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"Delicious and Easy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Preparing a Perfect Roast Beef Sandwich"

Updated: May 4

Crafting the perfect Roast Beef Sandwich is an art that combines fresh ingredients, precise cooking techniques, and thoughtful assembly. This guide will walk you through the steps of preparing a mouthwatering roast beef from selecting the right cut to the final touches of assembling the sandwich. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a home cook, these steps will ensure your roast beef sandwiches are a hit at any table.

Key Takeaways

  • Select a high-quality cut of beef like a boneless top round or eye round roast, and allow it to marinate with salt for at least 1 hour before roasting.

  • Cook the roast beef in a preheated skillet, and let it rest for 2 hours to ensure juiciness and flavor are locked in before slicing.

  • Create a flavorful jus by simmering collected meat juices, which can be stored for later use to enhance the sandwich.

  • Assemble the sandwich with care, using a hearty roll, layering thinly sliced roast beef, and adding your choice of sauces, toppings, and melted Swiss cheese.

  • For the ultimate experience, serve the sandwich with a side of gravy, mashed potatoes, and consider the presentation to make it visually appealing as well as delicious.

Preparing the Roast Beef

Selecting the Right Cut

The foundation of a delectable Roast Beef Sandwich lies in the selection of the beef cut. Bottom round roast is a popular choice due to its rich flavor and lean texture, which facilitates even slicing and enjoyable eating. Eye of round or top round are also excellent options, offering a balance of tenderness and taste.

When these specific cuts are not available, any roast from the round section or cuts from the sirloin, such as tri-tip or top sirloin roast, can serve as suitable alternatives. Although these may have a slightly chewier texture, they will still deliver a satisfying flavor profile.

Remember to slice against the grain for clean cuts, using a sharp knife and steady pressure. Avoid pushing the knife straight down to prevent jagged edges. Patience is key in achieving thin, even slices that will elevate your sandwich to the next level.

Seasoning the Beef

Seasoning is a pivotal step in preparing a roast beef sandwich that bursts with flavor. Begin by letting the beef roast reach room temperature for even cooking. Blot the beef with paper towels to remove excess moisture, creating the perfect canvas for seasoning.

Incorporate additional spices to your liking, such as garlic powder, onion powder, or a custom blend of herbs. After seasoning, sear the beef in a hot pan with oil to create a delicious crust. This step not only enhances the taste but also helps to lock in the juices. Finally, deglaze the pan with water or beef broth to capture all the flavorful bits, which can be added to the jus or gravy later on.

Roasting to Perfection

Achieving the perfect roast is a pivotal step in creating a delectable roast beef sandwich. Slow-roasting in a low oven is key to ensuring even cooking and a juicy, medium-rare center. The goal is to have a roast that's evenly cooked from edge to edge, with a mahogany crust that's developed through a final sear post-roasting.

After the roast reaches an internal temperature that's slightly below your target, it's time for the final sear. Heat oil in a skillet until smoking, then brown the roast on all sides. This not only adds flavor but also creates that desirable crust. Remember, the internal temperature will continue to rise due to residual heat, so it's important to remove the roast from the oven just before it reaches the desired doneness.

Resting and Cooling

After your roast beef has reached its optimal level of doneness, the next crucial step is to let it rest and cool. This is not a mere formality; it's an essential part of the cooking process. Resting allows the juices within the meat to redistribute, ensuring that every slice is succulent and flavorful. For best results, transfer the roast to a large plate and allow it to cool completely, which typically takes about an hour. If you're not pressed for time, refrigerating the roast until well chilled, for at least 2 hours or up to a day, can enhance the ease of slicing.

Once the roast is properly rested and cooled, slice it as thin as possible against the grain. This technique not only improves the texture but also maximizes the flavor profile of the beef. Remember to stir in any accumulated meat juices from the rested roast into your jus before assembling the sandwiches.

Creating the Jus

Collecting Meat Juices

After roasting your beef to perfection, the next critical step is collecting the meat juices. These juices are the foundation of a flavorful jus that will elevate your roast beef sandwich to new heights. To begin, carefully pour the juices from the roasting pan into a separate container. If you've used a rack, make sure to lift the beef and let any additional juices run off.

While commercial kitchens may have the luxury of continuous jus production from numerous roasts, at home, we must rely on the juices from a single roast. Enhance these with a high-quality homemade beef stock for a jus that rivals restaurant quality. Stir in any accumulated juices from the rested roast and set aside off heat until ready to use.

For those who prefer a thicker jus, consider the viscosity of your base. A homemade stock will naturally have a richer body compared to store-bought options. If you're using store-bought stock, chicken broth is recommended over beef for its superior flavor profile.

