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The Best Beef on Weck (Traditional Buffalo Recipe)

Next to Buffalo Wings, Beef on Weck is probably the most loved food in and around Buffalo, New York. It is a delicious roast beef sandwich topped with prepared horseradish and served on a kummelweck bun.

A roast beef sandwich on a weck roll.

Beef on Weck is a Buffalo tradition so you can’t come here and not have one of these amazing roast beef sandwiches that are such an integral part of the Western New York food scene. Unfortunately, outside of the western NY region, you will be hard-pressed to find an authentic Beef on Weck sandwich.

A True Beef On Weck

Don’t be fooled by imposter sandwiches.  This is not just another French dip.  There are only 4 components to a true Buffalo Beef on Weck and the combination is what creates the amazing flavor experience:

1. The roast beef, which should be rare and sliced as thin as possible.

2. The classic sandwich is made with a kummelweck roll, which is topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds. The type of bread you use makes a difference. These rolls have a distinct flavor, almost like a pretzel, that tastes incredible with the roast beef!

3. The bread must be moistened with au jus and

4. Prepared Horseradish is spread on the beef.

It is that simple.  There is no mayonnaise, no onions, or any other ingredients on an authentic Beef on Weck. 

I am so glad that I made this Buffalo classic from scratch. The tender beef is cooked to perfection and the rolls are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. I must say that this was one of the best roast beef sandwiches that I have ever had.

For my Buffalo friends, once you try this recipe, it will become the standard that you compare all other Beef on Weck sandwiches to.

If you want to try some slightly different flavors on your beef, you will love my Top Round Roast recipe with an Italian herb seasoning or my oven roasted slow cooked Bottom Round Roast.

Kummelweck Roll Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: You can use bread flour in this recipe. Bread flour will make the dough a little drier and you may not need the extra 1/4 cup of flour that the recipe calls for.
  • Active Dry yeast: You will need two rises using the active dry yeast. You can use Instant Yeast instead. If using instant yeast, it can be combined with the flour before mixing into the wet ingredients. Then you will only need to let the dough rise once before forming the rolls.
  • Caraway seeds:  Caraway is essential if you want to make authentic Kummelweck rolls.
  • Kosher or coarse sea salt:  The salt on the buns is another important ingredient in the sandwich if you want the full flavor experience.

Roast Beef Ingredients

  • Round Roast:  I recommend using a top round roast if possible.  Of the round roast options, it is the most tender.  The Bottom Round is usually used for making deli roast beef. The deli can slice the beef much thinner than I can with my carving knife.  So since I don’t have a deli slicer, I opt for a more tender piece of meat.  
  • Beef Stock:  If you have homemade stock by all means use it, but store-bought stock or even broth will work just as well in this recipe. 

Recipe Instructions

To Make the Rolls

4 photos showing the steps for making kummelweck rolls.

The right roll is very important to making the perfect beef on weck and it is so worth making them scratch.

  1. Combine the ingredients to make the dough.
  2. After the dough rises, form it into eight even rolls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Brush the rolls with an egg white wash.  Use a knife to score the tops of the buns and sprinkle them with kosher salt and caraway seeds.
  4. Bake the rolls at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, remove them from the oven, and mist them with water, then return them to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

Tips for Making the Rolls

  • This is a wet sticky dough when you first turn it out of the bowl. As you knead the dough, add enough flour to make the dough tacky but not sticky.
  • Make sure to let the bread rise for the right amount of time. You won’t be disappointed!
  • Use a very sharp-tipped knife to score the tops of the rolls with crescent-shaped slits.
  • Set your timer to 10 minutes to check the rolls for doneness. Because they bake at a high temperature they may brown quickly.

How to Make the Roast Beef

3 photos showing the process of seasoning a roast beef, cooking it and slicing it.
  1. Season the beef.
  2. Place the beef in a roasting pan and roast until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees f.
  3. Slice the beef as thin as possible.
  4. Combine the pan drippings with your beef stock and warm it up on the stove to make the au jus.  

Tips for Making the Best Beef on Weck

  • When cooking the roast beef, use an instant-read thermometer set to 125° f for rare. This will make sure the beef is cooked perfectly.
  • Tent the beef and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing it.
  • Season the beef.
  • Place the beef in a roast bake and cook until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees.
  • Slice the beef as thin as possible.
Rare roast beef layered on the bottom of a roll and the top of the roll with horseradish spread on it.

Assemble Your Beef on Weck Sandwich

  • Cut the beef into thin slices so that it is easier to eat.
  • Dip the cut side of your roll in the warm au jus sauce. It provides more beefy flavor and moistens the sandwich.
  • Pile the sliced beef on the bottom portion of the roll and top it with horseradish.  
  • The horseradish is one of the most important parts of the sandwich. An authentic sandwich does not use a horseradish sauce.  It is just prepared horseradish. Make sure it is fresh so you get the nice tangy flavor and a tingle in your nose! That’s when you know you made it right!  Warning, if you have never had fresh horseradish before it can be hot and the tingle up your nose can be painful, but that is how we like it!
A roast beef sandwich cut in half on a wooden surface with sliced roast beef and homemade rolls.

