Smoked Roast Beef French Dip Sandwich
I knew the first time I ate a roast beef French dip sandwich that I was in love. It’s crazy what memories stick with us from childhood, right? I remember it like yesterday, I had earned some money raking leaves one fall with my buddy and fellow gourmet griller James. After a long day we were hungry enough to eat an old shoe when we rolled into that timeworn Arby’s on Telegraph Road. I ordered the French dip sandwich for the first time and thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Anyway, I’ve loved the roast beef French dip sandwich ever since then and have been making a version of it for years. This one is simple and delicious, and with the help of a deli slicer you can shave the smoked roast beef thin enough to read a newspaper through. Side note: a deli slicer isn’t required for this, but it does make things easier. The downside to a deli slicer is the cleaning and storage, but I use it enough to justify it—at least to myself.
Tips for the Perfect Roast Beef Sandwich:
- Start with a really good bread. I prefer a nice day-old French loaf for this. The day-old factor allows the bun to stand up well to the repeated dipping into the au jus. Fresh bread will work as well, but the day-old stuff is the sweet spot.
- As I mention in my pastrami dip sandwich, don’t scrimp on the cheese. I’m all about saving a buck but store brand provolone cheese should literally be outlawed.
- Build your own horseradish sauce. Trust me on this one.
- For a little different angle on this one: do without the au jus, substitute brie for the provolone, and chiffonade some fresh basil on the melted cheese.
What Cut of Beef Is Best for Roast Beef Sandwiches?
When making the smoked roast beef you can use a number of different cuts. I’ve used tritip roast (which is excellent), top round roast, and on occasion a prime rib roast when you can catch it on sale after the holidays. My favorite for this roast beef sandwich though, is the eye of round roast. I just find the shape, consistency, and price point to be the perfect combination for this sandwich. Keep in mind, the eye of round roast can be tough and lack flavor, but if you follow my recipe for smoked roast beef you’ll be glad you did.
What Condiments Go Best With a Roast Beef Sandwich?
I’ve used just plain mayonnaise in a pinch and mustard works well too. Pickled red onions are also a nice balance to this smoked French dip sandwich. My favorite though, is simple melted provolone cheese and my homemade horseradish sauce. Of course, you can buy the premade horseradish sauce at the market—it’s usually found near the deli section.
In plenty of cases I advocate for store bought ingredients, when they don’t sacrifice quality. But in this case, homemade horseradish sauce is almost a must. Trust me—it’s sooooooooooo good! Of course, we can’t forget the French dip au jus or this wouldn’t be a true French dip. The au jus for dipping is key!
Smoked Roast Beef French Dip Sandwich Recipe
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 5-7 minutes
For the Au Jus:
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup Vidalia onion, finely minced
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp fresh black pepper
2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
How To Make a Smoked Roast Beef French Dip Sandwich
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425° F and while oven is preheating, slice French roll in half horizontally.
Step 2: In a small pan over medium high heat, melt butter along with olive oil. Sauté onion just till it’s translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook while stirring for an additional minute. Add remaining ingredients for au jus, bring to a low boil, then remove from heat.
Step 3: Dip thinly sliced roast beef into hot au jus just to warm it up quickly.
Step 4: Pile roast beef high on the bottom of your bun.
Step 5: Top roast beef with provolone cheese and place on an aluminum foil lined pan. Place in preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese has melted evenly.
Step 6: Add horseradish sauce, slice in half, and serve with warm au jus.
For the Au Jus
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ¼ cup Vidalia onion finely minced
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp fresh black pepper
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 425° F and while oven is preheating, slice French roll in half horizontally.
- In a small pan over medium high heat, melt butter along with olive oil. Sauté onion just till it’s translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook while stirring for an additional minute. Add remaining ingredients for au jus, bring to a low boil, then remove from heat.
- Dip thinly sliced roast beef into hot au jus just to warm it up quickly.
- Pile roast beef high on the bottom of your bun.
- Top roast beef with provolone cheese and place on an aluminum foil lined pan. Place in preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese has melted evenly.
- Add horseradish sauce, slice in half, and serve with warm au jus.