The History of Beef on Weck: A Buffalo Classic
Buffalo, New York is known for many things – its snowy winters, passionate sports fans, and of course, the famous Buffalo wings. But there is another culinary delight that has been a staple in Western New York for over a century – the beef on weck sandwich.
The history of beef on weck can be traced back to the late 1800s, when German immigrants settled in Buffalo and brought with them their love for hearty, meaty sandwiches. The sandwich was originally known as “beef on kummelweck,” with “kummelweck” referring to the traditional roll it was served on. The roll, also known as a kaiser roll, is topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds, giving it a unique flavor and texture.
The exact origin of the beef on weck sandwich is a bit of a mystery, with several restaurants in Buffalo claiming to have created it. One popular theory is that it was first served at the now-closed Schreiber’s Delicatessen in downtown Buffalo. Another theory credits the creation of the sandwich to Charlie Roesch, the owner of the now-famous Charlie the Butcher’s Kitchen. Regardless of its exact origins, one thing is for sure – beef on weck has become a beloved and iconic dish in Western New York.
The key to a delicious beef on weck sandwich is, of course, the beef. The traditional cut of beef used is top round, which is slow-roasted and thinly sliced. The meat is then piled high on the kummelweck roll and served with a side of au jus for dipping. The combination of the tender, juicy beef and the salty, crunchy roll is what makes this sandwich a true Buffalo classic.
But what sets beef on weck apart from other sandwiches is the attention to detail and the use of high-quality ingredients. The kummelweck roll is not just any ordinary roll – it is baked fresh daily and sprinkled with a generous amount of caraway seeds and coarse salt. The beef is also carefully selected and prepared, ensuring that each bite is full of flavor.
In addition to the traditional beef on weck sandwich, there are also variations that have become popular in recent years. Some restaurants offer a turkey on weck, using the same concept but with sliced turkey instead of beef. Others have added their own twist, such as adding horseradish or other toppings to the sandwich. However, purists will argue that the original beef on weck is the only way to go.
The popularity of beef on weck has spread beyond Western New York, with many restaurants across the country now offering their own version of the sandwich. However, it is still considered a quintessential Buffalo dish and is a must-try for anyone visiting the area.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional and regional cuisine, and beef on weck has been at the forefront of this movement. It has become a symbol of Buffalo’s rich history and culture, and many locals take pride in introducing visitors to this delicious sandwich.
In conclusion, the history of beef on weck is a testament to the diverse and vibrant culinary scene in Western New York. From its humble beginnings in the late 1800s to its status as a beloved Buffalo classic, this sandwich has stood the test of time and continues to be a staple in the local food scene. So the next time you find yourself in Buffalo, be sure to try a beef on weck and experience a true taste of Western New York.