We Asked An Expert: Here's How To Make Deli-Worthy Roast Beef Sandwiches At Home

Roast beef is a classic and beloved choice of meat for a sandwich — after all, it's tender and flavorful and definitely deserving of being the star of the show. But how do you make a roast beef sandwich at home that tastes like it came straight from the deli? Tasting Table spoke with an expert — Ron Didner, the owner of Mookie's NY Deli — to find out. According to Didner, a roast beef sandwich made at home can be just as delicious as one from the deli. He explained, "The main difference is that a proper deli has better ovens and grills to make roast beef." Thus, the deli's sandwiches will be more consistent.

So it's possible to make a restaurant-worthy roast beef sandwich at home — but where do you start with such a task? Well, knowing just how to cook it is the first thing to learn. Starting with the cut of meat — because there are three cuts of round roast — Didner recommends the inside round, also known as the top round. Didner said, "It is a leaner cut of beef once the top layer of fat is trimmed off. Always trim the fat after cooking as the extra fat adds flavor."

When it comes to how to cook it, Didner has specific instructions. He said, "Sear the beef on a grill or in a pan five minutes before you roast it in the oven. Cook to an internal temperature of 125 degrees [Fahrenheit] for great rare roast beef. Let the meat rest before slicing it."

How to complete the deli-worthy roast beef sandwich with bread and condiments

Additionally, when it comes to the cook, you may have one lingering question: Does it matter how you cook if you plan to use it for cold sandwiches versus if you plan to eat it hot as a roast? The answer is no. Didner explained, "If done properly there is no difference. You want high quality meat [that] is cooked properly for either." Since you don't need to worry about cooking it differently for the purpose of sandwiches, you can focus on more important details — such as what condiments and bread type to use.

Firstly, condiments — many roast beef sandwiches include horseradish sauce or horseradish mayo, but is it the only option? Didner said, "A horseradish mayo is fine, but I prefer a little [regular] mayo and the succulent taste of the roast beef." For what it's worth, Tasting Table's recipe for a roast beef sandwich with scallions and pickled jalapeños sticks with a simple mix of mayo, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Meanwhile, some people think roast beef sandwiches are made better with mustard. That being said, Didner noted that it ultimately comes down to "personal preference."

As for the bread, Didner suggests seeded rye, but, again, feel free to choose based on personal preference (our recipe uses a baguette). And while Didner didn't specify his preferences for other toppings, feel free to add lettuce, veggies, and cheese as you see fit.