Slow-cooked Italian beef

It’s not the industrially thin-sliced Italian beef you’ll find in Chicagoland, but this slow-cooked version is easier to achieve at home, and it will fill a crusty roll with the same drippy, meaty deliciousness of your classic Chicago hot sandwich. Feeding a crowd doesn’t get much easier than this giant pot of shredded beef with a mountain of crusty rolls.

Ingredients

  • 4 pound boneless beef roast (shoulder aka cross rib, chuck, or rump roast aka bottom round)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jar peperoncini peppers (10 to 16 ounces, depending on if you want mild or spicy), juice reserved, stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes (or 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon beef soup base)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 3 drops hot pepper sauce, or to taste (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Trim any large pieces of fat from the beef, if needed. Place beef and onion in a roaster or slow cooker with a tight-fitting lid (you don’t need to cut it except as needed to fit into your cooking vessel).
  2. In a blender, combine the peperoncini peppers (stems removed), garlic, bouillon, oregano, basil, thyme, Worcestershire sauce. Measure the peperoncini juice from the jar and add enough water to make 2 cups. Add liquid to blender and mix.
  3. Pour pureed mixture over beef and onions. Cover tightly and cook (low setting in slow cooker for 8-10 hours, or 275 degree F oven for at least 6 hours). Meat should fall apart easily when poked by a fork. If it’s still firm, it needs to cook longer.
  4. Use a spoon to skim fat from the surface (the fat is clear; the meat juices are opaque). Use two forks to shred meat. Serve meat over crusty rolls, with juice.

Serves 8-10.

Notes

  • If you have an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, you can slay this thing in an hour or so. Set on high pressure for 35-45 minutes. If meat is not yet fork-tender, cook again on high for 15 minutes.
  • Herb substitution: 3 tablespoons of Italian herb seasoning in place of the oregano, basil and thyme.
  • Depending on the size of your cooker, you can easily double or triple the recipe. My sister-in-law has an 18-quart electric roaster and regularly quadruples the recipe for big gatherings.
  • For a true Chicago sandwich, buy or make the vinegary pickled vegetables known as giardiniera to pile on top.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.