AoM Month of Sandwiches Day #13: Homemade Roast Beef Au Jus

by Matt Moore on April 17, 2013 · 16 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

Intro Shot

Welcome to Day #12 of the AoM sandwich project. Last month we asked readers for their best sandwich recommendations. Out of 483 submissions, we picked 20 to highlight here on the site each weekday during the month of April. At the end, we’ll publish all the entries into an epic man-sandwich cookbook. 

I invited AoM’s food writer, Matt Moore, to contribute a sandwich to our sandwich project, and strongly hinted that making something with roast beef and au jus would be pretty awesome. Well Mr. Moore came through in a big way. This looks delicious!

Today’s Sandwich: Roast Beef Au Jus by Matt Moore

Most often, life is better when you take the time to do things the right way – i.e., no short cuts. That lesson is especially true with this sandwich. Beloved by many, yet deemed too technical by most, the roast beef au jus sandwich is too often passed off by restaurants and home cooks with less than mediocre results. You know what I’m talking about — that concoction of dry, overcooked meat on stale bread served with a side of brown, salted water.

That doesn’t have to be so. With some love and attention (and a bit of time) you can deliver a homemade version of this manly meal that is sure to impress.

Ingredients (serves 6, prep 25 minutes, cook 60 minutes)

1 Ingredients

  • 1 3lb eye of round beef roast
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I suggest Georgia Olive Farms)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1 onion
  • 6 hoagie rolls

Step 1: Prep Ingredients  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Smash and mince 6 cloves of garlic. Next, strip the leaves off of 4 -6 thyme sprigs and finely chop.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Smash and mince 6 cloves of garlic. Next, strip the leaves off of 4-6 thyme sprigs and finely chop.

Step 2: Season Meat & Let Sit at Room Temperature

Coat meat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Next, add minced garlic and thyme, followed by a liberal sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Keep the meat out of the fridge! You want it to be at room temperature to create a nice sear and so it will cook evenly.

Coat meat with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Next, add minced garlic and thyme, followed by a liberal sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Keep the meat out of the fridge! You want it to be at room temperature to create a nice sear and so it will cook evenly.

Step 3: Start Au Jus

Bring 8 cups of beef stock, remaining garlic, onion, and 4 sprigs of thyme to a slow simmer over medium heat.

Bring 8 cups of beef stock, remaining garlic, onion (chopped in half), and 4 sprigs of thyme to a slow simmer over medium heat.

Step 4: Prep Pan to Sear Meat

Pre-heat a seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop for 1 minute. It’s a good idea to open a window or turn the vent fan on at this point.

Pre-heat a seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop for 1 minute. It’s a good idea to open a window or turn the vent fan on at this point.

Step 5: Sear Meat

Add meat to pan and sear on all four sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Do not poke or prod the meat during this process – allow it to maintain contact with the pan to develop a nice sear – this creates flavor.

Add meat to pan and sear on all four sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Do not poke or prod the meat during this process. Allow it to maintain contact with the pan to develop a nice sear – this creates flavor.

Step 6: Roast Meat in Oven

Once the meat is seared, place it in the preheated oven and cook for 45-55 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F for rare/medium rare.

Once the meat is seared, place it in the preheated oven and cook for 45-55 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F for rare/medium rare.

Step 7: Rest Meat

Once desired temperature is reached, remove meat from oven and place on a plate, tented with foil.  This ‘resting’ process will allow the juices to redistribute into the meat – it will also keep cooking, raising the temperature, on average, by 5 degrees. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Once desired temperature is reached, remove meat from oven and place on a plate, tented with foil. This ‘resting’ process will allow the juices to redistribute into the meat – it will also keep cooking, raising the temperature, on average, by 5 degrees. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Step 8: Strain Au Jus

Use a skimmer or colander to strain ingredients from the au jus. Add any drippings from the meat into this pot.

Use a skimmer or colander to strain ingredients from the au jus. Add any drippings from the meat into this pot.

Step 9: Reduce Au Jus

Place the strained pot of liquid back on the stove over medium-high heat, allowing the mixture to reach a boil in order to reduce by at least half – you should have about 2-3 cups of liquid remaining. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm for service.

Place the strained pot of liquid back on the stove over medium-high heat, allowing the mixture to reach a boil in order to reduce by at least half – you should have about 2-3 cups of liquid remaining. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm for service.

Step 10: Slice Meat

Other than my fine assortment of Wusthof knives, my most manly kitchen appliance is my meat slicer. Over the top? Perhaps. Awesome? Most definitely. I realize it’s highly unlikely that you will have one of these in your kitchen, so take your best knife and slice the meat as thin as possible against the grain and on the bias (angle).

Other than my fine assortment of Wusthof knives, my most manly kitchen tool is my meat slicer. Over the top? Perhaps. Awesome? Most definitely. I realize it’s highly unlikely that you will have one of these in your kitchen, so take your best knife and slice the meat as thin as possible against the grain and on the bias (angle).

