Monday, December 21, 2020

"beef on Weck"

The New York sandwich known as the beef on Weck—beloved of the working class, especially around the Buffalo area—was what we got served today in a surprise pre-Christmas luncheon.  My coworker's chef of a wife, apparently feeling festive, made the sandwich elements, and my coworker carted them to the office.  The "Weck" refers to the Kummelweck bread, a large bun or dinner roll (or, in our case, a slider roll) topped with caraway seeds (the seeds that give rye bread its distinctive flavor) and flaky salt.  The beef itself is to be sliced thin and served fairly rare; as with a French dip, there's supposed to be an au jus on the side for you to dip your sandwich into.  Condiments for the sandwich include horseradish (obligatory, according to the lore) and mayonnaise (optional).  Some folks add trimmings like sliced pickles, although based on my experience today, I'd say that I'd go no further than sliced cucumbers:  pickles, with their sour punch, would unnecessarily compete with the horseradish for dominance inside my mouth, and I can tell you right now that beef plus Weck plus horseradish and mayo makes for a harmonious, self-complete combination of flavors.

We didn't have any au jus with our sandwiches today, but that didn't matter:  they were damn good just as they were.  The Missus cooked the beef to a super-tender state, so my coworker apologized because he didn't think the beef was rare enough.  I was fine with the beef, which was succulent; the Missus has good intuitions when cooking Western food, which can be hard to find among Koreans, who are often prone to losing much in translation when they attempt to make Western fare.  I ate my four sliders too fast to think about photographing them, so please click on the above links to see what a classic beef on Weck is supposed to look like, or just hit this Google Images link.  Even better, Chef John has a two-part video to show you how to make your own Kummelweck rolls and how to prep your beef and make the whole sandwich, sides and all.  To wit:

So that's what I enjoyed for lunch today, and it was glorious.  I'm not sure that I've ever had the beef-plus horseradish combination before, but I'm sure I've had dishes that are fairly close in terms of flavor harmony and contrast (e.g., galmaegi-sal with spicy soy-wasabi dip).  I'll have to try making these sandwiches on my own at some point.  Another dish for my ever-lengthening list of things to try before I die.


The Maximum Leader said...

I have had beef on weck in Buffalo. I really love it. Never had it with pickles on the sandwich, always on side.

You have buried the lede though... You've never had beef with horseradish before? Did I read that right? Did I read that right again? Where have you been all this time? Horseradish goes with roast beef perfectly. I will put it on sandwiches I'll make next week with the leftover Christmas roast beef.

Kevin Kim said...

I'd better see the results of your labor on your blog.