After living in Los Angeles for 26 years, I finally got to try the famous Phillipe’s restaurant in Downtown. This restaurant has been around for ages and has been featured on more than one cooking show as the best original french dip sandwich. They serve lamb, beef or turkey french dip sandwiches that can be double dipped (yes double dipped!) in a savory au jus. The lines can go out the doors, especially during lunch hour, but it’s all worth the wait. I can always go for a tasty French dip sandwich but since I can’t always go to Phillipe’s, I decided to make my own at home. It may not be the original French dip sandwich but this recipe sure delivers!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
When choosing the beef for the sandwich, choose the meat with marbling for the best results. Although a rib eye roast is the best choice, this particular cut can be expensive. I opted for a chuck roast, even if it’s the least desirable because of its leanness. Chuck roasts are best prepared when braised but if cooked over low heat, you can still achieve tender meat.
When cooking your roast, check the internal temperature halfway through the cooking process. If your particular cut is thinner than other roasts, it can be done sooner. My chuck roast was wide and thin rather than thick and compact, allowing it to be done in only 25 minutes. You want a medium-rare on the meat but can cook further if desired. The person I was preparing my sandwiches for wanted a more well-done sandwich so I cooked it an additional 10 minutes.
Now comes the tricky part, slicing the beef. To make a true roast beef french dip sandwich, you want to slice the beef as thin as you can. A slicer would come in handy right about now, but since I’m no fancy sandwich maker, I’ll have to rely on my skills.
While the roast is cooking, prepare the spicy mustard and au jus. I wanted my spicy mustard to scream spicy so I added a good amount of horseradish. Although the sandwich is a signature item on Phillipe’s menu, it’s also their spicy mustard that pleases the crowd. You can say that it’s the American version of wasabi – yes, it’s that spicy.
Dip your rolls, or double-dip them in the prepared au jus and stuff them with a good amount of roast beef. Serve with mustard on the side and you have yourself a roast beef french dip sandwich. Sure there’s a lot of work that goes behind this sandwich, but you can almost call it art to produce such a great meal. A classic sandwich that can never go wrong.
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