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


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


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


Texas Pie Company


Charlie the Butcher


Dandelion’s Cafe



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