What a Crock: Italian Beef

The Rundown I'm guessing a certain Houston Press writer might enjoy making this recipe. I too became a fan of the classic sandwich on a recent visit to Chicago. The rump roast is a perfect cut of meat for the crock pot. I found a recipe that got great reviews from about a thousand people, and gave it a whirl. Would it be just as good as the real thing?

The Taste It turned out great. I won't say it was better than Al's in Chicago, but for a home version, this Italian Beef can't be beat. I ended up playing with the recipe just a bit. I added an extra cup of water to help with submerging the meat, along with a packet of au jus. I figured that wouldn't hurt things, and I was correct. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender (I actually witnessed it fall off the bone). It was very flavorful, and a 6-pound rump roast yielded enough meat for several sandwiches. I served it on some French bread with provolone cheese, onions and peppers. Look at that cheese! Just look at it!

The Ease This was easy, but somewhat time-consuming. I recommend waking up in the morning ten minutes earlier than usual. It takes about that long to throw the meat in the pot and add the mixture of seasonings. It says to cook on low for 10-12 hours. Nope. I say put that bad boy on for eight hours and you're good. When you get home, move the meat from the crock pot to a large bowl, strain the juice, and reserve it in another bowl. Wait about 30 minutes to let the meat cool down. Begin pulling the meat from the fat and drop in the au jus. Let sit in the juice for a little bit and begin preparing your sandwich with the cheese, onions, and peppers. Heat your oven to 450 degrees. Take the meat out of the juice, place on sandwich, tightly wrap the sandwich in foil, and place in the oven for five minutes. Serve with some juice. Enjoy.

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Kevin Shalin
Contact: Kevin Shalin