Patriots Buffet Table – Sept 23rd Patriots vs. Bills
Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

This week the Patriots are taking on the Bills. They’re common opponents playing twice a year, and you think you know what to expect by now. In the NFL sometimes the unexpected happens. On the Buffet Table there are no Buffalo Wings this week. We took a hint from the Pats and used a little misdirection. That misdirection will be bad for Losman and the Bills, but it is good for you as we’re serving up another Buffalo specialty, Beef on Weck.

A roast beef sandwich served on a special type of Kaiser roll topped with pretzel salt and caraway seeds. This roll (a Kummelweck), rare roast beef, horseradish and the cooking liquid from the beef make up this Buffalo standard. Easy one this week folks, no not beating the Bills, making this dish.

Head to the grocery store and pick up:
Kaiser rolls
Rare roast beef from the deli, 1/3 pound per sandwich you want to make
Caraway seeds
Kosher salt
Beef stock (low sodium), 1 can, more if you’ll be making a lot of sandwiches
2 eggs
dill pickles

Kummelwecks are only sold in the Buffalo area. The exact name is one of contention, like a submarine/spukie/hero different people use different names for it. But at the Buffet Table it is “Kummelweck”, “Kummel” is German for “caraway seed” and “weck” is German for “roll”. “Kimmel” is Bill Simmons’ friend Jimmy, and “Wick” is a piece of string in a candle. If you haven’t used kosher salt before, it’s a flaked salt instead of granulated. It dissolves more slowly than table salt, so you can use less of it and get the same flavor. Keep the table salt on the table where it belongs and out of your cook pot.

We’ll be making our own Kummelweck. Beat those eggs in a bowl with two tablespoons of water. Brush the egg onto the tops of your Kaiser rolls, then sprinkle them with the kosher salt and caraway seeds. Put the roll tops into an oven at 350 degrees and watch them closely, once the egg is dried the seeds and salt won’t fall off. This will only take a few minutes but each oven will be different. Just don’t turn your back on them or they may burn.

If you want to buy a roast and slow cook it that would be great. Make like Peyton and cut that meat. We’re just going to use deli roast beef. Add your beef stock to a pot and bring it to a boil, back the heat down to a simmer and add your deli roast beef. You don’t want to cook the roast beef, just heat it through.

Lay out the bottom halves of your rolls. Pile on the roast beef high. Add horseradish to taste. Dip the roll tops into your beef stock to complete the sandwich. Put a couple of pickle halves on your plate and you have a Beef on Weck.

For the tailgaters:
Make the rolls up to a day before and put them back into the bag, you can handle everything else while tailgating.

Time for a Drink!

With this sandwich and at this time of the year, we’re going with Octoberfest. The maltiness of the beer will stand up to the beef, and the roast qualities in both the malt and beef will tie in together. Octoberfest isn’t a hoppy beer, so there won’t be a contrast between hops and the saltiness and caraway of the Weck. However there are enough hops to handle the fat in the roast beef.

You may see these beers labeled as Octoberfest (Oktoberfest), Maerzen (Marzen) or Festbier. Marzen is the German word for March and refers to the time the beers were brewed. Oktober is the German word for October and refers to the time you’d drink the last of your Marzen. Festbier, and the ‘fest’ in octoberfest simply refers to the festival where you drink away the last of the stock. That festival started in 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding, and we’re still celebrating it almost 200 years later.

There are a number of small breweries in the Buffalo area, but only the Flying Bison brewing company distributes to New England. Unfortunately I cannot recommend their beers, I haven’t found them to be very good. We’ll be looking outside the Lake Region to the Saranac beers of the F.X. Matt Brewing company. Saranac Octoberfest is a solid, credible example of the style. It is a malty and bready beer and it’s use of Saaz hops adds a bit of spiciness. That spiciness adds an additional match with the spiciness of the horseradish. For those who haven’t tried many beers from anyone but Bud, Miller and Coors, Saranac provides a good introduction. They have made almost fifty different beer styles and most have been good. In addition they usually have a variety 12 pack on the market which changes with the season and features 12 different beers. For about $11 you’ll get to try 12 different beer styles that you may not have tried before. That’s not bad compared to the $7 or more a 6 pack can cost.

Looking to our local New England breweries you will not have any shortage of Octoberfests. Harpoon and Sam Adams have two of the most widely available, you can even get those on draft in chain restaurants. Otter Creek, Thomas Hooker, and Newport Storm all present their own takes on the style. Don’t forget your local brewpubs, most will be featuring an Octoberfest for the season. Salem Beer Works, Trinity in Providence, The Tap in Haverhill, Watch City in Waltham, Portsmouth Brewing Company in Portsmouth, NH, Willimantic and Cambridge House in CT and far too many others to mention are worth checking out. They all sell beer to go in half gallon bottles named growlers that you could pick up on the days before the game.

Further a field, Brooklyn Brewery Octoberfest, Victory Brewing Festbier, and Blue Point Octoberfest are all good American examples of the style. Coming from Germany we have Paulaner, Hofbrau, Spaten and Hacker-Pschorr all bringing to you the same beer served in those giant tents in Munich.