Italian Beef Sandwiches

Topped with bright homemade giardiniera and roasted sweet peppers, these Italian beef sandwiches have lots of beefy flavor and a deeply satisfying jus.

Italian Beef Sandwich

Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

Active Time:
1 hrs
Marinate Time:
16 hrs
Total Time:
21 hrs 50 mins
8 servings
8 sandwiches

Perfect Italian beef sandwiches don’t just happen overnight; it’s a labor of love to make flawlessly tender roast beef and a deeply flavorful jus. Our sandwich is topped with homemade giardiniera and roasted sweet peppers to bring savory, bright, and sweet flavors all into balance.

Giardiniera, an Italian pickled condiment, typically includes cauliflower, carrots, celery, and vinegar. This recipe also includes fennel and olives, which give it extra tangy flavors and textures that complement the sandwich. In this recipe, we use not only the pickled vegetables but also the oil in the jar to build even more flavor on the sandwich. At the very least, you’ll need eight hours to prepare the Giardiniera but you can make it up to two weeks in advance and store it in the refrigerator. You can also opt for a store-bought Giardiniera for ease and to save time. 

We triple down on the beef flavors by using not only the beef roast but by also adding oxtails and braising everything in beef stock. Those meaty ingredients, along with the garlic and onions in the braise, create a delicious and beefy jus to serve with your sandwiches. When it comes to slicing the meat, cooling and freezing the roast is the key to getting deli-like thinly shaved meat. Top the sandwiches with Giardiniera and some roasted sweet peppers and serve them on your favorite sandwich rolls.



  • 2 cups tap water

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices on an angle (about 1 cup)

  • 1 large celery stalk, cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices on an angle (about 1 cup)

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped (from 1 small cauliflower)

  • cup chopped fennel (from 1 small fennel bulb)

  • 1 cup white vinegar

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns

  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives (from 1 [12-oz.] jar)

Italian Beef

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 pound oxtails

  • 1 (4-pound) top sirloin roast

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons celery salt

  • 1 large (about 13-ounce) white onion, quartered

  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, fronds removed

  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 garlic head, halved

  • 6 cups beef stock

  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

Roasted Peppers

  • 8 ounces sweet mini peppers, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings (about 2 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons celery salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Additional Ingredients

  • 8 sandwich rolls


Prepare the Giardiniera:

  1. Stir together water and salt in a large glass bowl until dissolved. Add carrots, celery, cauliflower, and fennel. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours.

  2. Remove vegetables from brine; drain and thoroughly rinse. Stir together vinegar, oil, peppercorns, Italian seasoning, and garlic in glass bowl until combined. Stir in vegetables and olives. Divide mixture evenly among 2 pint-size jars. Cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 8 hours or up to 2 weeks.

Prepare the Italian Beef:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high. Add oxtails; cook, flipping once, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board or plate. Sprinkle roast evenly with kosher salt, black pepper, and celery salt. Add to Dutch oven, and cook, flipping occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer from Dutch oven to cutting board or plate with oxtails, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not wipe out Dutch oven.

  2. Reduce heat under Dutch oven to medium, and add onion, fennel, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef stock, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper; return oxtails and roast to Dutch oven. Cover and cook in preheated oven until very tender, 3 hours to 3 hours, 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

  3. Increase oven temperature to 325°F. Carefully transfer roast to a cutting board, and let cool, uncovered, at room temperature, about 1 hour. (Do not discard cooking liquid; it will be used as the jus.) Wrap roast in plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the Roasted Peppers:

  1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss together mini peppers, oil, celery salt, and black pepper. Bake at 325°F, stirring once, until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool until ready to serve.

  2. Pour jus through a fine mesh strainer into a large skillet; discard solids. Bring to a simmer over medium-low, and cook, undisturbed, until heated through, about 10 minutes.

  3. Remove roast from freezer, and slice as thin as possible. Add sliced meat to simmering jus; cook, undisturbed, until heated through and tender, about 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, coat each roll evenly with 1 tablespoon Giardiniera oil from jar, and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 325°F until dried out, about 5 minutes.

  5. Divide Italian Beef evenly among 8 rolls, and top with extra jus. Top each with 1/4 cup Giardiniera and about 2 tablespoons Roasted Peppers. Serve with remaining jus. Leftover Giardiniera may be kept in refrigerator for up to 1 month.

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