roasting it only to medium rare, or 135-140F, and then finishing it in warm au jus. I don’t know if this is a typo, but 195F internal is beyond well-done, and will just get you a dry hunk of beef.

    1. It is not a typo 🙂 and I absolutely get why you say this, but hear me out first. I design and create recipes for a living for home cooks (keep that in mind). Meat can absolutely be tender and juicy when SLOW roasted and braised to an internal of 195 F. This is a concept I use extensively in my work in the BBQ field. If you cook this to 135-140, slice it paper thin, and then stick it in the hot au jus- it often turns rubbery because it becomes over cooked during that second step (if the au jus is over 140 F it will over cook the meat at this stage anyway and most people aren’t monitoring this at home). If you have eaten an Italian beef sandwich from the countless spots across Chicagoland you’ll note the meat isn’t pink at all when you’re eating it. To maintain continuity, tenderness, and juiciness (which is also obtained through the slow breakdown of the collagen while roasting) you get a delicious outcome. You’re welcome to roast this to your desired doneness, but this has been extensively tested (including the way you mentioned) and the way I have it is definitely the best outcome. Cheers and enjoy! -Lauren

      1. I am an Chicago Italian beef conisuer, I have made this recipe twice once using beef bottom round roast and once using a venison bottom round, I followed your directions and it was perfect!!
        I’m getting ready to make it for a wedding g rehearsal dinner.

  39. Hi,

    This sounds amazing. Could this recipe be made in a slow cooker vs oven? Do you have suggestions for this alternative? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi! So I haven’t done it in the slow cooker, but I imagine it works fine. Sear the meat still first in a pan on the stove and then after searing add in the butter and spices and garlic per my normal directions. Place your seared roast into the slow cooker, add the butter/spices, then pour in the beef stock. I’m not sure on timing here but I recommend doing a low setting and monitoring it around the 5-6 hour mark to gauge doneness. You want the meat to hit about 190 F. internal so it’s tender once sliced. If you cook too long it may fall apart and be like a shredded meat (this won’t taste bad and can definitely still be served this way but if you want to slice avoid this).

  40. I am making this in advance for my son’s wedding rehearsal dinner. should I freeze it as a whole roast and slice it closer to the time or slice then freeze it?

    1. I think either would work fine, but it may just store easier as a whole roast. Either way, my only suggestion is to fully defrost it in the fridge in advance beforehand so the texture isn’t impacted too much. Enjoy!

  41. There is no specification in the recipe about whether the spices in the au jus mix are ground or whole. Could you please advise?

  42. I am from Chicago and recently moved to near Atlanta. I have been looking all over the web for a good recipe and I think this is it!!

    Not sure if I missed this – but what are your recommendations for freezing? I am thinking about making this soon – but I am the only meat eater in the house. While I may not need to freeze (as I will probably eat it all in 2 sittings), I would just like your thoughts.

    1. This recipe freezes pretty well. I think the easiest for you would probably be to thinly slice all your meat and add it the the au jus. When going to freeze just divide the beef and au jus mixture evenly into smaller freezer safe bags that are pre-portioned. I find that defrosting the meat in the fridge works best for maintaining a better texture overall when doing it this way. I have also frozen the roast itself and then sliced and added to the au jus but I think that works better when you plan on using it all at one time. Hope this helps and I hope you enjoy it!

  43. 5 stars
    I’ve searched and searched for an authentic Italian beef recipe, and have been disappointed several times. Until I made your recipe, that is. PERFECT!! I don’t know how you did it, but you’ve created the perfect Italian beef recipe and it’s absolutely delicious, my family and I can’t get enough of it! I will continue making this, following your recipe to the letter, thank you so much. Outstanding.

