Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Italian beef sandwiches are a way of life, a religion even, in the Chicago area. While I didn't grow up there, I spent my entire adult life there until moving to Nashville and let me tell you, Italian beef sandwiches are some serious business. I am not claiming these to be authentic by any means, but they fill a void in our hearts and stomachs since we left the Windy City over 4 years ago. The main difference between these sandwiches and one you would get at say Portillo's is that this beef is shredded versus thinly sliced. They're also a lot less labor intensive.
I love these for so many reasons, but they are such a great option when you have a lot of mouths to feed. It requires literally no cooking on your part. Throw it all in the crockpot and 6-8 hours later, you have delicious, hearty, and fulfilling sandwiches for a crowd. This also makes them an awesome option for busy weeknights. It's the holiday season right now and it is unbelievable how jam packed our days get during this time of year. Having a warm and comforting meal waiting for you on the counter after a long day is something we all can appreciate.
We like to top ours with giardinara and some extra of the au jus from the crockpot, but feel free to top it with whatever you like. Raw or sauteed onions and peppers or jalapeños would be great. Sometimes I like to melt a little provolone or mozzarella over top too. No matter how you top it, you're going to be so happy once you sink your teeth into one of these sammies. Just make sure you have some extra napkins on hand!
Slo(w) Cooker Italian Beef Sammies ~ Makes 10-12 small sandwiches; 5-6 large sandwiches Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 6-8 hours
Click below to download and print the recipe
I recommend reading the recipe all the way through, including the recipe notes at the bottom, before you start cooking.
3lb. beef pot roast or round roast
1 packet Good Seasonings garlic & herb seasoning
4 C. beef broth (low sodium is best)
1 16oz. jar of pepperoncini
1/2 an onion thinly sliced (optional)
3-5 garlic cloves (optional)
Baguette or your favorite sandwich roll (Turano is best if you can find it)
Cut the beef into 3-4 smaller pieces (this helps the meat cook better and get more tender)
In a crockpot/slow cooker, add the beef, garlic & herb seasoning packet, beef broth, pepperoncinis (including liquid), and onion and garlic if using. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Turn to high and cook for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender and easily shredded. Cook time may be slightly more or less depending on your appliance. If it going to be cooked unattended for more than 8 hours, set the cooker to low.
Transfer meat to a high-sided dish and shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks. Ladle the jus (broth) from the crock pot over the shredded meat to keep it warm and moist.
To assemble sandwiches, use tongs to fill a toasted baguette or roll with the desired amount of meat. Spoon extra jus over the meat if you wish. Top with any desired accoutrements like giardinara, peppers, onions, cheese, etc.
Serve with lots of napkins and enjoy!
*Recipe notes + Variations*
You can make as much of the beef as you want that will fit in your crockpot. You may need to add more broth or water so there is enough liquid.
I like the cut my baguette into 3-4" pieces. It makes for a more manageable sandwich size that also can stretch to feed more people. Really hungry people can have 2 while others may just want 1.
I have never made this stovetop or in the oven. I think it would take too long on the stove to get the tenderness you want for the meat, but cooking low and slow in the oven should work if you do not have a crockpot.