Apres Ski Lunch at the Cabin- Italian Beef, Chicago Style

We do a lot of entertaining at our cabin in Michigan. Yes,  you probably guessed from the picture below we are in the snow belt. We lure folks to visit the beautiful organic pristine shore of Lake Superior all year around from far and wide but mostly from Illinois and Wisconsin. So after a hard day of skiing, true to our Chicago roots, we love to have Italian Beef Sandwiches. We start it the day before for best flavors. Our good friend Mike came to visit recently and shared his family recipe for Italian Beef. It’s legendary and we are lucky he brought up his pressure cooker and gave us a lesson. So let’s make Italian Beef!

Our Driveway and road in the UP of Michigan

Italian Beef, Chicago Style

We used Beef Shanks with a bone, picking “meaty” pieces of meat is critical to good Italian Beef

Break out the pressure cooker, check the seals, etc

Brown the meat carefully

After the meat is browned, set off to the side while cooking the rest of it.

Deglaze the pot with a little red wine, getting up all those little browned bits, that's where the flavor is.

Layer the browned meat carefully back into the pot

Cover with water and add bay leaves and garlic

Listen for the perfect pitch of the pressure cooker

This is what it should look like when it's done

Separate the meat from the bones, and place in a bowl to chill.

Skim the fat or "tallow" off

In the old days, you would have saved that fat for another use. You can do it if you want to, I won’t tell… (personally, I think a little bit with sauteed onions would be very tasty)

Shred with 2 forks, add additional spices

Now you can turn this into shredded beef for tacos at this point if you want to- just add Mexican spices and you can have dinner for another night when you are not in the mood to cook..

Prepare the buns for toasting, taking out the excess bread

This is a trick I learned from living in New Orleans, they did this a lot for po-boy preparations

Just about ready...

Toast that bread for optimum flavor…

Now if you want my homemade Giardinara recipe click here

Mike’s Famous Pressure Cooker Italian Beef

To print recipe click here


Serves 8

4 lbs beef shanks (arm roast or round bone pot roast cut 1 inch thick works even better)

2 Tablespoons Lea and Perrin

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 cup red wine

1 large or 2 small cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning


Sprinkle Lea and Perrin and onion powder liberally on meat. Pour olive oil in bottom of pressure cooker and heat over medium heat. Brown each piece of meat and set aside until all pieces of meat are browned. Deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup of red wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen all the delicious bits of browned flavor.

Add the meat back in and add enough water to completely cover the meat. Add the garlic and bay leaves. Place the lid of the pressure cooker securely on the pot and turn the heat up until the steam comes out of the stem of the cooker. When the steam comes out, place the  weight on the pressure cooker, turn down to medium high. There should be a steady rhythmic sound twice a second when the proper cooking pressure is reached. The pressure recommended is 15 lbs per square inch. For more info on pressure cooker operations click here or for the traditional weighted model click here.

Cook under pressure 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off cooker and let the cooker cool down.

Lift off the lid and separate the meat from the bones. Take the time to clean the meat from any fat or gristle, this will make a difference in the end result. Place the meat in the bottom of the bowl and strain the remaining liquid over the top. Press the meat down or add a small amount of water to make sure the meat is covered. Cover and let chill until the fat solidifys on top.

The next day skim the tallow or fat from the bowl. Put the meat in a pot to heat up. Shred with 2 forks pulling the meat apart into small pieces. Add the Italian seasoning at this time and gently reheat. Thoroughly shred so there are no chunks. Do not boil for best results.

Serve over toasted rolls; sourdough hoagie rolls with the center bread pulled out works well. Garnish with Gardinara, featured in a previous post.

You can also substitute 1 tablespoon taco seasoning for the Italian seasoning to use the beef for tacos.

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3 Responses to Apres Ski Lunch at the Cabin- Italian Beef, Chicago Style

  1. Mary Peterson says:

    Love reading your blog and appreciate the pearls of cooking wisdom. The photos, though, leave a bit to be desired. Pioneerwoman has some great easy fixes for photos for blogging here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/category/photoshop-actions and here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/category/photoshop-elements Looking forward to your next post!

  2. Condo says:

    thank you for this delicious recipe

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