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Chicago Style Food Done The Way They Make It In Chicago!

Chicago Style Food Done The Way They Make It In Chicago!

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LINDY'S CHILI, since 1942 and GERTIE'S PREMIUM ICE CREAM, since 1901! Both the oldest names in their class, and well written about in all the major Chicago publications.

Morris Illinois location has 'certified' Black Angus burgers, handcut fries, homemade pork tenderloin, Vienna hot dogs, Maxwell Street polish, Italian beef and sausage, grilled chicken, huge salads, the BEST chili in the country along with a large menu of other items to choose from. Best part of all is the prices are very, very family friendly. The ice cream is 17% butterfat, as high as you can go without getting a film in your mouth, smooth and creamy with a large array of toppings.

How to Make Chicago-Style Italian Beef at Home

When I moved to Chicago, I wasted little time before devouring all of its iconic dishes. I mean, isn't that what civic pride is all about? My wife and I manhandled a deep dish pizza at Uno's, waited in line for a Chicago-style hot dog at Hot Doug's, and bellied up to the counter for our very first Italian beef at Al's #1 Italian Beef. It didn't take long to figure out that these dishes had one obvious similar trait. Besides embodying a, how shall I say, generous Chicago spirit, they all were spectacularly messy. Condiments crumbled into our laps, cheese stretched for feet, and shirts inevitably picked up stains.

While none of these iconic dishes are even remotely polite, there's no doubt which one required the tallest stack of napkins. That honor went to the Italian beef, one of the most unwieldy sandwiches ever created by man. At first glance it looks like the less dignified cousin of the French dip, but instead of coming with a nice little side of jus for you to wet the sandwich's ends with, this bad boy is saturated from the start. Ask for it "dipped" and the whole sandwich is dunked in meaty juices, soaking the bread to the core. I know this sounds insane, and if you're talking about the mess, you're absolutely right. There's no respectable way to eat one of these. All you can hope to do is contain the chaos.

The shock of eating one of these for the first time is genuine, but great sandwiches are not built on blunt tricks alone. The true power of the Italian beef is how it takes one of the leanest, toughest, and least flavorful parts of the cow, the lean and boring round, and transforms it into something so unhinged and supremely beefy. If you're looking to try one of these for yourself, it's hard to go wrong with offerings at Al's #1 Italian, Johnnie's Beef, or, my most recent find, Bari. But what if you don't live in the Chicagoland area or just want to make one at home?

What Is an Italian Beef?

First we need to nail down what this beast of a sandwich is, because it's slightly more confusing than it first appears. I've always thought of the sandwich as a spruced up roast beef sandwich, but that's not quite the case. Watch this behind the scenes video at Al's #1 Italian Beef and you'll see they start with an enormous hunk of beef roasted with a fair amount of liquid. You'd think that would make this a braised dish, much like a roast beef po' boy, but that's not quite true, either. The beef isn't cooked to the point where it falls apart like a pot roast. Instead, the roast is cut very thin, and these slices maintain some of their integrity.

Though the sandwich is a bit tricky to define, making one looks simple enough: roast a big hunk of meat with water and seasonings, thinly slice the meat, combine the slices with the the flavorful leftover liquid from cooking, and then serve it all on rolls. This is basically what I did a few years ago when I followed the very good recipe from Saveur. Yet I couldn't help but feel like something was missing from the finished sandwich. While solid, it never quite crossed the line into pure mayhem like the best Italian beefs.

Beefing Up the Jus

While it's almost always referred to as being served au jus, the liquid used with an Italian beef is actually more of a broth. In the strictest sense, the jus only refers to the juices released from the meat. While a vat of this elixir would be pure heaven, a single roast would never release enough natural juices necessary for the sandwich (remember: this thing needs to be dunked). To come anywhere close, you'd have to cook an epic amount of meat solely for the juices, turning what should be a humble dish into an insanely expensive project. Simply pouring water into the roasting pan helps with volume but is nowhere near as potent.

The breakthrough came from James Peterson's What's a Cook To Do?, which honestly has a section titled, "How to get more jus from roast meats." Lucky me!

