Thursday, March 14, 2013

Crockpot Italian Beef

Admittedly, Italian beef is one of my favorite guilty pleasure foods.  In Chicago, it's a delicacy. If you haven't heard of it (I feel sorry for you), it's essentially just seasoned shredded roast beef, except that it's not just that. It's amazing.

We don't eat it often, but when we do, it's usually from Portillos (It's a chain, that really can't be beat. When friends visit they ask to go here.) or Murphy's Red Hots (a local spot in our neighborhood). Something about the tender and tasty meat, stacked on a bun with spicy peppers. My mouth is salivating just as I type this.

I've previously been tempted to buy the "buckets" in the freezer section at the grocery, but the price ($15ish) always stopped me. This week, on a whim, I decided to give a shot at making it.  I used this recipe, with a slight variance. I should note I was kind of surprised when I ended up spending $15 on just the cut of meat.  Luckily we had all of the spiced needed on hand.

This recipe is so easy, but soooo good. Enjoy!

Crockpot Italian Beef
(Makes approximately 8 servings)
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp crushed bay leaf (or 1 full bay leaf)
  • 1 package (0.7oz) dry Italian salad dressing mix (find in salad dressing aisle)
  • 3-3.5lb rump roast*

*Note: Part of the reason I've never made Italian beef before is that I could never find the cut of meat required. In researching recipes, I learned there's several names for cuts that are fairly similar (all of which would work for this recipe): rump roast, round roast, top sirloin butt, boneless beef roast, chuck roast, etc.

Serve with (optional):
  • Italian rolls
  • Giardiniera (found near the pickles in grocery store)
  • Cheese: American or cheddar (This was learned from my friend Coll; one of the tastiest pieces of food knowledge she's shared with me.)
  • Pour water into medium sized pot and add all spices. Stir.
  • Add in salad dressing pack. Stir.
  • Bring to boil

  • Place roast in crockpot and pour liquid mixture on top
  • Cook on low for ~10 hours

  • Remove fatty pieces of meat and discard
  • Use fork to shred meat
  • Keep on warm for ~1 hour to let broth soak in (Optional
Prepping your beef:
We usually order our Italian beefs "dipped", meaning the bread is dipped into the broth. In an attempt to be as clean as possible, I used a spoon to apply the broth to the inside of our sandwich. 

Take two pieces of cheese and split both in half. Line the bread with cheese.

Scoop your meat on. Top with giardiniera and enjoy!

 (Linked up with Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins)


  1. This looks so good! I may be making this this weekend :)

  2. This is the first I've heard of this! It sounds so good!

    I didn't get to Portillos when I visited Chicago :( BUT I heard there is one randomly out here in SoCal. I need to go!

  3. This look so good! Going to have to try this recipe!
    New follower! Would love for you to visit my blog! Can't wait to learn more about you!


  4. This is delicious! Perfect!

  5. I too grew up in the Chicago area (Elgin) and when we moved to Denver in '95, that's one thing we really missed! Your recipe looks like the real thing and I can't wait to try it. FYI, there is a little eatery on Colfax in Lakewood called, believe it or not, Chicago. They have wonderful beefs, we go about 6 or 7 times a year. It costs about $15 for 2 so this recipe is not that bad a price.

  6. Have made this a couple of times now, and it's been a huge hit! Easy, tasty, freezes GREAT, and doubles/triples well for bigger batches. A favorite and a regular in our dinner rotation now!


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