I’ve written a ton about Chicago’s iconic specialty, the Italian Beef sandwich. I’ve looked at different brands to prepare at home, as well as a number of restaurant offerings. Check all those posts out here. Today we tried Vienna Beef’s home version of the preparation, beef and gravy frozen in a tub. Spoiler. Any of these brands will disappoint you if you don’t COMPLETELY thaw prior to heating, and when heating GENTLE rules. Boil any frozen Italian Beef and you’ll hate it, I promise. Packaging says you can thaw in the microwave, but I personally would not. I thaw in frig and the in pan. 24 hours +. The beef in the au jus appears to be whole muscle meat, not pressed, chopped and formed. I did inquire of Vienna as to the composition of the beef, but they did not reply.
The product is available in different weights, with just meat and gravy in a tub in your grocer’s freezer section, or as “sandwich kits” which include authentic Chicago rolls and the pickled vegetable relish known as giardiniera. Several manufacturers of Italian beef in this style, also sell a “French dip” style. Same stuff, I imagine, without Italian seasonings.
Nestle a hot Italian sausage within your beef, and you have a “Combo.” I prefer Klement’s from Milwaukee. I have no ‘beef’ with Vienna’s Italian Beef product. I love all their products. They tie at #1 on my preference list with one other brand. Vienna’s beef is mild but very flavorful. Some other brands are spicier, like Mike Ditka’s (which I believe is also made at the Vienna factory, but with a different recipe).
Have some Italian Beef shipped to your house, just heat, eat, and enjoy. You’ll be happier if your store leftovers – separate (beef and gravy). We can also hook you up with some great Klement’s Italian sausage.
Vienna Beef Italian Beef Kit