My mom used to make something she called “Chicago Beef” sandwiches when I was growing up. It was a chuck roast that was simmered in the crock pot all day. Then served over crusty Italian rolls with melted cheese on top. It was one of my favorite dinners! I’d forgotten all about it until I saw it featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Googled recipes and came up with a ton. Evidently, most people refer to it as “Italian Beef”. I suppose it’s also known as Chicago Beef because the place that “put it on the map”, Al’s Beef, is in Chicago. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a great sandwich!

I knew I wanted to cook it in the dutch oven, and not the crock pot. While I love the crock pot, I think you get a better flavor from roasts from cooking in the oven. I’m sure it would be great prepared in a slow cooker, but I’d definitely deglaze the pan with the beef broth – then add that to the pot with the beef and peppers.  If you’re worried about it being spicy because of the peppers – don’t be! Pepperocinis are very mild peppers. They just have a great, zippy flavor. I love the addition of these to the beef! Totally make the sandwich in my opinion. I used provolone cheese, but mozzarella would be wonderful too.

It’s traditional to dunk the whole sandwich in the braising liquid before serving. But, I have “issues” with soggy bread. I think the sandwich has plenty of juiciness without any dunking. You could always serve a small dish of the jus on the side as well. I also topped my sandwich with some sliced banana peppers, just because I wanted a little extra crunch. They were a hit with everyone in the house, and an easy dinner that pretty much takes care of itself. Will definitely be on our menus in the future!


  1. Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    I have soggy bread issues as well, unless it gets soggy from lots of butter. These look fantastic!

  2. Posted October 28, 2011 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    Sounds delicious, I am definitely going to have to give it a try.

  3. Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    These sound phenomenally good.

    I don’t think I’ll dunk the sandwiches either, when I make them. Overly soggy bread is certainly a no no. 🙂

  4. Jenn
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    This is an amazing recipe. I use hot pepper rings and top with hot California mix chopped.

    Part of the true Italian beef recipe is dunking the hole sandwich in the jus. It’s the real Chi town way to eat it. I definitely prefer mine not dipped due to the meat already being soggy.

  5. Brad
    Posted December 30, 2018 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Dunking the beef works well if you have the proper bread. Hard to get outside the Chi Town area. Hard crust stops the whole bun from getting soggy

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