Thursday, August 13, 2009

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

I first tried this recipe for Italian Beef when planning Tiny Tot #2's birthday party for incoming family. Our plan was to do a sandwich extravaganza with cold cuts, different spreads, cheeses, veggies, breads --- we wanted everyone to build their ideal sandwich. There is a restaurant in Stevens Point, WI (where I went to school) called Bill's Pizza; they have the most amazing Italian Beef sandwich ever. I miss it a lot and haven't eaten there in a few years now (I moved away from Point in 2006). I was, however, determined to recreate their masterpiece so I could have a little piece of Wisco here in my new home in MD. This recipe didn't disappoint; I didn't think it would though as it has over 700 reviews and 4.5 stars on allrecipes.com! I only made one change to it as it appeared originally, and that was to add 2 packets of Italian dressing seasoning instead of just 1. Well, that and my roast was slightly smaller than 5 lbs.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef
From allrecipes.com

3 c. water
1 tsp. of each of the following: salt, ground black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, onion salt, dried parsley and garlic powder
1 bay leaf
2 packets dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 (5 lb.) rump roast

Combine water with everything but the meat in a saucepan. Stir well and bring to a boil. Place roast in slow cooker and pour spice mixture over the meat. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 4-5 (mine actually took a little longer on high than this but eventually did get super tender and fork-shredable). Remove bay leaf and shred meat with forks. Place meat back into slow cooker and let it cook for another hour (or more) on low setting to allow meat to absorb flavors. Great served the next day also. I've found that I like this best on crusty bread, and if you top it with crinkle-cut dill pickles, it's just like Bill's! Enjoy!

The spread for the party --- see the slow cooker waaaay at the end? That's the beef!
*I'm sharing this on Life as Mom’s URS (Ultimate Recipe Swap). I'm late, as slow cooking was the theme last week but hey, this recipe is still worth the mention! Her URS's are awesome for great new ideas to try in the kitchen, so stop over and check 'em out if you've got some time.
Here's a quick pic of Buppy with the 2 kiddos getting ready to blow out the candles. I'll have to blog at a later date about that fabulous cake I created....
Here's a picture using the same recipes on a pork roast instead. While it doesn't absorb quite as much flavor as the beef, it's still really, really tasty.

16 comments:

  1. I just have to say - we used to call my brother Buppy, and I've never seen that anywhere else. You sent me on a trip down memory lane. :)
    I've seen lots of versions of Italian Beef, but this one looks better than any of them!

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    1. Thanks! It's really good. Funny about the name - I have NO clue how or when I really started calling him that. Or why. Weird!

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  2. My husband is originally from Steven's Point and crave's Bill's roast beef sandwiches.

    I wanted to recreate the recipe but, being a vegetarian, I wouldn't know how to begin. Thank you for this! I'm so excited to surprise him!!

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    1. I hope it worked out well for you!

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  3. Part of my childhood and college years were spent in Stevens Point. I just was there over the weekend and HAD to have a Bill's hot beef sandwich. It was, as always, divine.

    Wish I had one now.

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  4. My wife is from Point and I lived a few years there too. Bill's is a staple, along with Belts any time we go back. I've tried making the beef several times, and while I've come up with some mighty fine alternatives, they've just not been right. We just got back from there through the holidays and I was determined to figure out what I was missing - - it was the packets of Italian dressing. Thanks for saving my sanity.

    On another note, this method also works great with pork or pork/venison combo. It's like the best southern BBQ around, and adjust the spices to taste. I use red and black pepper, smoke flavor, a bit of chipotle powder, onion powder, mustard seed, salt, and bay leaf. If the meat seems a bit lacking or you are a flavor nut like me, add beef or chicken base to the juices and save the salt for the final adjustment. The final slow cooking process will suck up the juice big time so watch it to make sure it doesn't all go away. I'll also add some olive oil to the meat too. That adds a bit of flavor, but really let the other flavors mingle and explode in your mouth.

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    1. Glad I could help your sanity! The spice blend you mention above sounds like a winner-winner to me! I have a roast in my freezer that's destined for that now. And good call on the chicken or beef base; I too am a flavor nut!

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  5. I'm wondering if there are any of the1960's cooks alive today that really know the original secret receipe of the Italian Senior Beef sandwich. Bill's Pizza is sitting on a golden receipe as good as what Col. Sander's created in the 1950's for chicken and coleslaw. If I was the present owner I wouldn't change anything including the bread and pickles. Then I would franchise this golden sandwich world-wide yesterday. What are they waiting for? Something this good for soooo long must be shared with the rest of humanity. Remember change nothing and go viral with this sandwich and the world will thank you for it.

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  6. Thanks to all for the comments left since I posted. I hope this recipe has yielded great results for all of you, and for the most recent comment (about franchising) --- I agree totally! :o)

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  7. Any idea on how to achieve the consistency of Bill's sandwiches? Their beef is more ground than shredded.

    I also had someone tell me that one of the secrets had to do with pickle juice...

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    1. Funny - I've heard the same thing about the pickle juice but haven't added any to mine. I'm a pickle freak though & don't really see how it could be bad with it. I know what you mean about the consistency, too. I'm thinking a shred of the beef, THEN coarse chopping it? I'm heading home to WI next week. Might have to make a trip to Bill's for another evaluation!

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  8. Any idea on how to achieve the consistency of Bill's sandwiches? Their beef is more ground than shredded.

    I also had someone tell me that one of the secrets had to do with pickle juice...

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  9. Sorry to rain on your parade but, I just made this for family that visited from out of town. I was very disapointed. Of course the family has never had Bill's beef so there was no comparison for them. I on the other hand felt that it did not even come close to Bill's version. I followed the recipe, cooked the beef for 12 hours, then even added more garlic powder. So, now that the left over beef has sat for two days maybe it will added up to Bill's.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear your version didn't turn out. I've made this exact recipe on more occasions than I can count, and everyone whose ever had it raved about it. Even those who have had Bill's agree to the similarity. Better luck with your next recipe!

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  10. Hi! I've been reading your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great job!
    Here is my blog - forgot windows 7 password

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  11. Pickle juice, oh, yes...and from the pickle factory in Pulaski...and, as I remember, though secondhand, from someone who actually worked in the kitchen at Bill's, LOTS of pepper! Oh, Man, the thought of a couple of Senior Beefs makes this old '60's dude H-U-N-G-R-Y...! Best food in the whole world, it'd be my only choice for a last meal! Come Spring...Road Trip!

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