Peterson's solution is to add inexpensive, flavor-packed stew meat and bones to the pan underneath the roast. It's a method that Kenji uses with his prime rib recipe to produce extra red wine jus. Since these scraps are used solely to deepen the flavor of the liquid, they can be cooked longer to release more of their juices. The stew meat is also cut into strips and cooked until well browned.

What kind of beef should you use for this? There are a number options, so try to find what is cheapest for you. For me, that was beef neck, which, at my market at least, had an even ratio of meat to bones. Of course, this means you'll need to cut the meat off the bones, but that's pretty easy. The rest of my mix was made of oxtails, which are slightly more expensive but add loads of body. Beef shin is also a great option if you can find it.

The only further additions were some aromatics and a few spices, like clove and black pepper, to give it some personality. Simmer everything for about four hours and that's it.

The additional beef scraps accomplished everything I wanted in the liquid, making it richer and more savory. The only problem, oddly enough, was with the roast.

The Roast

I thought the roast would be the easy part. Almost every source I found online called for using a hunk of round, which comes from the very back of the cow. Sure, it's tough and lean, but it's cheap, and using anything else would kind of go against everything this sandwich is about. All I thought I needed to do was mimic what they do at Al's: roast it with some liquid, let it cool, and then cut it into thin slices. While this sort of worked, the beef was never quite as tender as I wanted it to be.

The problem? Equipment. Walk to the end of the counter at the original Al's #1 Italian Beef on Taylor and peek into the kitchen. There you'll see a meat slicer that's about the size of a fridge. This hulking machine is what allows Al's #1 to get its beef so thin, almost to the point where the slightest touch breaks each sheet apart. At home, I have to rely on my knives for slicing, and even the best cook in the world will never match an electric slicer for even, thin slices.

On one hand finding out about the slicer was great news—this is how to make the meat so tender!—but it left one enormous problem: I don't have an enormous meat slicer at home. So where to go from here?

A number of recipes online recommend a solution to this problem: cooking the beef until it falls apart like a pot roast. This can be utterly delicious, but it's not, strictly speaking, an Italian beef, and I'm going for authenticity here.

No, I just needed to figure out a way to slice the meat more thinly. One method for achieving this is to let the roast cool, and then transfer it to the freezer for an hour or two to firm it up. This does make it slightly easier to cut those paper-thin slices, but no matter how carefully I carved, I could never get the slices as uniformly thin as they needed to be. I worried that this was the end of the line—that I'd have to give up trying to come up with an accurate Italian beef recipe and settle for one that was close. But what's the fun in that?

Giving Up the Roast

I'd always assumed an Italian beef was just a glorified roast beef sandwich, and that the best version would follow the same logic: cook until medium-rare and slice thin. But there is one peculiar aspect of the Italian beef that sets it apart. After it's cooked and sliced, the meat is mixed with the warm jus. This essentially continues to the cooking process, so even if I did cook the beef to a spot-on 125°F, those slices would eventually have to take a bath in liquid held at a higher temperature, around 140°F.

So if the meat is being cooked by the jus anyway, why did I need to roast the meat in the first place? I could make of batch of the jus using scraps and bones, find a butcher to thinly slice uncooked beef for me—thereby solving the thinness problem—and simply add the beef to the jus, cook for a few minutes, and I'd be done. What a genius idea!

Not exactly. When I tested the idea with some meat that I sliced as thinly as possible, the slices were even tougher than before. Plus, the raw meat clouded the liquid, casting it an unappetizing grey. A quick chat with Kenji confirmed that this idea had some serious logistical issues, namely that with thin raw slices of beef, proteins and other contaminants leak out too quickly into the jus, turning it cloudy and robbing the beef of flavor. Not only that, but I'd have to cook the slices in the liquid for a long time for them to become tender. Besides, it was doubtful I'd ever be able to convince some knife wielding butcher to dirty his or her deli slicer with raw meat.

"But what about using good quality roast beef?" Kenji wrote.

Beef that has been par-cooked through roasting already has its proteins set, meaning they won't leak out into the jus. The idea of using homogenous grey lunch meat didn't sound appealing, but what about delis that roast their own beef? I knew Whole Foods had nice looking roast beef reading for slicing in its deli section. I just made sure to ask for it to be sliced as thinly as possible.

