Quick-Hacked Chicago-style Italian Beef/Sausage Combo

Quick-Hacked Chicago-style Italian Beef/Sausage Combo

Those who know me know I LOVE Chicago style Italian Beef and Sausage combos – the hot giardiniera, the peppers, the salty gravy-laced meat and charred links. Amazing!

Over the years, I’ve tried making it at home, in varying degrees of success and failure – mostly failure. Susan makes an amazing Italian beef that we used to served after the Indy 500 race – awesome, but not Chicago style.

I’ve tried Chicago-style beef seasoning packets – okay, but often over-flavored and chemically. You can now order from Portillo’s and get it frozen – awesome and it’s an annual treat, but it’s VERY expensive.

So the other night, I wanted to see if I could “hack” a quick and dirty approach, and you know what – it worked! It’s the best I’ve made to date – not 100% authentic, but pretty darn close (getting the right kinds of bread outside of Chicago is tricky – nothing is quite like that Gonella bread!).


  • 1/4 lb shaved deli roast beef per person
  • 1 hot Italian sausage per person (we use Johnsonville)
  • 1 French roll per person
  • 3 C beef stock
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 T dried oregano
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 green pepper, cut in strips about 3/4″ wide
  • 1 t granulated garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • EVOO
  • Hot giardiniera (we use Marconi – a Chicago stand-by that’s used by Portillo’s and available on Amazon)

In a large sauce pan, add the beef stock, bouillon cube, wine, garlic and spices and bring up to a simmer, stirring often to dissolve that pesky bouillon cube.

When simmering, add in your Italian sausage links and parboil them for about 15-20 minutes. Pull them out and let drain and get your grill flared up to a high heat.

When you drop your sausages, heat up a small non-stick frying pan to medium. Add about 1 T of EVOO and add your green pepper. Toss to coat in the oil and season with a bit of salt and the granulated garlic. Turn occasionally – you don’t wan’t them to char of blister, but get nice and soft.

Pull the gravy off the burner and lower the heat – get out your meat thermometer – you want to get the temperature down to about 140 degrees (any less and it’ll barely heat the shaved roast beef, any more and it’ll over cook it and it’ll get tough and rubbery).

Also, heat your oven up to 400 and slice your French rolls. You don’t want the bread too crusty or too fluffy and white-bread-like. You’ll need to experiment to figure out which brand or grocery store bakery comes closest.

Now for the quick finish – get your parboiled sausages on the grill to get a nice char (just a few minutes on each side). Put the jus back on a burner on low, trying to keep the 140 degree temperature. Add your sliced roast beef into the jus and stir it up – it only takes a few moments. Toss your rolls into the oven – just for five minutes to get a nice crispness.

Now it’s time to assemble your (not low calorie) feast: Using tongs, heap a good helping of the beef into the bun (I let it stay nice and juicy so the bun get damp, but not soaked with the jus), nestle in a grilled sausage and top with green pepper and a couple of spoonfuls of the hot giardiniera. Maybe not 100% authentic, but the taste it close and it’s awesome. Have it with some fries and a nice full glass of full-bodied red wine or a crisp beer like Becks or St. Pauli Girl. Da Bearssss!

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