Beef On Weck Sandwich – A Buffalo, New York Favorite

The Beef On Weck Sandwich—hand carved, rare roast beef on a Kummelweck Roll (top half dipped in au jus), with a dollop of sinus-clearing horseradish—is one of the oldest signature foods of Buffalo, New York.  It is now served in other parts of Western New York and beyond.

We have searched the Internet and our library of sandwich books for the origin of the Beef On Weck.  Here’s one version:

A German Baker, William Wahr, immigrated to Buffalo from Germany and created the Kummelweck Roll—similar to a Kaiser Roll but with salt and caraway seeds baked on top.  A local pub owner, wanting his customers to drink more, used the salty roll to create the Beef On Weck Sandwich.

Another version of the sandwich’s origin, according to John Guenther, great-grandson of Joe Gohn (and we paraphrase):

Just before the 1901 Pan American Exposition, in Buffalo, NY, Joe Gohn bought a small saloon / boarding house he called the Delaware House.  It was located across the street from the main entrance of the Exposition.  Joe decided to serve roast beef sandwiches and cold beer to the boarders and travelers to the Expo.  Joe had a German baker making the rolls and the baker suggested caraway seeds and salt on the rolls like they prepared them in Germany—Kummelweck Rolls.

A Beef On Weck Sandwich is simply delicious.  It’s nutritious and not too high in calories if you keep the amount of roast beef to about a half-inch (that’s just about right anyway).

The Kummelweck Roll gives the sandwich its unique, distinctive taste.  It is similar to a Kaiser roll but, as already noted, is topped with kosher salt and caraway seeds baked onto the top.  Dip the top half of the roll in au jus (the juices should flow just a bit when biting).

A Beef On Weck Sandwich is typically accompanied with a dill pickle and French fries.  If you’re watching your weight, skip the fries.

Here’s a recipe we adapted from several sources including the Food Network, Roadfood Sandwiches by Jane & Michael Stern, All Recipes and Whats Cooking In America:

Beef On Weck Sandwich Recipe (Makes Two Sandwiches)


  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • 10 ounces of thinly sliced, rare roast beef
  • 2 Kaiser Rolls (or bake your Kummelweck Rolls from scratch)
  • 1/2 cup of prepared au jus (reserved from roasting the beef
  • 1 tablespoon or more of horseradish (we like Gold’s Extra Hot)
  • 2 teaspoons of corn starch


Boil 1/2 cup of water.  In the meantime, dissolve the corn starch into 1/4 cup of warm water.  Add the cornstarch solution to the boiling water.  Return to a boil and let the solution thicken.  Cool this solution in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Split the two Kaiser rolls and place them on a baking sheet.  Brush the tops of the rolls with the cooled cornstarch solution. Combine the salt and caraway seeds and sprinkle on top of the roll tops.  Place in oven for about 3 minutes or until the caraway and salt dry onto the roll tops.

Heat your au jus in a saucepan and simmer.  Dip the sliced roast beef in the au jus and then place on bread bottoms.  Top with horseradish and dip top half of rolls in the au jus before covering and completing your Beef On Weck.  Eat!

Nutrition Facts (per sandwich)

  • Calories  494 – From Fat 164
  • Total Fat  18g – Saturated Fat 18g – Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 118 mg
  • Sodium  2182
  • Total Carbohydrate  36g
  • Protein  43g

This sandwich is a good source of Calcium and Iron.  If you suffer from hypertension or are on a low salt diet, please reduce or eliminate the kosher salt from your Beef On Weck Sandwich.

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  1. [...] people love putting a dollop of horseradish on their steamy roast beef sandwich (please read  our Beef On Weck Sandwich post). This natural taste-enhancer may also be a useful food [...]

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