Taking the Plunge

Now all I had to do was combine the sliced beef and the jus. You could just warm the jus on the stove, swirl in the meat, and you'd probably be okay. But I wanted to get an exact temperature. I started the test at 130°F and tried 10 degree increments up to 170°F. The meat was added and left at each temperature for about 30 seconds.

130°F was too low. The texture wasn't quite right, the slices were a bit bouncy, and each still had a light red hue, which I'd never encountered with an Italian beef. There was a big change at 140°F—the meat was far more tender and lost the red tint. At 150°F, the meat was still tender but was starting to look grainier. By 160°F, the slices started to curl and dry out, which meant that at 170°F they started to look truly disheveled. 140°F it is.

The Rolls

Most Italian beefs in Chicago are served on Turano or Gonnella French rolls, which I've always found a bit underwhelming, especially compared to the fresh and flaky rolls often used for New Orleans po' boys or Philadelphia cheesesteaks. But after a few tests, I realized why these rolls are used. The French rolls remain sound and strong after being dipped, unlike extra flaky rolls, which may turn mushy and soft.

While you can use any hearty French roll straight out of the packaging, I found them a little more pleasing if warmed in the oven for a bit. I just simply wrapped them in aluminum foil so the exterior wouldn't crisp up too much.

Hot and Sweet

Italian beefs are topped with "hot" and/or "sweet peppers," which is code for giardiniera and roasted green peppers. You can make giardiniera at home, but that was one step too many for me, especially since I still had a fridge full of options while taste testing the best versions in Chicago. As for the green peppers, they just need to be roasted in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, then peeled, stemmed, seeded, and sliced.

To Dip or Not to Dip

After loading up your sandwich with beef and topping it with sweet and hot peppers, your last decision is whether you want the whole sandwich dunked. It'll taste great regardless, but I'd like to give you the hard sell to make the plunge. It's the final flourish to the already ridiculous sandwich, and while it leaves your hands messy, it's well worth the mess.

While I admit it sort of felt like cheating to give up the initial step of cooking the beef myself, it's hard to argue with the end results. Finally, a homemade Italian beef that you can make anywhere that actually tastes like the best versions in Chicago.


  • Real Deep Dish
  • December 7, 2020 January 18, 2021

*UPDATE* The Deep Dish Pizza Saves Lives fundraiser has ended. YOU SNOOZE/YOU LOSE! Sorry, you missed out on this tee, but if there&rsquos enough interest, I may release a new one in the future. Keep a look out for the upcoming &ldquoChicago Thin Crust&rdquo limited edition tee. Coming as soon as I finalize the design. If you missed out on&hellip Read More » The DEEP DISH PIZZA SAVES LIVES Tee Shirt Fundraiser

Benefits of the Chicago Manual of Style

Joe should appreciate Chicago&rsquos completeness though Chicago often has information that isn&rsquot in other stylebooks. For example, in his question, Joe shortened the name of the book to Chicago instead of calling it The Chicago Manual of Style. As I was writing this article, I needed to know how to format a shortened book title. That information wasn&rsquot in the AP Stylebook, but it was in Chicago. (I learned that you treat a shortened title just as you would a regular title&mdashyou italicize it, or in the case of Grammar Girl style, it is just captialized because that is how we treat the titles of reference works).

It turned out that the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers also had a section on shortened book titles, so in this case I could have looked there next and found the answer, but often I just jump to Chicago because it&rsquos so complete I know the answer will always be there.

Another example of something I could find only in Chicago is how to handle punctuation in bulleted or numbered lists. I couldn't quickly find anything on this subject in MLA or AP, but it is covered in Chicago.

These types of questions might seem arcane, but for me they come up every day, and I imagine that they would come up at least occasionally for other writers, including undergraduates.

Ordering Information

  1. Can I change my order?
    • If you need to change your order please email us at [email protected] or call our Shipping Hotline at 800-982-1756 (Monday – Friday 8 am-3 pm CST) at a minimum of 3 days prior to your delivery date. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate any changes after your order has shipped.
  2. Can I send a package as a gift? Can I include a gift message?
    • Yes! An optional gift message can be included on the packing slip when they receive the pizzas. No pricing information will be visible to your gift recipient.

