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Most tourists, having done some research on Chicago delicacies, order their Italian beef sandwiches “wet,” meaning that a slosh of extra meat gravy is dumped over the beef once it is in the bread.

Stacey Ballis

If you’ve ever been to Chicago you know, there’s nothing quite like an Italian Beef Sandwich to round out a perfectly good day at the stadium. If you’re a real aficionado you know that wet isn’t the appropriate way to order it at all, instead, you order it ‘dipped,’ and get ready for one of the most delicious meals of your entire life. Italian Beef Week is a tribute to this incredible sandwich and its history, as well as the important role it plays in the life of the Windy City.

History of Italian Beef Week

The Italian Beef sandwich has a history that stretches a fair distance back through Chicago’s past and has become one of the iconic pieces of Chicago cuisine that makes the city’s culture what it is.

It all started with beef that lean, tender, and low in fat and mixed with an array of spices and seasonings that are nearly as closely a guarded secret as the right way to eat it. This delicious concoction is then slathered between two slices of Italian Bread and served up as the customer wants it.

The right way, as we mentioned above, is to have it dipped. If you’ve never had a dipped Italian Beef Sandwich, you’re in for a bit of a treat, but take warning. Proper consumption of an Italian Beef Sandwich requires you to take that freshly dipped treat and grasp it firmly in both hands.

Now place your elbows on the table in front of you, and start leaning over to eat. Any other method is going to result in your sandwich baptizing your front with rich au jus. Just keep eating until you’re done, don’t try to stop or the whole thing will fall apart.

That’s how you eat an Italian Beef Sandwich.

How to celebrate Italian Beef Week

Well, the only proper way to celebrate Italian Beef Week is to get yourself a fresh and tasty Italian Beef Sandwich. Not in the Chicago area? Not a problem! You can find hundreds of recipes online to show you how to prepare your Italian Beef in a way that will take you on a taste bud fueled trip to the windy city.

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