How To Cook Roast Beef For A Banging Roast Beef Sandwich

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There is some disagreement as to the origin of the roast beef sandwich. However, by the 1950's roast beef sandwiches gained popularity in the New England area, particularly around Boston.

Roast beef sandwich, au jus, and green salad on a plate.Banging Roast Beef Sandwich

How To Cook Roast Beef

When you cook roast beef you use a high temperature oven, 450º, and roast it to rare or medium rare. On a meat thermometer or probe thermometer that is between 125 and 130 degrees F, taken at the center of the roast.

If you want a roast that is cooked to medium or well then you need to slow roast the meat, at 300 degrees F.

Round roast on a cutting board.

Remove the roast from the refrigerator about an hour before it goes into the oven.

Seasoned roast in a pan with a probe thermometer.

Season the roast with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Insert a probe thermometer and place in a pan.

Roast beef cooling on a rack.

Roast at 450º F until the thermometer registers 130º F.

Roast beef with the end sliced off, showing the pink color of the rare meat.

That is a beautiful medium rare roast.

Fire Roasted Peppers

Ingredients for fire roasted peppers: poblano chilies and Anaheim chilies.

Ingredients for fire roasted peppers: poblano chilies and Anaheim chilies.

Blackening chilies over kitchen burners.

Place the chilies directly over the burner and roast until blackened.

Blackened chilies resting in a bowl.

Put the chilies in a bowl and cover tightly with film.

Peeled chilies on a cutting board.

Peel the chilies and cut crosswise into thin strips.

Chili strips on a plate.

Roasted pepper strips.

Caramelized onion on a plate.

Caramelized onions.

Stacking the beef on the bread.

Stack the meat on the roll.

Adding the cheese to the sandwich.

Add the cheese slices on top of the beef.

Adding the roasted peppers and caramelized onion.

Top with chilies and caramelized onion and place under a broiler until the cheese begins to melt.

Roast Beef Sandwich

  • Yield: 6 sandwiches
  • Total Time: about 5 hours
  • Engaged Time: about 1 hour
  • Oven 450º F / 230º C


For The Caramelized Onion Rolls - Yield: about 8 rolls

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 40 grams / 3 tablespoons butter
  • 300 grams whole wheat flour
  • 300 grams all purpose flour
  • 12 grams kosher salt
  • 8 grams active dry yeast
  • 360 grams water
  • 60 grams extra virgin olive oil

For The Roast Beef

  • 1 to 1.3 kilogram / 2 to 3 pound eye of round roast, or any cut suitable for dry roasting
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked pepper

For The Fire Roasted Peppers

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 4 Anaheim peppers

For The Scallion Aioli

  • 2 bunches green onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 grams / 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1-1/2 cups grapeseed oil
  • Kosher salt to taste

For The Roast Beef Sandwich

  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 sandwich rolls
  • Scallion aioli
  • 24 slices roast beef
  • 12 slices sharp cheddar
  • 18 slices pepperjack cheese
  • Roasted Anaheim and poblano strips
  • kosher salt
  • Cracked pepper


For The Caramelized Onion Rolls

  1. Melt the butter over a low flame in a small sauté pan. Add the onion, reduce the heat to very low and cook until the onion is golden brown throughout, turning occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer the onions to a platter or plate and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to thoroughly mix.
  4. Add the water, olive oil, and caramelized onion.
  5. Using the paddle mix to just combine everything.
  6. Change the paddle to the dough hook and cover with a clean cloth. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Using the dough hook knead the dough for 5 to 6 minutes.
  8. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and finish kneading the dough, by hand, about another minute.
  9. Form into a ball. Spray the mixer bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough back into the bowl. Spray the top of the dough with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Allow to rise until the dough has doubled in volume.
  11. Transfer the dough back to the work surface and divide into 6 to 8 equal pieces. A scale works marvelously for this purpose. Shape into rolls about 6 inches long by 2 inches wide.
  12. Arrange the rolls on a sheet pan lined with parchment.
  13. Preheat the oven to 425º / 220º C.
  14. Allow the rolls to proof until doubled in volume.
  15. Using a razor blade or very sharp knife make slits across the top of each roll.
  16. Place the rolls in the oven, reduce the heat to 350º F / 175º C, and bake until golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

