How to Make Italian Beef Al

How to Make Italian Beef Al

Italian Beef - Exciting Recipes
Drew Swantack / Thriller

Ah, Italian beef – the dipped and tender sandwich of the gods in Chicago. If you live in Chicago, you’ll never be able to get enough of it, and if you don’t live in Chicago, you’ll never be able to get enough of it at all.

Fortunately, Thrillist Chicago editor and Italian beef enthusiast Guy Gentile has you covered. He went to Al’s #1 Italian Beef — the place where it all started — and got us (and you!) the recipe. But what he did to get it goes with him to his grave.

Buy a 5-pound rump roast with plenty of marbling. A sirloin roast or top round roast will also work, but just make sure it has plenty of fat, as it’s important for flavor development. You’ll lose about half of the browning during the cooking process as this delicious fat melts and turns into the sauce (Al calls this gravy) that’s essential to good Italian beef.

Get a large roasting pan, large enough for the baby to bathe in. More specifically, six liters or larger. Soup needs room to dance, which it will, as you’ll see.

You will want to do what most people call over-seasoning the barbecue. Some people may think that a whole head of garlic is overkill, but what do they know? Add salt, pepper, oregano, and chili flakes as well. Really download it.

Place the seasoned roast in the pan with three quarts of water, which will become the stock used for the beef. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and cook uncovered, fat side up, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You’re looking for the center of the roast to be around 150 degrees F, which will result in medium to medium well done beef.

Da refrigerator (no, no Which refrigerator)

When the roast is done, let it cool to room temperature. Then we take out the meat, wrap it, and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Pour the broth through a fine strainer. Get rid of all those bits, but don’t you dare touch that precious fat. Place the broth in the refrigerator overnight as well.

The next day, the fat will harden and rise to the top. What did you say in Miss Grease? no! It’s the key to great Italian beef flavor.

Pour the broth into a wide saucepan and simmer (do not boil) over low heat. Cover the pot and leave it on the heat for 30 minutes until it develops flavour.

Roast the peppers while the broth is simmering. Cut several bell peppers into long fat pieces that you can place along the length of the sandwich. Add olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and pepper to a rimmed baking sheet. Place it in the oven at 350 degrees until cooked for 30 minutes.

The “hot” in Italian beef comes from giardiniera, a pickle of hot peppers and vegetables. Al’s makes his own food and insists it’s more complicated than making beef. Buy hot giardiniera at the store and save yourself the hassle.

Al’s recommends using a deli slicer, but do you have a deli slicer? I didn’t think so. Simply use a sharp knife and a strong hand to get the thinnest slices possible. If you have a lot of excess fat in your roast, you will need to trim it off first.

Add the beef slices to the simmering broth for an additional 15 to 20 minutes so they can absorb that delicious juice.

Any good firm Italian or French bread will do. Not crunchy baguettes or soft hoagies, just a nice fresh loaf that you can cut into 6-inch pieces. Cut the bread on the side, leaving one edge attached. Stuff it with a large amount of beef.

Add to the tender and juicy beef two slices of sweet pepper and spoonfuls of hot giardiniera. Anyway there is.

There are many ways to eat Italian beef, and I’m sure you’ll share them all in the comments section, but Al’s method is the “sweet and spicy dip.” This means topping it with paprika, hot giardiniera, and then quickly dipping the entire sandwich in the gravy.

Adding cheese makes it a “grinder,” and if you’re going to do that, you might as well put ketchup on the hot dogs, too.

To dip, hold the sandwich with tongs and immerse it in the gravy for just one second. Let it drip a little and you’re ready to go.

Oh yeah, and one more thing…

There is nothing messy about Italian beef. Unless you want beef to stain your shirt, you’ll want to adopt the “Italian stance.” Place your feet nice and wide, lean that booty back, elbows on the table, and dig in. Whatever falls, falls to the ground (remember, the two-second rule).

Elastic pants are optional, but I personally think waist belts are for submissives.

Italian beef recipe

Total time: 2 days (30 active minutes)
fruit: 4 sandwiches


  • 5 pound roasted rump with lots of marbling
  • 1 head of garlic, plus 2 cloves, minced and divided
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon, plus ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Several sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 red peppers, cut into large, long pieces
  • 2 green peppers, cut into large, long pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 large loaves of fresh Italian bread
  • 1 cup of hot giardiniera


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Season the roast with a head of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, dried oregano, fresh oregano, and red pepper flakes. Place in a 6-quart roasting pan or Dutch oven. Pour 3 liters of water into the pan (not directly over the roast). Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until center of roast registers 150°F on a meat thermometer.
  • Let the roast cool to room temperature.
  • Remove the roast from the pan, wrap it in aluminum foil, and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, transfer the broth and any fat to a wide bowl. Simmer (do not boil) over low heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to develop flavour.
  • Meanwhile, make the peppers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the bell peppers with olive oil, remaining 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Roast on a baking tray for 30 minutes, until cooked.
  • Remove excess fat from the roast. Cut across the grain into thin slices. Add the beef slices to the simmering broth for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Cut the bread into 6-inch pieces. Cut each piece open on the side, leaving one edge attached. Stuff the bread with a large amount of beef. Top with paprika and spoonfuls of hot giardiniera.
  • Using tongs, immerse each sandwich in the gravy for just one second. Let excess liquid drip off and serve immediately.

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