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The History of Beef on a Weck



Here is a book I recommend


Food: A Culinary History (European Perspectives)  

The Oldest Cuisine in the World: Cooking in Mesopotamia

Helen Brown's West coast cook book  




They wanted to have a sexy name for a roast beef sandwich
so they decided on "WECK" ?

This is a unique sandwich that is a real German-American special. To those around the Buffalo, New York area it is as famous as Buffalo Wings, both dishes originated from this city.

A Weck or Wecken is a Southern German word for roll. In the north they would call it a Brötchen. Actually the "Weck" in this dish is short for Kümmelweck which is like a kaiser roll topped with salt and caraway seeds. Then the sandwich is piled high with roast that is not overcooked, The top bun is dipped in a bit of beef au jus before you top this marvel. Serve it with some french fries a side of hot horseradish, a cup of au jus for dipping, and a dill pickle spear.

If you are around the Buffalo, New York area you can get the real deal, unfortunately it doesn't appear much anywhere else. If you are like me you will likely have to do your own. It is nice that I know Barb Rokitka from Buffalo and she has helped me to learn the art of eating a Beef on a Weck.



The legend has it that in the 1800's an immigrant from the Black Forest had a bar on the waterfront in Buffalo. He wanted to feed his hungry drinking customers so he thought if he put some roast beef on a roll that he remembered from the old world that was topped with coarse salt and caraway seed, that it would make them thirstier and buy more beer!

The sandwich for sure took off and is still popular.

If there was a German counterpart to the French Dip this would be it.

Barb says that her favorite well known restaurant to go for Beef on a Weck is Schwabl's. She says the critical part is three things. 1...The bun must be fresh so it is chewy and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. 2. .Some places put a nice beautiful salt and caraway seed crust, but it ends up being TOOO salty. At schwabl's you get your choice of how you want your meat cooked, from rare to done. Unless you get the bun right it is just another roast beef sandwich.

There are lots of recipes for this caraway roll but I wanted to give you an interesting one that starts as a potato roll. It is the original recipe from a nearby restaurant in the area, Eckl's Restaurant in Orchard Park, N. Y that has been serving Beef on a Weck's for decades. This recipe is dated 1934. Barb also recommends this place.

If you want to do a simple shortcut for the Kümmelweck you can follow this recipe from Charlie the Butcher Restaurant in Buffalo NY. which is to make a glaze and brush it on a store bought Kaiser bun and top with the salt , caraway seed and bake it.
Bobby Flay featured this recipe on his show, Boy meets grill.


Go Here to make Beef on a Weck


Go here to make Kümmelweck Rolls



Recipes and Links

Cobb Salad

Caesar Salad


Links and acknowledgements

Feeding America, historical cookbooks

Online Etymology dictionary

The Penguin Companion to Food
Alan Davidson


Other Recommended Books

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