The iconic Italian Beef Sandwich is found on the South Side of Chicago where the Italian roots are strong. This sandwich is incredibly flavorful and it is as messy as it gets with the Au Jus dipping (it’s where all of the flavor is at). It can be found throughout Chicago and what separates them are the different variations of  Giardiniera, a topping for each Italian Beef Sandwich.

If you’re planning on hosting for friends or family and you have some time set aside then this recipe is perfect! It is cost efficient and the only downside is the time it takes to make, about 6 hours total for the best results. italian beef in a dutch oven

At this point you may be thinking in your head, “what is Giardiniera”? Well, let me help you with that. It is a condiment of pickled hot pickles, Serrano peppers, celery, green olives and spices in a jar of oil. All of the places that make this have their own variations, I haven’t had a bad one yet! The one I recommend is Caruso’s, it’s a family owned business with an amazing flavorful recipe.


The original Chicago Italian Beef recipe takes multiple days to prepare, this includes making the Giardiniera. But for this recipe, I will be using store bought, most people would never know the difference.

Now that the most time consuming part of the recipe is taken care of, the time to make this succulent sandwich is about 6 hours. It all starts with chuck roast as the main protein.

Chuck Roast is perfect for this recipe because it will tenderize the way you want and have good flavor for the sandwiches. Start off by applying hot sauce as a binder and slather the whole chuck roast and then season with your favorite beef rub. Season the meat generously and let it sit for 45 minutes in room temperature conditions.

While the protein is sitting with the seasoning on it, set the smoker up to smoke at 250 degrees F. Once the temperature sets add a few chunks of apple wood chunks for an extra bonus smokey note. Add the chuck roast and smoke for 3-4 hours, spritz with apple cider vinegar every 45 minutes. We want to smoke the meat to add a bark on the exterior surface, this is all about flavor and texture.

With about thirty minutes left before removing the roast off the smoker prepare all of your ingredients for the dutch oven. Chopped onion, minced garlic, banana peppers (with some of the juice out of the jar), bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, beef broth (add about 1/2-1 cup of water if necessary)  and Italian seasoning. Add all of these ingredients into the dutch oven and remove the roast from the smoker, placing it on top of these ingredients in the dutch oven.

cooking the chuck roast in a dutch oven

Place the dutch oven back on the smoker and let it cook for about 2-3 hours. There is no exact time for this, what we do is stick the roast with a meat probe and when it is super tender and slides in and out without resistance it is time to remove it from the dutch oven. Place in an aluminum pan (separate from the liquids) and cover with foil. Let it rest for about 45 minutes.

Get a strainer and place it in a medium sized bowl. Pour the liquid from the dutch oven to separate all of the solids from the liquid. This is your Au Jus dipping juice for the sandwiches. Keep this warm with a sauce pot on low medium heat. Shred the chuck roast and then toast the bread. shredded chuck roast

Time to assemble to experience all of the labor with that first bite! Add the sauce (mayo, garlic paste and hot sauce) on the bottom bun, load the shredded beef and then top with the Giardiniera and then dip your sandwich into the Au Jus dipping sauce! Close your eyes and allow your brain to process what your taste buds just experienced!

vegetables in a bowl

The Best Italian Beef Sandwiches

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4


  • 1 4 pound chuck roast
  • Hot sauce as a binder
  • 2-3 tablespoons of favorite beef rub
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup banana peppers 1/3 cup of juice from jar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 pack French bread
  • 1 jar Giardiniera

Spread Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce


  • Start off by applying hot sauce as a binder on the chuck roast, now season generously on all sides.
  • Fire up the smoker at 250 degrees F. Add some apple wood chunks. Place the chuck roast on the smoker, spritz every 45 minutes and remove when the roast has a nice mahogany bark developed, about 3-4 hours.
  • Prior to removing the roast, add all of these ingredients into a dutch oven: Chopped onion ,minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme, banana peppers (with the juice from the jar), Italian seasoning, beef broth and water. Place the roast on top of these ingredients and put it back on the smoker for 2-3 hours, keeping the temperature at 250-275 degrees F.
  • Remove once the roast is probe tender and place in an aluminum pan covered with foil for 45 minutes. Strain the liquid from the solids. Shred the beef.
  • Toast the buns and build the sandwich: Sandwich sauce spread, loaded shredded beef, the Giardiniera and then dip in the Au Jus dipping sauce!
  • Enjoy with family and friends!


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When I first tried this sandwich, I was blown away by the combination of flavors and the messy goodness of dipping it in the Au Jus. And what sets each sandwich apart is the different variations of Giardiniera used as a topping. So, I set out to create my own version of this sandwich, and I am excited to share this recipe with you.

While the recipe may take some time to prepare, it is cost-efficient and the results are worth the effort. To make this sandwich, I start by selecting the perfect cut of meat: chuck roast. It’s the perfect protein for this recipe because it will tenderize just the way you want it and have the right amount of flavor for the sandwiches.holding the italian beef sandwich

So, if you’re a fan of bold flavors and hearty sandwiches, the Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich is a must-try. With its unique combination of ingredients and messy goodness, it is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. So, gather your ingredients, fire up the smoker, and get ready for a journey that you won’t forget. Whether you’re hosting friends and family or  looking to eat a delicious sandwich, this recipe is perfect for any occasion. So, take your time and enjoy the process of creating this iconic dish, because the end result will be worth it. Bite into that sandwich, savor the flavors, and know that you’ve created something special.



Items used in This Recipe

Hasty-Bake Grill

Knitted Gloves

Food Processor

Cast Iron Skillet 

Meater +

Charcoal Chimney

Charcoal Starters

Firestarter Guard

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