Depending on the address where the Giordano’s pizzas will be delivered and the timeline of your requested delivery date, the shipping options outlined below may not be available when placing your order. In all cases, the Giordano’s website will confirm the availability of your requested delivery date and will offer other shipping options if needed. For all shipments, we encourage you to use the carrier tracking number supplied to you when your order is confirmed to verify the status of your shipment and actual delivery date.


Ground Delivery – Business · This option is included in the price for all pizza packages. Deliveries to business addresses may be executed Wednesday through Friday only. Depending on the destination address, Tuesday delivery may be available via overnight shipping options.

Home Delivery – Home · This option is included in the price for all pizza packages. Residential deliveries may be executed Wednesday through Friday. Depending on the destination address, Tuesday or Saturday delivery may be available via overnight shipping options.


2 Day Express – Additional Cost May Apply · This option applies to business as well as residential addresses. Deliveries may be executed Wednesday through Friday only.

Next Day Standard Overnight – Additional Cost · This option is available for shipments to business as well as residential addresses. Deliveries may be executed Tuesday through Saturday only for residential addresses and Tuesday through Friday for business addresses.

Next Day Priority Overnight – Additional Cost · This option is available for shipments to business as well as residential addresses. Deliveries may be executed Tuesday through Saturday only for residential addresses and Tuesday through Friday for business addresses.

What’s the Best Pan for Homemade Deep-Dish Pizza?

There are specific deep-dish pizza pans, but you won’t need one. This recipe is geared to work in a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch sides. You could also use a 9-inch spring form pan, or a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron pan. You can serve the pizza right from the pan or lift the whole pie out for a dramatic presentation. Let it cool for about 10 minutes so the sauce settles and then run a knife around the circumference of the pan. Carefully slide a wide, thin spatula under the dough to lift it out of the pan in one piece.

Chicago Style Food Done The Way They Make It In Chicago! - Recipes

Traditional European Style and Flavours

Superior Quality, Flavour, Texture and Bite

Unchanged Family Recipes since 1923

About Us

Chicago 58 Foods is a proud Canadian Company founded in 1923. We are currently into the third generation of this family operation.

Our founder David Bernholtz was Old World trained. At the tender age of twelve, he left home and began apprenticing as a true &ldquoWurstenmaccher&rdquo (sausage maker) in Warsaw, Poland. He left Poland at age twenty-three fully skilled and looking for a new start in Canada.

The Skills and ingredient lists have been handed down from generation to generation and are still in use today. We have provided the finest quality deli meats to the food industry for over eighty-five years. We continue to keep up with modern manufacturing and safety standards. All our deli products are federally inspected and H.A.A.C.P. certified. Our products can be found across Canada in delis and major retail chains and include products that are Gluten Free, Calorie Reduced, and Low Sodium. And most importantly, they taste great.

Today we are continuing to identify customer needs. The quality and variety of our products have expanded with the same care and attention to detail. Convenience and consistency provides our customers with the competitive edge needed in today&rsquos changing market place.

The new generation of this family business expects to continue to supply quality deli products.

Of course, no out-of-towner's trip to Chicago is complete without deep-dish pizza, and we were happy to report that Rosenthal selected Pequod's for the occasion. After sampling three pies lined with golden, caramelized cheese, he exclaims "Man overboard!" Which is exactly how we feel every time we eat deep dish, too.

Rosenthal then meets up with Erika Allen, the co-founder of Urban Growers Collective, which operates eight urban farms in Chicago that employ youth and feed communities. After learning about the organization, he boards the Fresh Moves Mobile Market to bring a portable farmers market to places that don't have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Monteverde Photograph: Jason Little

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

I recently looked at my website’s stats and came to find out that Chicago is my most popular city in the US. I have more Chicago readers than any other place in this country. That’s crazy awesome because I love Chicago. As a little tribute to my #1 city, I’m finishing one blow-out year with a Chicago inspired recipe.

