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Beef on Weck

November 10, 2017

 

 

I haven't always lived in Colorado. I grew up in Western New York in the small city of Dunkirk, population ~11,000. The closest big city is Buffalo. Like any other city, Dunkirk has food you can't get anywhere else. Sure, I can get wings anywhere, but they'll never be as good as wings from the region that invented the Buffalo wing!

 

A Western New York delicacy you've probably never heard of is beef on weck. What is "weck" you ask? Thinly sliced roast beef on a kaiser roll with salt and caraway seeds and topped with horseradish, this sandwich is served at most graduation parties and gatherings. 

 

Back home, when we want beef on weck, my mom goes to the butcher, asks for thinly sliced roast beef and two containers of au jus, and buys kummelweck rolls. We heat the au jus and put the roast beef in it. Before putting it on the sandwich, we drain off the excess au jus to our liking--the more au jus, the soggier the roll gets, but that's part of the taste. 

 

No one ever told me where beef on weck came from, what weck is, or that it's only a Western New York thing. A story of the sandwich's history can be found on What's Cooking America. This website has a real recipe to go along with it, but the beauty of beef on weck is it's simple. Back home, you can find kummelweck rolls and have no problem getting au jus.

 

When I visited home in May, I picked up a touristy package of buffalo sauce and beef on weck seasoning--salt and caraway seeds. I gave it to Sam who'd never had or heard of beef on weck and told him we'd make it. In Colorado, the deli counter doesn't carry au jus. I could have tried a butcher, but once I had it in my mind to have beef on weck, I wanted it to be simple. We bought our meat, rolls, and improvised with some broth because the au jus packets contain milk. 

 

Although it didn't taste quite like it does at home, I was happy to have a taste of where I grew up in Colorado. 

 

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