National Italian Beef Day Date in the current year: May 25, 2024

National Italian Beef Day National Italian Beef Day is one of the many unofficial but beloved food days observed in the United States. It celebrates a delicious sandwich that originated in Chicago and has become a staple in Italian-American restaurants throughout the United States.

An Italian beef sandwich is composed of thin slices of seasoned roast beef served on a French roll. It is believed to have been created by Italian immigrants working for the Union Stock Yards in the early 20th century. The Union Stock Yards was Chicago’s meatpacking district; immigrants working there would bring home some of the tougher cuts of beef that weren’t considered desirable by customers.

To make the beef more palatable, they coated it in Italian-style herbs and spices, slow-roasted it, and then slow-simmered the roasted meat in a spicy broth. The roasting made the meat very tender, and the broth gave it flavor. The cooked meat was very thinly sliced and stuffed into fresh bread. The Italian beef sandwich quickly gained popularity, eventually becoming one of the most iconic ethnic foods in Chicago.

Today, Italian beef is made from the sirloin, top round, or bottom round cut. The meat is wet-roasted in broth with oregano, garlic and spices, cooled, very thinly sliced, put back into the reheated broth, and left to sit there for hours. The process results in juicy meat in a rich gravy.

The beef is served au jus (together with gravy) on a long Italian-style roll, which is usually dipped into the broth. Depending on the juiciness, the sandwich can be dry (served on dry bread not dipped into the broth), dipped or wet (quickly dunked into the beef juice), juicy, or soaked (dripping wet).

The Italian beef sandwich is often topped with sauteed Italian sweet peppers or Chicago-style oil-based giardiniera (a spicy relish of assorted pickled vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, celery, and sometimes olives or gherkins). The cheesy beef (cheef) variation of the sandwich is topped with mozzarella, provolone, or sometimes cheddar.

Most Chicago restaurants serving Italian beef sandwiches offer an option of adding a grilled Italian sausage to the sandwich, which is called a combo. The “triple double” variation of the sandwich consists of double beef, double sausage, and double cheese. Less common versions include topping the Italian beef sandwich with marinara sauce or serving the beef on a large croissant.

Italian beef sandwiches are most common in northeastern Illinois where they originated, southeastern Wisconsin, and Northwest Indiana. They can also be found at restaurants, pizzerias, and hot dog stands that have been opened by Chicago expatriates throughout the United States.

National Italian Beef Day was created by Buona, the largest family-owned restaurant chain in Chicago, to promote its original Italian beef sandwich. It is celebrated in May since it is National Beef Month. The best way to celebrate National Italian Beef Day is to treat yourself to a delicious sandwich and spread the word about the holiday on social media.

Remind me with Google Calendar


Unofficial Holidays



National Italian Beef Day, Italian beef sandwich, Italian-American cuisine, unofficial holidays, food days