      1. Hi If you think Portillo’s is good, Then you have not had good Beef or bad taste buds.
        Local hot dog place has the best around here.
        Family owned and other places. He has the best; taught by his family of resturants in Chicago.
        Sorry for you

        1. Portillos used to be ok before they sold, they are far from ok now and is the last on my list for rankings of beef (though I think buona is worse actually but I don’t even count that to be honest haha). My personal favorite is Johnnies (mentioned in the article above as well) and I would say this recipe is on par with that. I have made this recipe for a long time, catered it etc. It’s a solid authentic recipe that I haven’t found anything else that even comes close on the internet thus far (in my opinion). Not everyone knows what Chicago Italian beef is or what it’s meant to taste like. I’ve lived all over the U.S and it’s nice to have a taste of home. Which local spot are you recommending? I’d love to check it out! Thanks 🙂

  44. WAAAY too much salt! Dry brined in salt, sodium in broth and then 1 TABLESPOON of celery salt?!! That’s very unhealthy. Substitute the broth with low sodium or no sodium or use 1 teaspoon and substitute celery seed for the rest. Other than that it’s a good recipe. I like Portillos the best but I’m not living anywhere near Chicago. This recipe is a great substitute.

  45. 5 stars
    Sandwich turned out great! Used cheap bottom round. Cooked to about 185° and that was fine.

    Tips: after cooking the beef, the au jus was essentially a concentrate. I added a lot of water to get it to the right level of saltiness and flavor. I also strained it to remove the larger chunks of garlic, rosemary, etc.

    1. You could I’m sure, but I’ve never tested it. You could look up conversiona for oven to crockpot times/temps and give it a try. Just don’t cook it so it shreds (unless you want it to).

  46. 5 stars
    My husband and I had our first Italian beef sandwiches this last year when visiting Chicago (my third time there and his first). We loved them and made sure to get them a second time before our trip ended. For his birthday, I decided to make them and share our love for them with our friends. We used your recipe for the sandwiches as well as the hot giardiniera and it all turned out amazing! They were a big hit and we were able to introduce Italian beefs to people who have never had one!

  47. I’m not from Chicago so can’t judge authenticity, but this is a terrific recipe. And it always brings out a few fond memories of The Bear. Loved the show and love these sandwiches.

  48. Instead of discarding the beef fat and then adding butter, why not just save some of the beef fat?

    1. These are fairly lean roasts, so it’s not fat but oil that’s left behind. I prefer to wipe some of that out and deglaze with butter. The butter also helps rehydrate the spices a bit before adding to the beef. If you prefer to leave it in and skip the butter, you surely can!

  49. I’m from Chicago. When I moved away I missed the sandwich so much. I have now tried to make it. But not as good

    1. I have lived away from Chicago for many years as well which is why I worked to create this recipe. I didn’t feel like other recipes on the internet really captured the flavors correctly. I’m not back in Chicago but outside of going and grabbing a beef at Johnnies, I love this recipe the most! Enjoy 🙂

  50. Is there any chance it can be cooked in a slow cooker instead of the oven? If so, what are the adjustments? Thanks so much!

    1. I haven’t tested it so I cannot tell you for certain but in theory it should work. A few things I’d suggest/ keep in mind however – I still suggest searing like I do here to get the right texture on the meat and depending on how long you slow cook to, be mindful of the beef completely becoming so tender it shreds or falls apart if you want to be able to slice it. You will have to monitor the internal temperature in order to do this. Hope that helps guide you through an attempt. If you do slow cook, please let me know how it turns out!

  51. Is there something you could substitute for the butter to make this dairy free? Or would you just leave it out? I’m so excited to try this recipe. I love Italian Beef but have some food allergies so prefer to make it at home.

    1. Hi Jessica- The butter is really just to add flavor and help rehydrate the spices/ deglaze the pan a little bit before braising. You could omit the butter and just use a little beef broth to (start with 1/4 cup) and scrap off the browned bits on the bottom of the pan from searing the meat and let that cook with the spice mix for a few minutes. Add the meat in and get it coated and then add the rest of the broth. Hope that helps!