For The Roast Beast

  1. Remove the roast from the refrigerator about 1 hour before it goes into the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450º F / 230º C.
  3. Coat the roast with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Using your hands rub the salt and pepper into the roast ensuring that you have a heavy but even coating. 
  4. Place the roast on a rack in side a roasting pan and insert a probe thermometer into the end, running through the middle of the roast.
  5. Place the roast in the oven and roast until the internal temperature registers 130º F / 55º C.
  6. Remove the roast and let stand uncovered for 30 minutes.
  7. Place the roast on a clean plate and transfer to the refrigerator.
  8. Add a little water to the roasting pan and place over a medium flame. Using a wooden spatula scrape the pan to loosen any stuck bits and transfer the au jus to a container. Refrigerate until ready to make the sandwiches. 
  9. Allow the roast to cool completely, wrap with film, and refrigerate at least 7 to 8 hours, until thoroughly chilled.

For The Fire Roasted Peppers

  1. You can make fire roasted peppers a number of ways, under a broiler, on a charcoal or gas grill, or over the gas burner on your stovetop. Place on chili over each burner and turn the flame to high.
  2. Cook, turning occasionally, until the entire surface is black.
  3. Transfer chiles to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for 15 minutes. Peel the chiles. Halve them lengthwise and discard the seeds. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips.

For The Scallion Aioli

  1. Clean and rough chop the green onions. Add them to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse the onions into a pulp.
  2. Add eggs and half of the lemon juice. Process until you have a smooth consistency.
  3. Combine the olive oil, canola oil, and grapeseed oil into a large measuring cup with a pour spout. 
  4. Remove the cap and stream the oil into the egg onion mixture. You need to stream the oil in a very fine stream until the mixture develops and emulsion.
  5. Finish by incorporating the remaining oil if any and add salt and lemon juice to taste.
  6. Transfer the aioli to a 1 quart container, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. Then refrigerate.

For The Sandwich

  1. 30 minutes before you are ready to make the sandwiches, place the roast beef in the freezer.
  2. Remove the roast beef from the freezer and slice it, across the grain, in very thin slices. Make certain the slices are very thin.
  3. Preheat your broiler
  4. Slice each roll in half and arrange on a cutting board. 
  5. Spread each side of bread liberally with the aioli.
  6. Stack the roast beef slices in a folded pattern down the length of the bread.
  7. Alternate the cheese slices using 3 slices of pepper jack and 2 slices of cheddar.
  8. Top the cheese with the pepper slices and caramelized onion, dividing the ingredients equally across all of the sandwiches.
  9. Transfer the au jus to a sauce pan and heat through.
  10. Arrange the sandwiches on a parchment lined sheet pan and broil until the cheese melts.
  11. Top the sandwiches and slice in half. Serve with au jus for dipping.


  1. Tip: Make the rolls and aioli a day ahead.
  2. Again, anytime you make a raw egg preparation, such as aioli, there is a risk of salmonella contamination. The acid present in the aioli will kill the salmonella bacteria if it is present, but only if left at room temperature. 
  3. I realize that this is a rather involved recipe for a simple sandwich but it really is worth it. You can go to the store and buy rolls, sliced roast beef, roasted peppers in a can, and mayonnaise. It will probably taste good, but it’s not going to taste like this does and it won’t be a banging roast beef sandwich, it will just be ok.
  4. For the chilies: if you don’t have a gas stovetop preheat your broiler, build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. If broiling, place chiles on a rimmed baking sheet. If grilling, put chiles directly on grill grate. Roast, turning occasionally, until tender and nicely charred all over, 15–20 minutes.

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