11 Slice Meat 2

Step 11: Warm/Steam Bread

I prefer my hoagies soft and not toasted, so I like to cut them open lengthwise, wrap in foil, and warm in an oven.

I prefer my hoagies soft and not toasted, so I like to cut them open lengthwise, wrap in foil, and warm in an oven.

Step 12: Assemble and Enjoy!

Remove warmed bread from oven and pile high with roast beef. Serve alongside warmed au jus for dipping.

Remove warmed bread from oven and pile high with roast beef. Serve alongside warmed au jus for dipping.

Taster’s Notes

All-in-all, this sandwich is a home run. For added flavor and flair, whip up some horseradish mayo (8 parts mayo to 1 part prepared horseradish) and serve as a condiment. You can also add in slices of Gouda or provolone cheese, sautéed peppers and onions, or sliced dill pickles – whatever you fancy. Truthfully, I love the simplicity of the perfectly cooked meat, served with the savory dipping jus. Pair with a cold Yazoo Pale Ale and life is pretty darn good.

 

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kevin April 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Thank you! I can not wait to try this!!

2 Tyler April 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Damn… Now I’m hungry.

3 Grand April 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I don’t consider a meat slicer to be over the top at all. It is great for slicing ham and other deli meats bought whole. You can even use the slicer in place of a mandoline for simple veggie slicing.

If you have to make bulk sandwiches to feed a small army you save money by buying uncut deli meats. Run ham, turkey, roast beef through a slicer.
Add mayo, mustard, cheddar, provolone, Swiss, various veggies and you start the construction on an awesome Dagwood for those that like massive sandwiches.

4 Lance April 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Oh man I sure hope I can pull of the “au ju”! ; ) here’s to hoping red robin has this on their menu. Hey I’m out of town ok!?!?

5 Jason April 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I absolutely love this sandwich series! They’re all amazing!

6 John April 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm

i love the french dip. i prefer crusty french bread, because the au jus softens it just right. if the bread is too soft before you dip it, then it just gets soggy.

7 Paul April 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

By far my favorite in the series. And the others have looked incredible.

8 jsallison April 17, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Picked up a slicer a while back for under a c note. Quite useful and way better at thinly slicing than I am, regardless of what knife I use. I’m also a fan of simplicity. This one’s a keeper.

9 Daniel April 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

This is sandwich is one of the biggest things that I miss from having moved away from the Chicagoland area, where every hot dog carried these sandwiches. In Chicago, by the way, they are just called a beef, or a cheesy beef if they have cheese on top.

My personal recommendation (from the pizza place where I used to work) is to take the finished sandwich, put shredded mozzarella on top with a little bit of oregano, throw it into the toaster oven until the cheese browns, and then dip and eat. It cannot be beat. But then, I am from Chicago, so everything is better with cheese.

10 Jim Rouse April 18, 2013 at 4:46 am

After you take the meat out to rest (which I would do for at least 20 minutes for that weight of beef) you should pour half a glass of red wine (or some of the stock) into that skillet and put it back on the hob to de-glaze the pan and get all those lovely browning flavours back. Then pour this back into your jus.

If you want to learn the *theory* behind meat and gravy, not just a bunch of recipes, get The Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whitteringstall. He’s our (Britain’s) best kept secret when it comes to manly cooking.

11 Ted April 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

A favorite of mine! I never could get it quite right. I think the meat slicer is key here.

The final hurdle is the bread. All of the big box stores have suppliers that have lost the art of bread making.

12 Andy April 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

Love this series.
I’ve been thinking of getting a meat slicer. Any recommendations on a good one for under 100?

13 Jeremy April 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Without question, this is the #1 sandwich thus far in the series for me. Although I thought the breakfast Reuben was good, this is the first GREAT one that has been presented. Awesome job! Is there anything more manly than making YOUR own roast beef, at YOUR own house, in YOUR own kitchen? (Manly growl noise)!!!

14 Damien April 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm

If you want to have a real good meat juice, try to roast your beef in a cast iron casserole (like Le Creuset). Put it with very little water and the seasoning inside an oven at high temperature, with the lid on of course! If you remember to sprinkle some of the juice regularly onto the meat, it will glaze and caramelize due to the Maillard reaction: just delicious, and the residue will be super rich and flavoured! (tried and tested)
Cheers!

15 Christian May 3, 2013 at 4:08 am

After having homemade roast beef, I can’t bring myself to call the store bought stuff real meat.

16 Spence May 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Forgot to de-glaze the pan with bourbon??? Then Au jus reduced in skillet. Also, if you have the time it is truly worth dry rubbing the roast with salt etc and letting it sit in the fridge over night. Sort of a dry brine. If you have more time. Aging the roast for up to 7 days (uncovered) in the fridge is also pretty awesome.
I need one of those slicers!

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