  52. So, I followed the recipe (except forgot the bay leaves) but all I had that would fit both the roast and the broth was a roasting pan similar to what you’d roast a turkey in. The meat stuck up well give the broth and the broth condensed down much more than I expected. There wasn’t nearly enough broth left for all the meat. Plus, the broth was WAY too salty and the meat coming out of the broth made our sandwiches way too salty as well. I even added a 14oz can of beef broth as I was preparing the sandwiches to help cut the saltiness. It was still too salty. The only salt used was to brine the meat and I used Kroger coarse salt. So, I’m not really sure what happened. Possibly I should cut the salt you recommend way back? We could tell the flavors was there but too much salt. Help!

    1. I am so sorry that happened! I really appreciate you coming back and sharing your experience though. Here are a few suggestions I have for the future that hopefully will help-
      If you don’t have a braiser or Dutch oven pan (like what’s pictured) you could possible get a foil pan from the store as well that may fit the size of the meat better so the meat is mostly if not fully covered when in the oven. The saltiness is definitely increased from the reduction of the broth. I usually have a lot of broth left so verify your oven temperatures are accurate and pan size may have cause more to cook off as well here. Additionally, not all salt is the same. I suggest using Diamond kosher salt and make sure to measure no more than 1/2 tsp of salt per pound for the dry brine. Additionally, you may want to consider skipping the dry brine in general and just seasoning the broth after and checking the salt levels of any store bough broth as well. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for the help. I have a 5qt Pyrex Dutch oven which I was using, but once I got half the beef stock in, I could tell there wasn’t room for the 2nd half. So I called an audible and switched to the roasting pan. I will cut the salt back. My roast was 6lb before I cut the fat off so I used closer to 2tbls to brine. That must be too much for the type of salt I have. I’ve never seen Diamond brand in any of my stores.
        I can look for a larger pan, but I’m wondering if it would be better to just cut the recipe in half? I don’t really need 5lbs of meat.

  53. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! It explains every detail for the perfect Italian beef sandwich & encourages people to read the entire recipe & assembly in advance. I especially appreciate the tip that says that after slicing all of the beef to add serving of the beef to au just to warm instead of adding it all at once into the hot au jus!

  54. 5 stars
    So I just HAD to make sure to leave a comment on this recipe. My Husbands family is from Chicago, so from the moment I met him 10 years ago that’s all I’ve heard about.. Go Bears! ☺️ He took me to Chicago a few years ago, and all he kept telling me was “we’re going to Johnny’s”. His cousins at the time were cops there in Chicago (born and raised) and told him no “Portillo’s” but he was adamant it had to be Johnny’s. Hands down the best sandwich! I LOVE to cook (I keep telling myself culinary school is my next venture in life lol) and I’m always trying new recipes. I stumbled across this one and it turned out amazing! He literally scarfed down two sandwiches in one setting lol. He LOVED the flavors and told me that I had to make it again. Thank you for bringing a little bit of Chicago to our home here in Alabama! 💜

    1. Thank you so much Carrie for coming back and leaving this comment! This is why I do this job and it always makes me smile when I read comments like this. Thanks again and enjoy your beef sandwiches!

  55. I have questions about the dry brining you described:
    1) does coating the meat in oil before salting interfere with the brining?

    2) how does the meat reabsorb the juice that runs out from the salting if the meat is elevated on a wire rack?

    Recipe sounds great and I am eager to try it. It also seems like a lot of work over several days so want to make sure to get it right.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for reaching out. Here are some answers to your questions.
      1. You can leave the oil off if preferred and isn’t necessarily essential for the salt to adhere but I prefer it so it sticks. I haven’t ever had any issues with the little bit of oil causing a disruption in the absorption of the salt.
      2. You may see 1-2 drop of juice from the meat on the pan but I find the wire rack actually allows for the air flow to circulate better around the meat so it does reabsorn. Additionally, air flow actually helps dry the meat and will evaporate a bit of the natural moisture. This does a few things- A. It creates a better surface for searing the meat and B. actually intensifies the “beefy” flavor of large roasts.

      The recipe just takes time to maximize flavor but it isn’t complicated in and of itself! I hope it goes well for you and you enjoy it. Thanks so much!

      -Lauren