For those of you who have a unique love for sandwiches, then you may have encountered an Italian beef sandwich at least once in your life. If you haven’t, it’s about time you get on the wagon and learn about them and how delicious they are.
The well-loved sandwich comprises juicy meat, sweet or hot peppers (depending on the menu of the restaurant you’re in), and other ingredients, all carefully enclosed with a roll of bread. While it may seem unusual for those who have never eaten an Italian beef sandwich to understand what all the fuss is about, you will only understand it once you try it for yourself!
Keep reading below to find out why people worldwide are raving about the Italian beef sandwich and why it isn’t just your typical combination of bread and meat.
A Closer Look at Italian Beef
The Italian beef sandwich first appeared in the 1920s. When the Italians decided to immigrate to other parts of the world, especially the United States, they wanted to bring their creation with them to feast on. Italian cooks and grandmothers made sure not to waste any of the ingredients, going so far as including every inch, trimming, and dripping of whole roast beef. They would prepare the French bread and dip it in jus (the drippings of the meat) to enhance the flavor of the sandwich.
If you live in New Orleans, the Italian beef sandwich is known as Debris Po’Boy, but in Chicago and anywhere else in America, it’s simply known as Italian beef.
What Are the Ingredients?
The meat and the bread that make up an Italian beef sandwich aren’t the only essential ingredients. There are also sweet peppers and hot peppers—which are optional and will depend on your taste for good food. However, most beef sandwiches you see today contain green bell peppers, which is the reason behind the sandwich’s sweet flavor.
Meanwhile, if you prefer your Italian beef sandwich spicy, you can expect it to contain sports peppers or serranos—those you can usually find on a hot dog. Other ingredients are carrots, cauliflower, celery, and olives, which are all covered with garlic, oregano, and vinegar, and sometimes red chili flakes to give it the kick you’re looking for.
Depending on the restaurant, they can make their recipe simple by only adding celery and jalapeños. On the other hand, they could serve their best and include all the necessary ingredients to make up a delicious Italian beef sandwich.
How to Prepare an Italian Beef Sandwich
When it comes to preparing the sandwich, the beef must be made from scratch. First, you have to cut it beginning from the inside round or top sirloin. You then have to marinate the meat with garlic, garlic juice, and oregano before roasting it until it’s adequately cooked for two to three hours.
After finishing the cooking process, you will need to store the beef in the refrigerator overnight before carefully cutting and slicing it using an industrial meat slicer placed on its thinnest settings. As a result, the roast beef comes out as paper-thin sheets, perfect for filling the sandwich!
A restaurant offering Italian beef on its menu will keep the beef slices chilled until a customer orders a sandwich. They then have to take out the pieces, submerge them into gravy or jus to enhance the beef’s flavors. On the other hand, after cooking the meat, they can also opt to leave it in the jus all day to soak in the flavors for better taste!
It’s a unique experience to eat an Italian beef sandwich, and knowing where it came from, realizing what ingredients it contains, and understanding its preparation makes it all the more special. If you’re planning to head out soon, you should make it a point to try an Italian beef sandwich to truly know why the recipe continues to be celebrated by people today.
Are you looking for gyro places around you that offer the best Italian beef sandwich? George’s Gyros Spot is well-known for our gyros, cheeseburgers, Chicago dogs, cheeseburgers, and Italian beef sandwiches in Chesterton, Indiana. Browse through our menu and get in touch with us today to start ordering!