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French Dip, Beef on Weck, and Italian Beef: How to Tell the Difference

Roast Beef: Wecked, Dipped, and Wrecked

Have you ever wondered what regional nuances separate such famous beef sandwiches as the French dip, Italian beef, and beef on weck? Here, OnSugar blog Between the Bread helps dissect the differences.Chicago's beloved Italian beef sandwich and Buffalo's signature beef on weck taste like they were separated at birth. But it's the nuances that set these regional favorites apart from each other and that other famous juicy roast beef sandwich, the French dip. Here's how to tell them all apart.

The beef sandwich breakdown, when you read more.

The Beef on Weck

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Origins: Brought to New York by German immigrants in the early 1800s, beef on weck is one of America's oldest sandwiches.

Defining characteristics: Thinly sliced hot roast beef served on a kimmelweck bun, a Kaiser-type roll sprinkled with caraway seeds and salt crystals, and dipped in roasting juices.


Where to try one: Schwabl's in Buffalo or Charlie the Butcher.

Keep reading for the "French" and "Italian" takes on hot roast beef.

French Dip

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Origins: Invention is credited to Philippe Mathieu, the French immigrant who opened his restaurant in 1918 — after a stop in Buffalo. Coincidence?

Defining characteristics: Traditionally, hot roast beef or pork, sliced thin and forked onto a soft French roll dipped in au jus, though many restaurants serve the sauce on the side. Newer versions also add cheese.

Where to try one: Philippe the Original or Cole's in Los Angeles.

Italian Beef

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Origins: Al's Beef lays claim to the invention of this sandwich, first served at Italian American-owned food stands in 1940s Chicago.

Defining characteristics: Thin sliced, highly seasoned beef, cooked in its own juices, then topped with hot giardiniera or sweet peppers or both. The Italian roll is also dipped in juice.

Where to try one: Al's Beef, Pop's, and many more.

Source: Flickr User Nickgraywfu

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fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
Italian beef with motz, hots, sweets, and taken for a swim! :drool:
mr-blur mr-blur 6 years
I love all three of those snads. with f.d. being my first round draft choice nearly anywhere. never ever ever order the beef on weck at native new yorker. you've been warned...
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