Monday Foodie: Beef on Weck

It’s been almost four years since I’ve written about one of my favorite sandwiches, but since I ate two of them this week at two different restaurants, I thought it was time I wrote about it again.

The sandwich is popular in Western New York and It’s called Beef on Weck. This hearty, meat forward sandwich is definitely one of my favorite things to eat when I am visiting family and friends in the Rochester-Buffalo area.

Thinly shaved roast beef is piled high (inches) on a bun that is known as a kummelweck. Hence, the “weck” part of the name. Weck means bread or roll in German. Many immigrants of German heritage settled in Western New York. The kummelweck roll which is a hard roll, like a kaiser roll, but sprinkled with caraway seeds and course salt. Apparently, a local pub owner thought that if customers ate salty rolls paired with roast beef, they’d drink more. The kummelweck roll made its Buffalo debut in the mid-19th century.

And, the sandwich is still going strong! Today, it is considered an iconic Buffalo food staple.

One of the places known for serving delicious kummelweck sandwiches or Beef on Weck, as they are better known, is the Bar Bill Restaurant in East Aurora, New York. We were able to eat there this past Thursday. Crowded enough during the lunch hour that we didn’t eat until 1:30 p.m., it seemed that everyone around us also desired Beef on Weck for lunch.

The beef is so tender that it melts in your mouth. It is typically served with horseradish and I add this variably hot condiment to every Beef on Weck sandwich I eat! It is so delicious! The saltiness of the roll with the crunch and pickle-flavor of the caraway seeds, just adds to the sandwich’s attraction for me.

It’s typically served with a crisp dill pickle spear and chips (sometimes, even homemade, like they were at the Rohrbach Brew Pub in Rochester which I wrote about late last week. Naturally, the saltiness of the beef and bun go great with a locally made craft beer!

Beef on Weck is only one of the iconic Buffalo foodie meals I want to share with you. When we visit, it feels like we eat our way through Western New York seeking out our “must have” meals from the surrounding area between Rochester and Buffalo where we lived for most of our young lives. Putting all these foods in one post occurred to me, but it felt wrong – like I was at a smorgasbord with all my favorite foods and not enough time to give each one proper tasting. Therefore, you can look for a few more foodie posts from me soon!

The problem, however, with Beef on Weck is that you cannot get kummelweck rolls just anywhere. I know we cannot get them in the area I live. I’ve looked, many times, locally to find this special roll. Maybe, one could find kummelweck rolls in Milwaukee but I don’t know. And, Milwaukee is not close to where I live in Wisconsin. This leaves me with learning to make the rolls. Making a “good enough” kummelweck roll will be a summer mission for this WNY foodie who resides in the mid-west! And, to make it really interesting – I’m growing my own horseradish too!

Wish me luck!

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