The first time I’d heard (or read, rather) of beef on weck was many years ago in Gourmet magazine. I think it was the Road Food column, and I seem to recall the beef being described as pink and satiny, like rose petals. I remember thinking, wow people who are as into food as I am, and such beautiful prose! I can’t seem to find the exact wuote, so I could be making it all up, in which case I claim the metaphor as my own, dammit! In any case, I was lucky enough to have my ace food mule (aka my girlfriend) visit Buffalo last week, who brought home wings from Anchor Bar and a beef on weck from Schwabl’s. From what i understand, this style of beef sandwich is more about the bread (in this case “weck”), sort of the diametric opposite of Balitmore’s pit beef. The sandwich didn’t hold up to the rigors of travel too well:
The weck was a bit soggy, but the all-important crystal salt and caraway seeds were intact. The roll itself had slightly more substance and chewiness than a kaiser roll, with a slightly denser crumb:
The beef itself was a far cry from whatever it was the Road Food folks were serenading – slightly-thick-ish slices of well done beef. It was definitely roasted and not some commercial pre-made stuff, but still it was a tad dry, and very lean. I’m guessing it was top round:
Anyway the meat had decent beefy, roasty flavor, but no real discernible seasoning. That is apparently the weck’s job, and I gotta say, though the roll would be way too salty on its own, combined with the bland beef it was a pretty winning combo. The caraway added a bit to flavor of course, but the salt was really the star – it’s a clear, crystal salt that has a very clean flavor and a texture that’s somewhere between crispy, crunchy and sorta icy. Very enjoyable. It seems some believe the salt on Schwabl’s weck is sea salt, but I couldn’t find any conclusive answers.
The only problem was on my particular bun, the salt was unevenly distributed, which resulted in some too salty and some bland bites. I’m hoping this was anomalous. Also, and I don’t know if this is a regional thing or an intentional consideration (re the salt on the weck), but the sandiwch had very evenly stacked meat, i.e. was not mounded - something that I really appreciate.