I never realized growing up in Chicago was such a privilege until I began surfing the net and found out that a good portion of the rest of the country had been deprived of tasting a Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwich. I assumed every State and every city in America had a favorite beef stand lurking somewhere in their neighborhoods.

The Endless Varieties Of Pizza
There is a tremendous amount of people out there who never experienced the wonderful taste of thin sliced beef packed on top of a fresh piece of Gonnella bread soaked with gravy and topped with sweet peppers or hot giardiniera.

Outside of a handful of displaced Chicagoans who moved out of the city to open a Chicago-Style Italian Beef joint, there really isn't anywhere for anybody to truly enjoy a beef sandwich except in Chicago. One time I even had to ship Serrelli Street beef to Arizona when I found out my Aunt and Uncle haven't eaten a beef sandwich in five years. Nobody should go that long without eating a beef sandwich.

Luckily, a few of our favorite Chicago-Style Italian Beef purveyors are franchising throughout the country. "Portillo's" has opened 2 locations in Southern California and "Al's Beef "already has 20 stores throughout the Chicago area and hopes to have 100 to 150 stores within the next five years. Eventually everybody throughout the country will be able to enjoy this sandwich that I've taken for granted for so many years.

Now let's discuss Chicago. Like the pizza war between Chicago and New York, Chicago is suffering a long embattled a civil war regarding who has the best Chicago-Style Italian Beef and who originated the sandwich.

Scala Packing Company maintains that it's founder Pasquale Scala created the sandwich back around 1925. Though the packing company was established in 1925 it is still debatable as to when the beef sandwich was created. While it's true Scala supplies the beef to around 90% of the beef stands and restaurants in and around Chicago, Al's #1 Beef, which began on Taylor Street in 1938, claims their family originated the sandwich.

As far as the best Chicago-Style Italian Beef sandwich is concerned I guess that's up to where you were raised. I was born on the Southside of the city and grew up with Al's. People that were raised in the North or Northwest area of the city seem to prefer Carm's or Johnnie's, Portillo's is always a favorite anywhere.

So now that I've made you nice and hungry for our famous Chicago-Style Italian Beef sandwich let me give you my version that I cook at home for my family. It's tasty and delicious and I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwich


5 pound rump roast

6 cloves of garlic chopped fine

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp of dried basil

1 tsp of dried thyme

1 onion sliced

1/4 cup of vegetable oil

2 cups of beef broth

1/2 cup of red wine

1/2 cup of water

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

3 red and green bell peppers, sliced

Italian Rolls or Gonnella Bread if your in Chicago


Mix garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.

Rub mixture into beef.

Massage it thoroughly. Like you're on a date.

Place the beef in a large plastic bag and add 1 cup of broth, wine and onion.

Let marinate in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Place roast in a roasting pan and pour the marinade over the roast.

Add the remaining broth and water.

Roast with no lid for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours turning once within that time.

You want the roast around medium. It will cook the rest of the way in the juice.

Remove roast and let stand till cool.

Reserve juice.

Slice beef thin on a meat slicer.

If you don't have a slicer, get one. You'll use it for a lot more things than roast beef.

Place beef in juice.

Cut peppers into slices and sauté in oil until done.

Slice your rolls and pile on that juicy beef.

Add sweet peppers or hot giardiniera and eat.

Don't forget those napkins.

In the summer, try this recipe on a grill. Oh my goodness!