Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich

Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe

Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe

I don’t know if there is a sandwich more fitting for the “Super Bowl” than the Chicago Italian Beef. Hailing from the South Side of Chicago, this sandwich has it all: Piles of thinly sliced, hot beef nestled in a soft bread smothered in tasty “beef juice” topped with sautéed peppers and spicy giardiniera; it just doesn’t get any better. This is a sandwich worthy of a Championship Trophy! For the authentic version of this recipe I turned to my friend Meathead over at There you will find a treasure-trove of recipes dedicated to the art of deliciousness, and his recipe for “Better than Chicago’s Best Italian Beef Sandwich” is my guide for this masterpiece. Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Meathead suggests starting with a Top Sirloin Roast in the 3-4 pound range. And I had Kevin from The Butcher Shoppe in Pensacola send me a great one to cook… You can also substitute top round or bottom round roast as well. I would say any lean beef roast will work. Remove as much fat and sinew from the outside of the roast as possible. Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich To season the roast he uses ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper. I added a little salt to the mix because it’s a big piece of meat and I like salt, but omit it if you wish. Mix the seasonings together in a bowl, spritz the outer surface of the roast with water and sprinkle on a good dose of the seasoning. The water will help the seasonings stick and release some of the flavor from the herbs. To cook the roast I set up my Big Green Egg for indirect cooking running Royal Oak lump for heat and few chunks of hickory for smoke flavor. Use the plate setter in the Egg to create indirect cooking. The temp needs to run at 325 the entire cook. You can use any grill or smoker for this cook and in Chicago they mainly cook it in an oven. Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich The cooking set up is key for Chicago Italian Beef. The roast sits above a pan of simmering beef broth while it cooks. Place a 9×13” baking pan on the cooking grate and add 6 cups of water. Throw in 4 beef bouillon cubes and stir to dissolve. Season the beef juice with a good pinch of the same seasoning used on the outside of the roast. Place a baking rack over the pan and sit the roast on the raised rack. For the first stage of cooking the roast needs to hit 125-130 degrees internal for medium rare. Insert a wired probe thermometer into the center of the roast to monitor the temperature. I used my Thermoworks DOT and it works perfect for cooks like this. Check out the Thermoworks DOT here>> If you use a 9×13” pan you shouldn’t need to add any more water, but keep an eye on it. Add additional water if necessary. Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Once the roast hits 125-130 degrees, remove it from the pit. Pour the beef juice into a large container and place the roast in the pan. Cover it with foil and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours (or overnight) to cool. Refrigerate the beef juice as well. When the roast is completely cool, it’s ready for the next step. Remove any fat that floats to the top of the juice then bring it to a slow simmer. I used a crockpot set on low but you can also use a pot on the stove. Taste the juice for flavor. Add more seasoning if necessary or reduce to add richness. Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Now it’s time to slice the beef! In Chicago they use a meat slicer for thin slices but at home you can use a thin bladed knife. Let the knife do the work and take your time. Like Meathead says you don’t want to press too hard or saw at it because it’ll be too thick. Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Also no Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich is complete without peppers. I sliced 3 sweet bell peppers into 1/4’ slices. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and toss in the peppers to sauté (I hit them with just a touch of my AP Seasoning for added flavor). Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich To assemble the sandwiches first you need a good bread. If you have fresh Italian bread loaves great, but I didn’t, so I went with fresh French Rolls. The bread needs to be firm on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. Slice it lengthwise but don’t go all the way through. Place a big handful of the sliced beef into the simmering juice and let it hang out for 1 minute. Ladle the bread with a big spoon of the juice then pile the hot beef right on top. Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Add a few strips of sweet pepper and giardiniera (it’s a chopped vegetable condiment packed in oil or vinegar depending on where you get it. Meathead has a great recipe for making it yourself over at Lastly spoon more of the Beef Juice over the top or if you’re like me just dunk the whole sandwich back in the crockpot. They call this “wet” in Chicago but I call it Pandemonium!! Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich There are several variations of the Chicago Italian Beef. Meathead describes them much better than I can, but my favorite has to be the Combo. A grilled Italian Sausage is placed on the roll with everything else, and I go one step further by adding provolone cheese. I highly suggest trying this version if you want to be blown away. If you want to make your weekend “Super”, dive into this sandwich and drop Meathead a note thanking him for the recipe. Print
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Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich

Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe


  • 34lb Top Sirloin Roast (you can also use Top Round or Bottom Round)
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Sweet Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper
4 Beef Bouillon cubes
  • 6 cups Water
  • 3 Green Bell Peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Killer Hogs AP Seasoning
  • 8 French Rolls
1 jar Giardiniera (can be store bought or homemade)


  1. Prepare Big Green Egg or other grill/smoker for indirect cooking at 325 degrees. Add a few chunks of Hickory wood to the hot coals for smoke flavor.
  2. Trim fat from outer surface of top sirloin roast. Combine salt, pepper, garlic, onion, herbs, and crushed pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Spritz the surface of the roast with water and apply a good coat of the seasoning to the surface. Reserve the remaining seasoning.
  4. Place a 9×13” baking pan on the Big Green Egg and pour in 6 cups of water. Add the beef bouillon cubes and dissolve. Add a teaspoon of the left over seasoning to the mixture for flavor.
  5. Place a wire baking rack over the pan and sit the top sirloin roast on the rack. Insert a wired probe thermometer and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 125-130 degrees about 2 hours cook time.
  6. Remove the roast from the pit, pour the beef juice into a large container and place the roast in the baking pan. Loosely cover the roast with aluminum foil and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight to completely cool. Place the container with the beef juice in the refrigerator as well.
  7. Remove any fat from the top of the liquid and pour the liquid into a crockpot and bring to a simmer.
  8. Slice the bell peppers into 1/4” strips. Place an iron skillet on the grill or indoors on the range. Add the olive oil, pepper slices, and AP seasoning and sauté until tender.
  9. Slice the Roast as thin as possible with a knife or use a meat slicer.

To Assemble the famous Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich:

  1. Split French Roll in half lengthwise (don’t cut all the way through the bread)
  2. Place several slices of the beef in the simmering beef juice for 1 minute
  3. Ladle a little of the beef juice on the bread followed by a pile of the warm Italian beef
  4. Add a few strips of sautéed green bell pepper and another ladle of Beef juice.
  5. Top with giardiniera and dip the whole sandwich in the simmering juice for the “full” effect.
Malcom Reed Connect on Facebook Follow me on Twitter Subscribe to my YouTube Channel Follow me on Instagram Buy Killer Hogs Products Here Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich

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16 responses to “Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe”

  1. Sean Hoxworth says:

    Awesome! I have had a almost 11 pound top sirloin roast in the freezer since summer trying to figure out what to do with it. Going to need a group to eat it all! Going to use pellet smoker.

  2. Cheryl says:

    Can you roast in oven have a grill but not sure husband will use a pan with chips to smoke. Or should I just cook indirect on the grill? Thank you
    In Arizona from Chicago. Wish I had some gonella bread

  3. Tom says:

    Unbelievable! I used the Treager yesterday and I am getting ready to enjoy the Roast beef sandwiches with family during the super bowl today. Better than any roast beef that I have ever tasted. Thanks Malcolm!

  4. Aaron says:

    My electric smoker only goes to 275 degrees… could I still do this recipe ? I figure it would add some time to the cook, that’s fine.

  5. Paul Dalbey says:

    Tried this recipe for the Super Bowl this weekend and it was SUPERB!!!!! Word of warning… a little bit of the crushed red pepper goes a long way in the “gravy.” I could honestly have done without it completely after tasting just the jus, but once I assembled my sammich, it was more balanced. I was just a little shocked at first. My family thought it a bit spicy as well, particularly compared to some popular Chicago recipes like Portillo’s. I think next time I’ll try about half the amount of red pepper, but I will most certainly be making this again. I also used mozzarella instead of provolone. All around delicious!! Thanks, Malcolm!

  6. Darrick Anderson says:

    Hi Malcolm,

    Love the videos – everything you say is gospel to me and my pals! Thank you for all you do! One question on this italian beef recipe though… why cool for 3 hours minimum? I’ve been doing practically the same but with eye of round and we’ll clice that thin for sammies after maybe 20mins only. We have noticed the smoke flavor gain strength in the leftovers days after however… is that the benefit?

    Thanks again!

  7. Greg Robinson says:

    Malcom, I could only find top serloin Roasts with the cap off and divided into two. Will those still work?

  8. Tom says:

    Any substitutes for Giardiniera? How can It be homasde? Thanks!

  9. KD says:

    if you go to the site – “Meathead” specifies cooking temp at 225 degrees. Hmmmmmm, does that matter?

  10. Harry says:

    Hi Malcolm,

    Will the beef overcook if you leave it in the crockpot on warm?

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