What to Serve with this Buffalo Specialty

This Beef on Weck recipe is a great game-day menu item. When we are watching a Buffalo Bills football game at home, we like to serve these sandwiches alongside other party favorites like Baked Italian SlidersBarbecue WingsBuffalo chicken wing dipItalian Nachos, and a platter of fresh vegetables. If you order Beef on Weck in a restaurant it will typically be served with French fries or potato chips. And it is always excellent with Steak Fries and a nice cold beer!

FAQ

What is Kummelweck?

Kummelweck buns are a type of Kaiser rolls that are topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds. They are baked in high heat to create a dark outer crust with a distinct taste. These rolls are easy to come by in Western NY, but they are hard to find in other parts of the country. Kummel means caraway and weck means roll in German. 

Can I use deli roast beef to make Beef on Weck?

Yes, you can. If don’t have time to make the roast beef yourself, go ahead and get some rare to medium rare sliced roast beef. Be sure to ask them to give you some au jus so you can dip the bread in it. If you can’t get au jus, use warm beef broth or beef stock to moisten your sandwich.

Can you use a different type of roll?

You can use a Kaiser roll but you will miss out on the flavor experience from the kummelweck roll. If you use the Kaiser roll, mist the top with water, sprinkle coarse salt and caraway seeds on them and bake them at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes.

How did Beef on Weck originate?

This classic Buffalo area sandwich originated around the late 1800s and became popular during the Pan American exposition.  A Buffalo hotel called the Delaware House was where it all started.  The owner thought it would be a good idea to have roast beef sandwiches available for travelers coming to his hotel and a German baker who was working there suggested putting the thinly sliced slow-roasted rare roast beef on a salty kummelweck roll!

Roast beef sandwich with chips and pickles in front of a Buffalo Bills football.
Beef on Weck Sandwich

Looking for Other Game Day Foods? Try One of These Delicious Recipes:

Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings with Garlic & Parmesan

Easy Mexican Style Turkey Chili

Oven Barbecue Wings

Easy Stromboli

Baked Roast Beef Sliders

I love to get your feedback so if you tried this Beef on Weck recipe or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below.  I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!

You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest for more recipes your family will love!

Roast beef sandwich with chips and pickles in front of a Buffalo Bills football.

The Best Beef on Weck (Traditional Buffalo Recipe)

A Buffalo NY specialty, Beef on Weck is a delicious sandwich of tender roast beef on a Kummelweck roll, with au jus and horseradish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Rise time for the rolls 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 690 kcal

Ingredients
  

Kummelweck Rolls

  • tsp. Dry active yeast
  • 1 cup Water warm
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • ½ tbsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Honey
  • 2 Egg whites large
  • 3 – 3¼ cups All purpose flour + 2 teaspoons
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Salt Coarse
  • Caraway Seeds

Roast Beef

  • 3.5 lb. Top Round Beef or Eye of Round
  • 1 tsp. Salt kosher
  • ¼ tsp. Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 cup Beef broth or stock
  • cup Horseradish Prepared

Instructions
 

  • Kummelweck Rolls
  • Combine ¼ cup of warm water and the yeast in a small bowl. Let the yeast bloom for about 5 minutes until it is foamy.
  • Mix the remaining 3/4 cups of warm water, vegetable oil, honey, sugar, ½ tsp. salt and one egg white in a large bowl, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
  • Add 1 ½ cups + 1 teaspoon of flour to the bowl and mix well.
  • Mix in the yeast.
  • Then add in another 1 ½ cups + 1 teaspoon of flour and mix just until the flour is completely absorbed.
  • Turn the dough out on to a floured surface. The dough will be very sticky.
  • Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, incorporating the remaining ¼ cup of flour.
  • The dough should be tacky but not sticky.
  • Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover loosely with a towel. Place in a warm spot. Allow to rise for 1 hour.
  • Punch the dough down and allow to rise for 30 more minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 8 even pieces.
  • Form the dough into rolls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Cover the bread with a towel and allow to rise again for another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Beat the remaining egg white and 1 tbsp. of water.
  • Brush the rolls with the egg white mixture.
  • Using a very sharp knife, start in the center of the roll and cut 4 crescent shaped slits on the top of the rolls.
  • Sprinkle with the coarse salt and caraway seeds
  • Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven and sprinkle or spray with water.
  • Return the rolls to the oven and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes or until the rolls are nice and brown.
  • Remove the rolls and allow to cool on a rack.

Roast Beef

  • Preheat the oven to 450°.
  • Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder together and sprinkle on all sides of the beef.
  • Place the beef on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue to roast until the internal temperature of the beef registers 125°-130° for medium rare.
  • Remove the beef from the oven and tent. Allow the beef to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Place the beef on a cutting board and using a sharp carving knife cut into thin slices.
  • Add the beef stock and any pan juices to a small sauce pan and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the Beef on Weck

  • Slice the roll in half. Using tongs to grab the roll, dip the inside of both pieces of the roll in the au jus. You can also spoon the au jus on both portions of the roll.
  • Pile the sliced roast beef on the bottom of the roll.
  • Spread horseradish on the beef or on the inside of the top portion of the roll. Place the top of the roll on the beef and dig in!

Nutrition

Serving: 8gCalories: 690kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 56gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 878mgPotassium: 849mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 9mg
Keyword Roast Beef, Kummelweck rolls, Horseradish, Sandwich, Buffalo,
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Tom if you are cooking your meat to 125 degrees F you can figure about 15-20 minutes per pound. Then let it rest before slicing it.

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