I’ve only had the pleasure of having real, authentic Chicago-style pizza a few times. And those few times have been enough to convince me that Chicago-style pizza is incomparably good. Better than good.

So, what makes Chicago-style pizza so damn amazing? The answer is everything. Every little detail about this pizza is special. First, this pizza clearly doesn’t look like a pizza you are used to. It’s baked in a deep dish cake pan. The cheese goes directly on top of the crust and the sauce is piled on top. An upside-down pizza pie of sorts. Now, I may be completely wrong, but I’ve learned that the proper way to eat Chicago-style pizza is with a fork. Is this right, Chicago readers? I hope so because it’s the only way I can eat it without making an atrocious and very embarrassing mess.

Let’s talk about all the wonderful layers in this pizza.

The deep dish pizza crust. A crunchy-edged, flaky crust is key in Chicago-style pizza. It’s absolutely not a regular pizza crust. No, this crust is unique. And that’s why I steered completely away from my regular pizza crust recipe and dove headfirst into something completely nuts. Adding a little cornmeal. Cornmeal is what makes the crust so crunchy and flavorful. Not to mention, tasting like you’re eating the real deal.

What else is special about this pizza crust? It’s so buttery. The butteriest pizza crust on the planet, or at least the butteriest pizza crust I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. To get that ultra buttery flavor, as well as the iconic flaky texture of Chicago-style pizza crust, we’re going to laminate the pizza dough. Umm, what?? Yes. It sounds weird, I know. But laminating dough is exactly what gives croissants its flaky layers. Laminating, or layering, butter into dough is the answer an authentic tasting Chicago pizza crust.

This all sounds hard, doesn’t it? Good news, it’s not! Laminating is literally just spreading butter on your pizza dough and folding it up. Then, rolling the pizza dough out again locking that butter inside. Easy.

I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why… but despite being a little crunchy and very flaky, this pizza crust will absolutely melt in your mouth. It’s crunchy, buttery, and tender all at the same time? A miracle crust.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Let’s talk about the pizza sauce. Slightly sweet, incredibly thick, and wonderfully flavorful. The sauce is always my favorite part about Chicago-style pizza. In fact, I usually order extra sauce on the side. All about the condiments in my world.

This garlic infused pizza sauce is made on the stovetop and, while waiting for the pizza dough to rise, simmers quietly allowing the flavors to develop and the texture to thicken. I like to add some red pepper flakes for a little heat it really gives this sauce something extra. If you don’t like heat, you can leave it out. This sauce is unlike ANY other tomato sauce I’ve ever had. To me, it tastes like the kinds I’ve had in Chicago. You’re going to love it. Unless of course you don’t like tomato sauce.

Along with the miracle crust and this luscious pizza sauce, a whole lotta cheese goes into this deep dish pie. You may use sliced mozzarella or shredded. Whatever it is, slice or shred it yourself from a block of real mozzarella cheese. Pre-shredded mozzarella is just fine, but the taste of sliced or shredded fresh mozzarella is just unbeatable.

My husband loves a good pepperoni pizza and bacon is his favorite food, so I add both to my Chicago-style pizza. These go on top of the cheese and before the sauce. A little grated parmesan to finish things up and we’ve got ourselves one damn tasty copycat Chicago deep dish pizza. How many times can I type Chicago in one post?

I love you Chicago and your pizza too!

This recipe makes 2 deep dish pizzas. They are small 9 inch pizzas. Kevin and I finished one by ourselves. Make them both if you have a family of 4-5 or are having friends over. If your family is smaller, freeze half of the dough per the make-ahead/freezing instructions in the recipe notes. Please use my step-by-step photos below this written out recipe as a guide to making the pizza. For best results and ease of mind (. ), please read through the recipe completely before beginning.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. ♥

Just like frunchroom, this Chicago term may leave you wondering what in the world the person means. It’s another one of those smashed together phrases that starts with two words and ends in one sometimes difficult to decipher word. In this case, what sounds like “grachki” actually means garage key. “You lost the grachki again? You know I can’t get in without it.” What can we say? We like to blend things together to come up with our own Chicago style.

Watch the video: Chicago Food - The BEST DEEP DISH PIZZA in America! Lou Malnatis Pizzeria