Ditka’s Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe

Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger

Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger

I am a huge fan of Deli’s and the fine items the sell.  I have always been enamored with what few well cured cold cuts can elevate the pedestrian status of a sandwich.  I am going to share with you a sandwich that truly has to be tried to be appreciated.  It is messy, it is addicting, and you will find yourself making this sandwich over and over again.

Important Notes:

  1. This takes time, 24 hours at the minimum.  A 5 pound rump roast is roasted, cooled, sliced (note the quick tip in the recipe), and then the whole sandwich is then dipped into the gravy.  This all adds the the flavor build up, yes it is worth it.
  2. The choice of roll is important.  Since the roll will inevitably be baptized in this glorious gravy it needs to be strong to stand up to the soaked meat.  When selecting your bread choice, go to the fresh bread section in your local grocery store and ask the purveyor to let you touch and feel the bread.  Ensure you are picking out a bread much like Roast Beef Po’ Boy you would find in New Orleans or a cheesesteak in the streets of Philadelphia.

Ditka’s Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe

Serves 4
Cook time 48 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Football Party
Region Italian


  • 5 Pounds rump roast (with lots of marbling)
  • 1 head garlic (plus 2 cloves minced and divided)
  • 1 Tablespoons kosher salt (plus 1 teaspoon divided)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper (plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Several sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 red bell peppers (cut into large, long chunks)
  • 2 green bell peppers (cut into large, long chunks)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 Large loaves fresh Italian bread
  • 1 cup jarred hot giardiniera


Step 1
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Step 2
Season the roast covering all sides with the head of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoons black pepper, dried oregano, fresh oregano, and red pepper flakes. Place the roast in at least a 6-quart roasting pan (like a Dutch oven). Pour 3-quarts of water into the pan (to the side, not directly over the roast.) Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the center of the roast registers 150 F on a meath thermometer.
Step 3
Allow the roast cool to room temperature.
Step 4
Remove the roast, wrap it in foil, and place it in a 9x13 pan (eliminates mess) and place in the fridge overnight. Pour the reserved broth through a fine mesh strainer into a separate food save container, cover with plastic wrap and place this in the fridge overnight.
Step 5
The day you wish to serve the meal (at least 24 hours), transfer the broth and any residual fat into a wide pot. Bring this to a gentle simmer over low heat. Cover and allow simmer for 30 more minutes to allow the flavor to fully develop.
Step 6
While the broth is coming to temp, make your peppers. Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Coat the bell peppers with olive oil and remaining 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for at least 30 minutes, or until they become tender.
Step 7
Now to the roast. Trim any excess fat off the roast, cut across the grain into thin slices. Using an electric knife makes this step considerably easier. Add this sliced beef to the simmering stock and allow to cook for 20 minutes.
Step 8
Cut the bread into 6-inch pieces. Cut each piece open from the side allow the other edge to remain attached. Stuff the bread with a healthy serving of beef. Top with the sweet peppers and a few spoonfuls of the hot giardiniera.
Step 9
Using long tongs, submerge each sandwich in the gravy for only a second. Let the excess liquid drop off and serve immediately.



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