As my travels have taken me through Buffalo some two dozen times this year, I thought it would be appropriate to tip my cap to this grand city by the lake. Buffalo taught me a number of things this year, including the fact that it doesn’t REALLY always snow in Buffalo – in fact, I didn’t see a lick of snow the entire winter.
Another thing I learned, is that despite the rest of the country believing that the spicy chicken wing is the be-all and end-all of Buffalo’s culinary contribution to the nation – this is absolutely and entirely false. Buffalonians keep their tastiest cuisine somewhat of a secret. Meet the “Beef on Weck”.
When I suggested to my buddy(and former Buffalonian) Howie that we whip up a batch for dinner one night, he was all game (read: wall to wall Bills paraphenalia).
Beef on Weck is effectively a specialized beef sandwich. Weck is short for kummelweck, a combination of the German words kümmel (caraway seed) and weck (roll). It is the roll that makes the sandwich unique. Made only in the Buffalo-Rochester area, the kummelweck is basically a kaiser roll topped with lots of kosher salt and caraway seeds. Inside, very thinly sliced roast beef is piled high, and the whole thing is served “au jus”. The beef is then topped with sinus-clearing horseradish.
The closest thing I could compare the experience to is that of eating sushi. The salty, in your face kaiser toppings, and the spicy horseradish, immediately reminded me of the soy sauce and wasabi experience with sushi. And just like the first time you try sushi, once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked for life.
Buffalo – thank you for your hospitality, but more importantly, your Beef on Weck!
Beef on Weck
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 x 4 pound eye of round roast, or equivalent
Salt & black pepper, to taste
1 cup beef broth
8 kaiser rolls
1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons pretzel salt or kosher salt
6 ounces prepared horseradish
1 cup au jus gravy, reserved from roasting the beef
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water, warmed
- Put oil in a skillet, season roast with salt and pepper and brown on all sides.
- Place roast in crockpot and add 1 cup of beef broth. Cook on low for 8 hours. Slice thin!
- Combine coarse salt and whole caraway seed. Heat 1 cup water to a boil. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup warm water and add to boiling water. Return to a boil and thicken until it coats a spoon.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- To make kummelweck rolls, take 8 rolls and place on baking sheet. Brush top of rolls with cornstarch solution and sprinkle with seed mixture. Place in oven for 4 minutes or until kummelweck dries.
- For the Beef on Weck: drizzle au jus on bun halves, layer on roast beef and top with a good smear of horseradish. Traditionally served alongside fries and a dill pickle spear.