PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES | COOK TIME: 10 HOURS | SERVINGS: 6 LARGE SANDWICHES (6-12 SERVINGS)
If you are looking for the best party or holiday food, then you should try this Italian Beef Sandwich very soon! It’s incredibly easy to make, perfect to make ahead, and freaking delicious!
12 thin slices of provolone cheese or 6 regular
6 hoagie rolls
1 16-ounces jar mild pepperoncini peppers/sliced pepper rings
jarred roasted red peppers patted dry, optional
SLOW COOKER ITALIAN BEEF:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3-5 pounds beef chuck roast trimmed of excess fat
1 c. Coke (Not diet)
1 14.5-ounces can low sodium beef broth
3 tbsp dried minced onions
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp beef bouillon
1/3 c. pepperoncini juice (from pepperoncini jar)
2 teaspoons EACH dried oregano, dried basil, dried parsley, garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon EACH salt, pepper, dried thyme
HOW TO MAKE CROCKPOT ITALIAN BEEF SANDWICHES
Step 1: In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the meat to the skillet using tongs and sear until brown on all sides. When done, transfer the browned meat to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker along with the rest of the roast ingredients. Give the ingredients a good stir.
Step 2: Put the lid on and set to cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours until the roast is very tender.
Step 3: Shred the roast and discard the excess fat. Cook further on low to give the roast time to absorb some of the juices. This takes another 30 minutes.
Step 4: In the meantime, prepare the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F.
Step 5: Now, split the rolls, then place them on a large baking tray cut-side-up. Place in the preheated oven and toast the buns for about 5 minutes.
Step 6: Pile the bottom side of buns with meat using tongs. Top with your favourite toppings such as pepperoncini, roasted bell peppers, giardiniera, etc., then cheese. Fold thinly sliced cheese in half and use two slices for every hoagie or one slice of a traditional slice of cheese per hoagie. To fit the shape of the bun, slice each piece in half.
Step 7: Place the baking tray back in the oven (top and bottoms cut-side-up) and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted. When done, remove from the oven and serve right away with the rest of the liquid for dipping. Enjoy!
You can dip the sandwiches in the juice if desired. First, separate the fat from the jus. To do this, you can pour the juices into a fat separator with a spout or use a freezer bag.
To separate the fat using a freezer bag:
Let the juices cool for a bit, then add to a freezer bag. Leave the fat to float atop. Make sure to seal the bag, then hold it over a bowl one bottom corner tip facing down a measuring cup like a spout. Snip the corner so the liquid flows through the bag without the fat.
Place the cooked Italian beef with some of the slow cooker juice in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve it right from the fridge once ready to consume.
TO MAKE THE ITALIAN BEEF IN ADVANCE:
Start by cooking the Italian beef until tender. DO NOT SHRED. Take the ceramic insert from the slow cooker and allow it to come to room temperature. Place the beef with the juices in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Before heating, skim all the hardened fat and cook in the slow cooker for 1 to 2 hours on low until warmed through. When the beef is ready, shred it and allow the meat to soak in the juices for at least 30 minutes, then resume with the recipe.
Tip: To prevent the beef from drying out, do not forget to save some of the slow cooker liquid.
You can reheat in the crockpot by adding some of the jus and heating the beef for 1 to 2 hours on low. You can also place the Italian beef into a Dutch oven with some jus and heat while stirring often over medium heat into warmed through. Or you can pop small servings into a microwave for 60 seconds. Stir, then microwave in 30-second intervals.
Allow the beef to cool completely before placing it into an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag along with some of the juices. To prevent freezer burn, do not forget to squeeze out any excess air. Put a label on the bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the slow cooker, microwave, or stove.