Have you ever eaten at Al's Italian Beef in Chicago? No? Oh my goodness. It's quite possibly the best sandwich in the world. Granted, I've never had one sober, but a million food shows on television making this same claim can't be wrong right? Every time I've eaten an Al's Beef, I'm coming straight from a concert. One too many beers in and hungry to soak up the excess alcohol, I excitedly stumble or take a cab (whichever one gets me an Italian Beef sandwich in my belly the fastest) to Al's. The last time I ate one was after a Prince concert, September 25, 2012. That was a long time ago. So long ago, that I decided to make my own. Now, mind you...you will NEVER, I mean NEVER, EVER make an Italian Beef as good as Al's. So don't get your panties in a wad if it doesn't taste exactly the same, because I promise it won't. But it will fill the void until you get your ass back to Chicago...when in the hell will I be in Chicago again...
Here's What You Do:
Break out your crock pot. Unless you have a deli meat slicer, which I do not, you'll never be able to slice your beef as thin as Al's. So the closest thing to do is make fall apart beef. Get a good ol' piece of chuck roast. Season it GENEROUSLY (now is not the time to worry about your salt intake) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano and crushed red pepper. Place your beef in your crock pot and add in about 4 cups of beef broth. And THEN throw in a few beef bouillon cubes. If you have them on hand, add in some celery stalks, onions and carrots. The more flavor, the better. Cook your beef on low or high (your choice...I did high. The faster I was eating, the better) until it is fall apart tender. I believe mine took about 4 hours. Once your beef is ready, get a hoagie ready to fill with the meat (unfortunately, Memphis doesn't have a good bakery anywhere that I know of, so I had to go with Italian bread...hint, hint....if you're a baker, move to Memphis. You'll make a killin'). Top your bread with beef and hot giardiniera (you can find this in your grocery store next to the olives). Then dip the entire sandwich in the beef broth and try to eat it without it dripping down your arms. Oh wait, that's never going to happen. So just enjoy, then take a shower!
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