Italian beef sandwiches originated in Chicago and consist of seasoned roast beef, provolone cheese, and giardiniera or roasted peppers, all on a crusty roll. The combination of slow-cooked, seasoned beef, melted cheese, and tangy giardiniera results in a flavorful and satisfying sandwich. Thankfully, you don’t have to go all the way to Chicago to enjoy these specialty sandwiches!
Italian beef sandwiches can easily be created in your crock pot using simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store. Chuck roast, a relatively inexpensive cut of beef that gets super tender, is mixed with beef broth, Italian seasoning, and Giardiniera and pepperoncini for a spicy and tangy kick of flavor when slow-cooked together.
Finish these hearty sandwiches by toasting hoagie rolls under the broiler with provolone cheese. Add the beef and onion mixture on top, and you've got a satisfying sandwich that’s packed with juicy flavor, melty cheese, and crunchy bread. How can you go wrong? Make a batch for a family weeknight, or increase the ingredients and serve a large group of people for a party or special occasion!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- This Italian beef sandwich recipe uses a slow cooker, making the preparation straightforward and hands-off, allowing you to get on with your day while dinner cooks itself.
- The mix of Italian seasoning, garlic, pepperoncini peppers, and Giardiniera in this recipe creates a beef that is incredibly flavorful and savory.
- These sandwiches are perfect for any occasion, whether it's a casual weeknight dinner, a Sunday football game snack, or even a gathering with friends and family.
- This recipe uses chuck roast, which is a fatty cut of beef that is perfect for slow cooking as it absorbs all the flavors nicely.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
- White Onion - Provides a sweet, aromatic backdrop that infuses the beef with a depth of flavor while slow cooking.
- Beef Broth - Not only helps to keep the beef moist and tender but also adds savory richness to the overall dish.
- Chuck Roast - Chosen for its marbling and flavor, this cut of beef becomes incredibly tender and flavorful after slow cooking, making it perfect for shredding.
- Spices - Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning are the core seasonings that lend the roast its signature Italian flair, enhancing the overall flavor.
- Minced Garlic - Adds a punch of pungent flavor and aroma that complements the beef.
- Italian Dressing Mix - Adds a combination of tangy, savory, and herby flavors, further intensifying the Italian profile.
- Pepperoncini Peppers - Lend a mild heat and tangy flavor to the dish, balancing the richness of the beef.
- Giardiniera - An Italian relish of pickled vegetables, Giardiniera provides a crunch and tang that complements the tender beef and creates an excellent textural contrast.
- Sliced Hoagie Rolls - These rolls hold up well to the juicy beef and provide the perfect canvas for building your sandwich.
- Sliced Provolone Cheese - Melted over the hot beef, the provolone adds a creamy, slightly tangy component that perfectly ties together all the flavors and textures.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN BEEF SANDWICHES IN THE CROCK POT
- Add sliced onion to the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker and pour beef broth over the top. Season both sides of the roast with salt and pepper. Place roast on top of the onions.
- Sprinkle garlic, Italian salad dressing mix, Italian seasoning, pepperoncini pepper slices, and Italian mix Giardiniera over the top.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
- Remove beef and shred with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Mix until combined and continue to cook for thirty minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350℉. Open your hoagie rolls, put two pieces of cheese in them, and then place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Garnish with extra Italian mix Giardiniera, and enjoy!
- Opt for a well-marbled chuck roast for the best flavor and texture; the slow cooking process will break down the connective tissue, resulting in tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef.
- Trim off any large pieces of fat from the beef before cooking to prevent the dish from becoming overly greasy.
- Start by placing the onions at the bottom of the slow cooker; this allows them to caramelize slightly, adding an extra layer of flavor to the broth.
- For the most tender beef, opt for cooking on the low setting of your slow cooker; although it takes a bit longer, the result is worth the wait.
- Use two forks to shred the beef while it's still warm; it's not only easier but also allows the beef to soak up more of the tasty juices.
- Lightly toasting the hoagie rolls in the oven before assembling the sandwiches helps them hold up better to the juicy, flavorful beef and melted cheese.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of giardiniera or pepperoncini peppers based on your preference for heat and tanginess; remember, this sandwich is all about balancing the rich, savory beef with the sharp, vibrant toppings.
STORING & FREEZING
Storing: After cooling, store any leftover Italian beef in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The sandwich components should be stored separately to avoid the bread getting soggy. When ready to eat, reheat the beef gently in a pan over medium heat or in the microwave until heated through.
Freezing: The cooked and cooled beef can be frozen for future use. Place the shredded beef in a freezer-safe container or bag, making sure to include some of the cooking juices to keep the meat moist during reheating. The beef can be frozen for up to 3 months. To use, defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat until hot before assembling the sandwiches.
Yes, the beef can be slow-cooked on high to save time. However, cooking it on low for a longer period results in more tender beef, as the slow and low heat breaks down the tough connective tissue better.
If you don't have Italian dressing mix, you can make a simple version at home. Combine 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and sugar, 2 teaspoons each of dried oregano and dried basil, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and dried thyme.
These Italian beef sandwiches are hearty on their own, but for a complete meal, consider serving them with a simple side salad, a helping of coleslaw, or some classic potato chips.
Yes, you can use fresh peppers, but keep in mind that jarred pepperoncini are pickled, giving them a unique tangy flavor. If you're using fresh peppers, consider adding a splash of vinegar to mimic that tanginess.
Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches
Your Favorite Slow Cooker
For The Beef
For the Hoagies
- 8 sliced hoagies
- 16 provolone slices
Add sliced onion to the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker and pour beef broth over the top. Season both sides of the roast with salt and pepper. Place roast on top of the onions.
Sprinkle garlic, Italian salad dressing mix, Italian seasoning, pepperoncini pepper slices, and Italian mix Giardiniera over the top.
Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
Remove beef and shred with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Mix until combined and continue to cook for thirty minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350℉. Open your hoagie rolls, put two pieces of cheese in them, and then place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Garnish with extra Italian mix Giardiniera, and enjoy!
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