Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches
Italian Beef Sandwiches are a classic Italian sandwich, especially around Chicago. The roast is slow cooked for hours in beef broth allowing the flavors to develop. The roast gets fork tender and the broth is then used as an au jus for dipping. Depending on the cut of beef used, the cooked meat is either sliced paper-thin or shredded. Using a slow cooker is perfect since it allows the roast to cook low and slow.
There are many variations of the Italian Beef Sandwich around Chicago. The meat is either sliced or shredded. The sandwich is served with the au jus on the side for dipping, or the entire sandwich is dipped in the broth (called gravy in Chicago), and served “wet”. They top them with or without provolone cheese. You also top them with sweet or Giardiniera hot Italian peppers. Our recipe is a very flavorful version we just love and think you will too.
3 lb Eye of Round or Chuck Roast, trimmed of visible fat
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Oz Sheffield’s Italian Salad Dressing Mix
8oz Pepperoncini slices and the juice, plus extra slices to top the sandwiches
1 to 2 14.5 Oz Cans Beef Broth
Provolone Cheese Slices
Hoagie or Italian Rolls
Giardiniera (Italian/Chicago Relish) for topping sandwiches
Generously sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides of the roast. Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet. Heat over medium high heat until it starts to shimmer. Carefully place the roast in the pan and brown on all sides. Make sure it has nice brown, but don’t burn it.
Remove from the pan and place the browned roast in a large slow cooker. Add the pepperoncini slices and the juice. Add enough beef broth to just cover the roast. Sprinkle the Italian Salad Dressing Mix on the roast and broth. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
Once cooked, transfer the roast to a serving platter or cutting board. Shred the roast with two forks. Add the shredded beef back to the slow cooker, cover and let cook for another 30-60 minutes. Transfer the shredded beef to a serving bowl. Reserve the juices to serve with the sandwiches for dipping. In Chicago, one variation is to dip the entire sandwich in the extra juice before adding the toppings.
Spoon a generous portion of the shredded beef into each roll. Add a couple provolone slices on top of the meat. Top with extra pepperoncini and the giardiniera. Enjoy.