Portillo's Italian Beef Sandwiches

Total Time
12hrs 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 12 hrs

Portillo's restaurant, in Chicago, are famous for their beef sandwiches. This would be one of those dishes you could make for your family and freeze leftovers for another meal.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine the water, salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf and salad dressing mix.
  2. Stir well and bring just to a boil.
  3. Place roast in a slow cooker and pour mixture over the roast.
  4. Cover and cook on low setting for 10 to 12 hours OR high setting for 4 to 5 hours.
  5. Remove bay leaf and shred meat with a fork.
  6. Serve on Italian Rolls.


Most Helpful

I thought this recipe was a little too salty, and while it smelled almost exactly like Portillo's it wasn't the same taste. A lot has to do with the texture of the meat. True Chicago Italian beef is thinly sliced, and there's nothing I can do at home to replicate that.

However, I had an idea. I substituted the beef roast with a boneless turkey breast. Subbed the water with low sodium chicken broth, omitted the salt, and added a little crushed red pepper. All the rest of the recipe remained the same, and I was left with one of the best sandwiches I've ever encountered. Sure, it's not Chicago Italian beef, but, it is a healthy cousin and a treat for those of you looking for a different twist on turkey breast.

curtispfs November 13, 2010

NO NO NO NO! Just No! Proper Italian Beef as they serve at Portillo's and elsewhere is NOT cooked in a slow cooker and shredded! Here's a proper Italian Beef Recipe: You want to start with a nice, lean Top Round roast - as big as you like (or small ... but why?). Make a seasoning mix of 2T each kosher salt and black pepper, and 1 T each of garlic powder, oregano and basil. Mix up well and then sprinkle generously over the meat, reserving the rest. Heat the oven to 325 and a cast iron skillet to screaming hot. You need also a large roasting pan with a rack that has at least 3/4 inch clearance under it, or use 1 in thick onion slices as "stilts" to set your roast on (my favorite method!). Brown the meat on all sides in the skillet, then place in the roasting pan on the rack or onion stilts. Add low-sodium beef broth to the pan until it just touches the bottom of the meat. Stir in 1t of the seasoning mix. Roast until 125 degrees in the center - yup, that's rare. Stay with me! Remove the roasting pan from the oven, wrap the meat in foil and set on a warm platter to rest. Pour the broth from the roaster into a sauce pan and skim any fat off the top. Warm the broth just to a simmer and then taste - if it needs to be saltier and more seasoned, add more seasoning mix in small amounts until it is awesome. BTW, if short on gravy, just add more beef broth and then season it up with the mix. Wait until the meat has rested 20 minutes. Slice the meat across the grain in very thin slices - a meat slicer machine works best but absent of that, a very sharp thin knife or electric knife will do - and stack it up on the platter. To make the best sandwiches ever, take a generous portion of the sliced meat with tongs and dunk it into the simmering broth for anywhere from 15 seconds (to keep it medium rare) to a minute or so (for medium well) and then put it on a nice section of french bread - ideally Chicago's own Gonnella bread. Serve with Hot Giardinara and assume the stance - face over the plate, elbows up and out - and dive in. HEAVEN.

Stewart C. January 06, 2016

Wow. Grew up around Chicago, and was spoiled with good italian beefs. Portillo's beef isn't the end-all-be-all, but pretty darn good. I tried this recipe twice, and was truly disappointed. I had to remake the jus and improvise to find something passable. The salt is way too high, but the real killer is the amount of oregano. Too much leads to serious bitterness, and this recipe has way too much. To rectify, try this: 3 cups water, 1 cube beef bullion, one sprig FRESH oregano, 1 sprig FRESH basil, 2 cloves of fresh garlic and about a teaspoon of onion salt. Forget the bay leaf and parsley.

Really?????????? July 07, 2010

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