Simmering for Flavor

Once the roast beef is set aside, the real magic happens in the skillet where the aromatics have been caramelizing. Deepening the flavors of the jus is crucial, and this is achieved by simmering the aromatic mixture with broth and Worcestershire sauce. The simmering process melds the flavors together and reduces the liquid slightly, creating a rich and savory dipping sauce.

The simmer should be gentle and last about 15 minutes, or until the jus has thickened just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Here's a simple guide to follow:

  • Slowly whisk in the broth to the caramelized onions.

  • Add Worcestershire sauce for a depth of flavor.

  • Simmer and stir occasionally, scraping up the browned bits.

  • Cook until the jus is slightly thickened, achieving the perfect consistency for dipping.

Storing for Later Use

Once you've created your jus, it's important to store it properly to maintain its flavor and quality. Store the jus in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days. For longer storage, freezing is an excellent option. Pour the jus into ice cube trays or small containers, and once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container. This method allows for easy portioning and extended storage for up to 3 months.

Remember to label your containers with the date to ensure you use the oldest stock first. This practice helps in managing your inventory and reducing waste. If you don't have a good fat layer on top of the jus, it's best to use it within 3-4 days. Always thaw frozen jus in the fridge overnight before use.

Assembling the Sandwiches

Choosing the Bread

The foundation of any great roast beef sandwich is the bread. Selecting the right type is crucial for the perfect balance of texture and flavor. Firmer breads like the Kaiser roll and the New England bulkie roll are excellent choices. They offer a moderate richness and a sturdy base that can support the weight and juiciness of the roast beef without becoming soggy.

Remember, the best bread for your sandwich might vary depending on your personal preference. Some may opt for a light and crusty French roll, while others might enjoy the chewiness of a ciabatta. Experiment with different types to find your ideal match.

Layering the Ingredients

Once you have your thinly sliced roast beef ready, it's time to layer your sandwich for the ultimate taste experience. Start with a base of your chosen bread, lightly toasted for texture and warmth. Add a layer of roast beef, ensuring even coverage for each bite.

Next, consider the balance of flavors and textures. A slice of sharp cheddar or creamy horseradish sauce can add a punch, while lettuce or tomato provides a fresh crunch. Here's a simple guide to layering:

  • Bread base (toasted)

  • Roast beef slices

  • Cheese (optional)

  • Fresh vegetables (lettuce, tomato)

  • Sauces (horseradish, mustard)

Finally, if you're adding cheese, now is the time to melt it to gooey perfection. Place the sandwich open-faced under the broiler for a minute or two, watching closely to avoid burning. The result should be a warm, inviting stack of flavors ready to be topped and enjoyed.

Adding Sauces and Toppings

The right sauce can transform a roast beef sandwich from good to unforgettable. Slather on your favorite sauce, whether it's a classic horseradish cream, a tangy James River BBQ, or a homemade concoction. The sauce should complement the beef's rich flavors without overpowering them.

For a homemade touch, consider the following sauce recipe:

  • Melted butter

  • Brown sugar

  • Spicy brown mustard (or your favorite type)

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Garlic powder

  • Onion powder

  • Dried thyme

Combine these ingredients, adjusting to taste, and drizzle over the beef for a burst of flavor. Don't forget to add toppings like caramelized onions or a sprinkle of poppy seeds for texture and taste.

Melting the Cheese

Once your sandwich is layered with the succulent roast beef and your choice of condiments, it's time to add the final touch that brings it all together: the cheese. Melting the cheese is more than just a step; it's an art that transforms your sandwich into a gooey, irresistible delight.

For the perfect melt, consider shredding your own cheese rather than using pre-packaged shreds. Hand-shredded cheese lacks the cornstarch found in bags, ensuring a smoother, creamier sauce. If you find your cheese sauce too thick, a splash of milk and continuous whisking will bring it back to the ideal consistency.

Choosing the right cheese can make a world of difference. Swiss cheese, for example, is a popular choice for its easy melting properties and the tangy flavor that complements the beefy jus. Whether you opt for Swiss, cheddar, or another variety, ensure the slices are thin for a quick and even melt over your sandwich.

Special Equipment and Notes

Recommended Cookware

To achieve the best results when preparing roast beef, having the right cookware is essential. A heavy-duty roasting pan with a rack is crucial for even cooking and proper heat circulation. Additionally, a reliable meat thermometer will ensure your roast beef reaches the perfect internal temperature without overcooking.

  • Roasting Pan with Rack

  • Meat Thermometer

  • Carving Knife

  • Cutting Board

Remember, the quality of your tools can greatly influence the outcome of your roast beef, so choose wisely to enhance your cooking experience.

Understanding Roast Beef Varieties

When preparing a roast beef sandwich, the cut of beef you choose is crucial for achieving the desired flavor and texture. The eye of round is a popular choice for deli-style roast beef, known for its leanness and originating from the round primal cut. Other cuts suitable for a cold roast beef sandwich include the tri-tip from the sirloin primal and the top round from the rear leg. These cuts are favored for their texture when served cold, as they contain less fat and connective tissue that can harden and become chewy.

