Beef on Weck
Finding a regional specialty is harder then ever these days, due to hours and hours of programming on various food channels on the topic of what seems to be every food stand and Greek diner in the mainland United States. This process has largely democratized regional cuisine, which isn’t to say that’s a bad thing. It’s just hard to find something new, and discovery is legitimately exciting. Fish tacos? Now showing at your local Houlihan’s. Buffalo wings? Pick them up at any sports bar. Chicago-style hot dog? Pretty routine food at any decent-sized airport these days. But every so often, whether it’s sandwiches featuring french fries and coleslaw in Pittsburgh or fried peach and apple pies in the less heart-healthy parts of the South (which is to say, the entire South), we find something amazing and new to add to our bag of cooking tricks. And truly, that is a sweet day. This recently happened to me with the Buffalo specialty that no one outside of western New York seems to know about – beef on weck.
To answer your first question, beef on weck is a sandwich of rare roast beef, roasted and coated in its own jus, served topped with horseradish on a kummelweck roll. To answer your second one, a kummelweck roll is a Kaiser roll with pretzel salt and caraway baked into the top. The name comes from the German (Black Forest Region) for caraway (kummel) roll (weck). It was invented by an enterprising Buffalo tavern owner who rightly figured that a salty bun with horseradish and caraway would inspire his patrons to buy more beer. It’s currently championed by a number of Buffalo natives, including local restaurant owner Charlie the Butcher, whose excellent video helped me a great deal during early clumsy attempts.
It’s a simple recipe that yields almost inexplicably delicious results. Ever hear anyone call Buffalo Wing Wings “BW3s”? That’s because the original name of the place was Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck. That didn’t last long, and now they only sell weck in the western New York franchises. It’s our loss. Or it used to be.
The size of the roast is up to you. Obviously, you’ll get more jus from a larger roast, though it will take a bit longer. You can always go with a smaller 2lb roast and enhance the roast drippings with some demi glace or even the prepared beef jus that you can find is some stores. Buffalo-style weck comes with a lot of natural jus, but they have the distinct advantage of cooking off 40 pound roasts every day. Just make sure there’s a bit of flavorful liquid to complement your sandwich.
As for the Kaiser rolls, you’ll get a much better result with a bakery roll than the Wonderbread-style packaged rolls in the bread aisle. You can find good Kaiser rolls in the bakery section of any chain grocery store, so don’t slack on this. The roll is half the point of this dish.
Beef on Weck Recipe
By December 8, 2010Published:
Finding a regional specialty is harder then ever these days, due to hours and hours of programming on various food channels on the …
- 3-5 lb Top round roast trussed, seasoned, and ready to roast
- 2 tbsp coarse salt (pretzel salt is perfect)
- 2 tbsp whole caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup warm (100-120F) water
- 12 Kaiser rolls
- Prepared or fresh grated horseradish
- Preheat the oven to 325 and cook 25 to 30 minutes per pound. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer and remove from the oven about 5 degrees before desired doneness to account for carryover cooking while resting under foil.
- While meat is resting, raise oven temperature to 350 and dissolve cornstarch in warm water.
- Bring 1 c water to a boil in a small saucepan. When water boils, add dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is translucent and is thick enough to coat a spoon.
- Mix the salt with the caraway seeds in a small bowl. Place your Kaiser rolls on a baking sheet. Paint the tops with the cornstarch mixture and sprinkle the salt and caraway over the tops.
- Place the rolls in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until the seasoning dries on top.
- Reserve the juices in the roasting pan and carve the roast thin. Place all the jus in a medium saucepan and heat. Warm up the sliced beef in the jus and place on kummelweck rolls. Dip the tops of the rolls in the jus, add a dash of prepared horseradish, and enjoy. I predict you'll be back to the fridge for a beer more than once. If this prospect is disagreeable to you, I'm not sure how you found our blog in the first place.