A beef on weck (also known as beef on wick) is a sandwich found primarily in Western New York, specifically in the Buffalo region. What separates this hot roast beef sandwich from a French dip is the roll. Served on a salt and caraway seed encrusted Kummelweck roll, which is simply shortened to “weck”, this sandwich has been called one of the best sandwiches you’ve never heard of.
A typical beef on weck is made from slow-roasted rare roast beef that is hand-sliced in thin slices, served on a kummelweck roll. The cut side of the top half of the roll may be dipped in the jus from the roast. Prepared horseradish is usually provided for to spread as desired on the top half of the roll, the sandwich is also served with additional Au Jus for dipping, it is truly a thing of beauty. A restaurant will slow roast the beef all day, which is awesome but sometimes the best way to deal with a craving for hometown comfort food is also the most direct way. So, my recipe utilizes a good quality roast beef from the deli counter and powdered Au Jus.
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/3 cups bread flour
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp Nonfat Dry Milk
- 2 tbsp potato flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 lightly beaten egg white
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp coarsely ground salt
- 1 tbsp rye flour
For the Sandwich:
- 3 cups prepared Au Jus
- 2 lbs thinly sliced roast beef
To Make the Weck Buns
- In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients except the topping, mixing to form a shaggy dough.
- Knead the dough, by hand or by machine, for 10 minutes. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then knead for an additional 10 minutes, until it's smooth and supple.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. You may also use your bread machine, set on the Dough cycle, to prepare the dough to this point.
- Divide the dough into six 3 1/4-ounce (92g) pieces, and shape them into smooth, slightly flattened rounds. Place them on a baking sheet, covered, to rise for 1 hour, or until they're good and puffy.
- While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Brush the rolls with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle lightly (or not) with the topping. Bake them for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack; they're best served the same day they're made, though they do reheat nicely. Freeze for up to 1 month.
- TO MAKE A BEEF ON WECK SANDWICH
- Warm the au jus sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the roast beef and let it warm up at the same time.
- Carefully dip the top bun in the au jus. Not a dunk or anything, just enough to moisten the part that will come into contact with the roast beef.
- Pile the beef on the bottom bun, slightly higher than you think you should. Beef on Weck is all about go big or go home.
- Serve the sliced beef on the rolls with the au jus and horseradish on the side.
Can we just talk about the salt situation for a minute? Most kummelweck buns are topped with pretzel salt, you know that bright white, large-grained, non-melting salt you find on your favorite soft pretzels…Yeah, I can not stand the stuff…I am very sensitive to salty foods, and avoid this kind of salt. I use sea salt for my rolls which works great, but if you prefer the non-melting salt so that you can see and taste the large granules pretzel salt is easily found at the grocery store and many Amish and Mennonite Bulk Food Stores.
If you don’t have a bread maker or baking bread isn’t your thing, I found a quick and easy way to turn a regular bakery kaiser roll into a Kummelweck roll. There is a quick video I put together on the process below, all you need are a lightly beaten egg, caraway seeds, salt, and of course the kaiser roll, it is so quick and easy!
And if you are really avoiding your kitchen.. and hey, we all know food always tastes better when it is made by someone else...Try a Beef on Weck made by the pros in Buffalo, the best places in Buffalo to get a Beef on weck according to 10Best by USA Today are:
- Charlie the Butcher in Williamsville
- Schwabl’s in West Seneca
- Bar-Bill Tavern in East Aurora
- Anderson’s Downtown Buffalo
- Steve’s Pig and Ox Roast in Lackawanna
- Swiston’s Beef & Keg in Tonawanda
- Buffalo Brew Pub Williamsville
- Vizzi’s North Buffalo
12 Life Changing Sandwiches you’ve never heard of | Myers, Dan for The Daily Meal (27 February 2015)
History of Beef on Weck | The Kitchen Project.com (10 October 2009)