Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches from the Stand Man

"My son worked at a Chicago hot dog and Italian beef sandwich stand in the old neighborhood. When we were moving away his boss, Sid the Stand Man, told him what to do to get Italian beef sandwiches made at home as close as possible to his stand's taste. Since it's not really a "recipe" as such, please excuse the way I'm explaining how to make these "blast from the past" sandwiches that I've been making for 20+ years now! This recipe is for a crowd, but I have made them using a smaller inside round roast allowing for 3 or 4 sandwiches per lb. of roast."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
25 sandwiches




  • DAY 1.
  • Roll whole beef round on all sides in Worcestershire sauce until it's brown. Roll in garlic powder until it's white. Roll in basil until it's green. Sprinkle lightly with red pepper flakes.
  • Put in baking pan without rack and bake in oven at 250 dg. for 20 minutes per lb. (Roast will be extremely rare, but don't worry because it will be tender and juicy after recipe is completed) Do not remove roast from pan or drain off drippings. Wrap it all in foil and chill in refrigerator overnight to firm up for easy slicing and to meld seasonings.
  • DAY 2.
  • Remove from pan and save all drippings including any browned bits from baking pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  • Slice chilled roast as close to paper thin as possible (I bring it to butcher where purchased and he slices it for me on his electric slicer.) Put beef slices (saving any juice that dripped off) in plastic bags and chill until ready to assemble.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water per lb. of beef in saucepan, adding drippings that had been saved earlier. Stir over low heat to make an au jus. If more flavor is needed, add more of the above spices and beef bouillon cubes until flavor seems right. The last few years I've used au jus gravy envelope(s) to speed things up or to stretch out more sauce, adjusting seasonings above to keep the "Italian" flavor If wanted, at this point you can add a bit of garlic powder, oregano, or pepper to taste.
  • Bring au jus mixture to a boil.

  • Immediately pour boiling au jus to cover beef slices in a roaster, electric frypan, or large crockpot that will keep sandwiches warm but not hot. DO NOT heat up beef first! The boiling jus will warm up the beef and finish the cooking process. If beef is actually cooked in sauce it will get tough.
  • Serve immediately by having guests prepare their own sandwiches on small french sandwich loaves or hoagie buns. If Gonella- brand rolls are available, that was the bread of choice for Sid the stand man.
  • Serve with green pepper slices that have been sautéed to soften as well as with yellow pepperoncini peppers for those who want more of a kick!
  • NOTE: Sid also made Stromboli Sandwiches, which are a French roll stuffed with Italian beef, a link of cooked hot Italian sausage.
  • and mozzarella cheese. He wrapped the sandwiches in foil and heated in oven until the cheese was melted, then poured a drizzle of warm marinara sauce on filling and added a few sautéed green pepper slices (or pepperoncini peppers). I make these with frozen leftover Italian beef after the party by making broiled garlic bread rolls and assembling them as Sid did.

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  1. We started out by loving Joe Mantegna's "Taste Chicago" in Burbank, Ca. but I find it both an inspiring and creative endeavor to "duplicate" things that my family loves. I am so grateful to have found this recipe online!<br/>I used a 71/2lb round roast but then followed the recipe exactly to delightful results!<br/>Note: To avoid a two day process, I started the process at four a.m. and the meat was completely chilled by 7:00p.m. If using a larger piece of meat I would go with the day before method. <br/>I went to our local bakery for white rolls, they called them "pastrami rolls"<br/>We do the best with what we have to work with,right? :)<br/>It was delicious, and we had two dinners for well as lunch with less packed sandwiches. Proving once again, with a little work, creativity and inspiration you can recreate favorite meals for a fraction of the cost.<br/>Thank you so very much for bringing Chicago to my kitchen in California :))
  2. Didn't work for us, but I'm going to blame it on the butcher! I couldn't get an inside round roast, so I settled for a different cut of meat, then I couldn't get the butcher to slice it afterwards for sanitary reasons. Unfortunately, hubby wasn't able to get it sliced thin enough, which meant that we had to eat it with a knife and fork because we couldn't bite through the meat. If we had had the right cut of beef and had it sliced super thin, I think this would be a great cooking techique. I used the Aus Jus envelope to make things easier. The only change I would make to the recipe would be to use less basil, but that's just personal preference. Thanks for posting such an authentic recipe Mareesme!


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