Last Updated on 4th August 2022 by Pauline Loughlin
Slow cooked Italian beef sandwiches are a Chicago delicacy but famous around the world. Usually, beef chuck meat will be used in Italian beef sandwiches, but occasionally different types of beef will be used.
The meat is cooked in its own juices in a slow cooker, and then put onto a hoagie bun with some of the juices poured on as well. Those soak into the bread and flavor it to create a really unique and tasty sandwich that’s dripping with flavor.
The meat is usually topped with a few key ingredients, particularly pickled Italian veggies known as giardiniera, as well as pepperoncini, and provolone cheese.
This creates a sandwich that’s a little on the messy side, but it’s so cheesy and has a nice salty flavor to it that you can’t help them love it.
You can find Italian beef sandwiches in certain areas of the United States, particularly certain northern US fast food chains, but they’re not something you can find as easily in the southern United States or other parts of the world. So, it can be helpful to know how to make it yourself so you can get that authentic Italian beef flavor at home.
What Is Italian Beef?
For a quick recap, Italian beef is a lovely combination of slow roasted beef chuck, Italian vegetables that have been pickled, and provolone cheese and pepperoncini.
Some of the juices from the cooked beef are poured in as well, and all of that is put together on a submarine sandwich bun. What you get is a classic sandwich that’s not widely available, so it makes sense to learn how to make the homemade version.
How to Make Italian Beef
Sometimes, Italian beef is just the slow cooked beef itself, but it’s usually a shorter name for an Italian beef sandwich. People will typically assume that when you’re talking about Italian beef, you’re talking about putting that beef on bread with all the toppings to make the classic sandwich. So, I’ll show you how to make Italian beef sandwiches from start to finish.
Let’s start with how to cook Italian beef. We will be seasoning the beef as we cook it to give it that authentic Italian beef flavor and show you how to make Italian beef in crockpot. You can use some of the beef from our special slow cooked beef brisket recipe it would taste delicious here.
- 3 to 4 pounds of chuck roast beef
- 1 can of beef broth (about 14.5 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 8 ounces of pepperoncini pepper slices
- Provolone cheese slices
- 8 ounces of giardiniera
- Hoagie buns
- Before cooking the meat, you want to rest it at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Season it well with salt.
- Prepare a large skillet by heating it on medium high heat. When it has heated, add the meat to the skillet and cook on all sides until they turn a golden brown. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Then, put the beef into the slow cooker.
- Add all the seasonings for the beef, which include Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, sugar, and thyme.
- Add the beef broth to the slow cooker as well.
- Cover the crock pot and set it to low, allowing it to cook for eight to 10 hours. You know the beef is done cooking when you can take a fork and shred it easily.
- When the beef has finished, you can shred it all and stir it with the contents of the slow cooker, and then cover the slow cooker. Cook on the low setting for another 30 minutes.
Now, your beef is ready, and you can add it to the hoagie buns. Pour out the beef on generously with a large serving spoon, getting some juice in your spoonfuls as well. Add provolone cheese to top, as well as your pepperoncini and giardiniera.
The homemade Italian seasoning use may be more than you want to deal with, and you can just buy Italian seasoning dressing mix instead if you want.
What to Serve with Italian Beef Sandwiches
You already know what to serve with Italian beef, as they should be made into sandwiches. It can be a side dish on its own though, and you can leave out the buns, peppers, veggies, and cheese. That could be served with mashed potatoes, cornbread or artisan bread of some kind, steamed vegetables, or pasta.
If you’re serving up the Italian beef sandwiches, however, they go great with fries, potato chips, potato wedges, jalapeno poppers, or Buffalo wings (if you want a meat-heavy meal).
How to Make Sweet Peppers for Italian Beef
Some people will roast sweet peppers to put in their Italian beef sandwiches or to make with shredded Italian beef as a main course. Let me share with you a method for preparing sweet peppers for this dish.
You want to cut the sweet peppers into long thin strips. Preheat your oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Place the peppers with the cut side facing down on the sheet and roast them for 30 to 35 minutes.
You know they’re done cooking when they have become lightly blistered and the skin is starting to shrivel. You want to peel off the outer skin, but set the peppers to the side first to let them cool before you do that.
What Cut of Meat Is Italian Beef Made from?
If you’re making Italian beef for yourself and don’t care about doing it in a traditional manner, you can really use any kind of beef you prefer.
You can follow the same basic instructions I’ve given you above for slow cooking your beef, but if you want to go the traditional route, you will use a portion of chuck roast. This gives you that authentic Italian beef flavor and texture, and it sears really well when you’re cooking it in the skillet on the stove.