For a hot roast beef sandwich, cuts with more marbling, like chuck roast, are preferred. The fat content in these cuts ensures a juicy and tender result when served warm. However, when cooled and sliced thin, these same cuts may not provide the same enjoyable experience due to the solidified fat.

Storage Tips

Proper storage of roast beef sandwiches is crucial to maintain their freshness and flavor. Store leftover roast beef sandwiches in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in foil, in the fridge for up to 3 days. For longer preservation, freezing is an option. Wrap the sandwiches well in plastic wrap, place them in an airtight bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.

When you're ready to enjoy your frozen sandwiches, thaw them overnight in the fridge or reheat them directly from the freezer. To reheat, remove any plastic and cover the sandwiches with aluminum foil. Bake at 325\u00b0F (165\u00b0C) for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes to brown the tops.

Serving Suggestions

Accompaniments and Sides

A roast beef sandwich is a hearty meal in itself, but the right side dishes can elevate it to a truly memorable dining experience. From classic roasted potatoes to the creamiest mashed potatoes, these starchy sides are a staple that pair exceptionally well with the savory flavors of roast beef.

Beyond potatoes, consider adding a fresh element to the plate with a crisp green salad or some steamed vegetables. These not only add color and texture but also balance the richness of the meat.

For those who enjoy a touch of sweetness, glazed carrots or caramelized onions make for a delightful contrast. And of course, don't forget to make plenty of gravy to smother over your roast beef sandwiches and sides for that ultimate comfort food experience.

Presentation Tips

The visual appeal of your roast beef sandwich can be just as important as the taste. Present your sandwich with care, ensuring that each layer is visible and the meat is showcased. A neatly stacked sandwich on a clean, white plate can make the colors pop and the textures stand out.

For a more rustic look, consider using wooden boards or slates. These can add a warm, homely feel to the presentation and are perfect for a casual dining experience. Remember, the key is in the details; a sprig of fresh herbs or a light dusting of coarse salt can elevate the presentation significantly.

Finally, if you're serving the sandwich as part of a larger meal, ensure that the sides and accompaniments complement the sandwich both in flavor and appearance. A simple side salad or a few pickles can add a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the roast beef.

Making Gravy for the Ultimate Experience

To elevate your roast beef sandwich to a gourmet level, making a rich and savory gravy is key. Start by pouring the liquid from the slow cooker into a saucepan, adding beef broth to enhance the depth of flavor. Bring this mixture to a simmer before thickening it with a corn starch slurry, which consists of corn starch dissolved in cold water. Stir constantly until the gravy reaches the desired consistency, usually within a few minutes.

For those who prefer a shortcut, ready-made gravy can be an alternative, but nothing beats the homemade version that captures the essence of your roast beef. Remember, the gravy is not just a condiment; it's an integral part of the ultimate roast beef sandwich experience.


Crafting the perfect Roast Beef Sandwich is an art that combines quality ingredients with careful preparation and assembly. From selecting a prime cut of beef and seasoning it to perfection, to slow roasting and slicing it thinly, every step contributes to the final masterpiece. Whether you opt for a simple cold sandwich or a warm, gravy-laden delight, the key is to layer flavors and textures for a satisfying bite. Remember to let your roast rest, to ensure maximum juiciness, and don't shy away from experimenting with sauces and toppings to personalize your creation. With the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you're now equipped to make a Roast Beef Sandwich that rivals any deli classic. So gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to enjoy a homemade sandwich that's truly a cut above the rest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best cut of beef for making roast beef sandwiches?

The best cuts for roast beef sandwiches are boneless top round roast or eye round roast, trimmed and tied at 1-inch intervals.

How long should I season the roast beef before cooking?

You should season the roast beef with salt and let it refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before cooking.

What temperature should I roast the beef at, and for how long?

Cooking times and temperatures may vary, but generally, you should roast beef in a preheated oven at a high temperature for a short period to brown the outside, then reduce the heat and cook it slowly. For a 3-pound roast, it might take about 90 minutes to cook.

How do I make the jus for the sandwich?

Collect the meat juices after roasting, then simmer them to enhance the flavor. You can store the jus for later use or use it immediately to moisten the roast beef when assembling the sandwiches.

What are some recommended toppings and sauces for a roast beef sandwich?

Common toppings include Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, or Arby's sauce. You can also add your favorite vegetables or condiments as desired.

Can roast beef and jus be prepared in advance?

Yes, the roast beef can be wrapped and the jus transferred to an airtight container and both refrigerated separately for up to 4 days before slicing and assembling the sandwiches.

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