November 20

JOHNNIE’S BEEF

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Johnnie’s Beef is a walk-up Italian beef sandwich, sausage, and hot dog stand. It’s located in Elmwood Park, Illinois off of the always busy North Avenue. If there is a sandwich that describes a city, the Italian Beef sandwich is the mascot for Chicago. Besides beef, you can order their Italian sausage that is cooked over coals that you can smell a mile away and what a wonderful aroma it is! In my opinion, charred pork should really have its own candle line. It is that one spot that brings me back to my childhood – trust me it’s that good. If you do not believe ask the people in line because there is always a line!

For your first time at Johnnie’s this is what I suggest:

· Italian beef sandwich with sweet peppers– the roast beef is perfectly seasoned, thinly sliced and lays in its own jus that bursts with flavor.  When ordered, it is scooped up from the jus and placed into a piece of fresh Italian bread. I would recommend that you ask for the beef to be dipped (which you should) and topped with sweet peppers. You can also ask for hot peppers, but I prefer the sweet. This sandwich packs so much flavor from the natural juices and then with the addition of the jarred sweet peppers, it adds that vegetable flavor to the spicy, salty, and delicious beef.  It really makes this one hell of a sandwich.

· Italian sausage sandwich – is a deeply charred, spicy Italian sausage on an Italian bread roll. The pork is charred on the outside but still juicy in the middle with a touch of spice. For the pork lovers out there it’s all you need. You can skip the peppers and the condiments. Eat it plain.

· French fries – I have to mention them right? Who wants a sandwich without fries? Shoestring French fries, perfect alone or tossed on your sandwich.

· Italian ice –Italian lemonade. Its sweet, refreshing, and perfect to wash down all that bread and meat.

What I Order when I make the trip to Johnnie’s Beef, that one item you just cannot pass up…the Italian beef sandwich with sweet peppers. It’s one of those five-dollar sandwiches that make you think why would I ever pay big money for a steak when I could have this. It’s delicious! Plain and simple. Have a nice day!


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  1. I used to go here as a kid when I would visit my family in Chicago! Could never remember the name of the place but seeing this pic brought back all the memories! Great sandwiches!!

  2. It's hard to beat an Italian Beef Sandwich. I haven't been to Johnnie's, but I've been to about 10 other Italian Beef stands in Chicago, including some of the more famous ones.

    I started reading your review with a mini-test for you–which you passed. Would you recommend that the sandwich be dipped? You did.

    I usually have mine dipped twice, but with no peppers. The bread should be falling apart by the time you are getting to the last pieces of beef.

    BTW, I have been making a very juicy pulled pork with Italian beef seasonings to eat at home, with enough to freeze some for later.

    PULLED PORK, Italian Beef Style:

    1. Remove a bit of the fatty skin and pan roast two pork tenderloins. Brown them briefly in a tablespoon or two of butter or oil in a large pan or pot and then reduce to low heat (covered).
    2. Add a package of dry au jus sauce, a package of dry Italian beef seasoning, and one bay leaf, along with some unsalted beef stock (or broth) to keep them from burning or drying out. If you want it spicier, you can add a second package of Italian beef seasoning.
    3. When the tenderloins are cooked enough to shred them by fork, remove one at a time and use two forks to pull then apart, cutting them into smaller pieces when needed.
    4. Return the pulled pork to the pan/pot and add enough stock/broth to generate a lot of juice. Stir and bring the pot to a boil and remove from heat.
    5. Serve on Italian or French bread dipped in juices, on a bun, or by itself in a bowl.

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