Beef On Weck

A specialty of Buffalo, New York – its taverns in particular – beef on weck is roast beef in a kummelweck (“weck”) roll. Kummel means caraway seeds, which are spangled atop the roll along with a large amount of coarse salt. All esteemed purveyors of this sandwich cut the beef to order – preferably rare – in most cases very thin (although there are a few place where it’s thick). Custom demands the sandwich maker dip the top of the roll in a pan of natural gravy before putting it atop the beef. Horseradish is the only possible condiment. According to Charlie Roesch, proprietor of Charlie the Butcher’s Kitchen and third-generation Buffalo butcher, it was beer that inspired the invention of beef on weck. He believes that sometime in the 1880s a now-forgotten local tavern owner decided to offer a sandwich that would induce a powerful thirst in his patrons. He had plenty of coarse salt on hand for the pretzels he served, so he painted a mixture of the salt and caraway seeds atop some hard rolls, cooked a roast and sliced it thin and piled the meat inside the rolls. As a condiment, he served hot horseradish. Slaking the thirst these sandwiches induced, beer sales soared. And Buffalo’s passion for beef on weck – served with fiery fresh horseradish and accompanied by schooners of cold beer – was born.

Restaurants With This Dish

Swiston’s Beef & Keg

TONAWANDA, NY

Broad basket holds sauce-brushed chicken wings along with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks ... must-eat Buffalo honor roll
Bar-Bill Tavern | Must-Eat Buffalo Honor Roll

EAST AURORA, NY

Thin-sliced roast beef is piled into a bun that is plastered with caraway seeds and coarse salt
All Star Sandwich Bar

CAMBRIDGE, MA

Texas Pie Company

KYLE, TX

Charlie the Butcher

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY

Dandelion’s Cafe

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC

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