The second most popular food in Buffalo, after the wings of course, is the beef on weck. It's comprised of three parts: the bread, the meat, and the horseradish. If any one of those components is off, the entire sandwich suffers. The kimmelweck roll, or 'weck for short, should be flecked with enough caraway seeds and salt crystals that you hardly need to season the beef since every bite gets flavor power from the bread. The beef should be juicy and pinkish in the middle, with browned edges. Extra points if a guy in a white butcher's coat is carving it. And the horseradish—fresh, grated into mini shreds, and potent.
We drove around the Buffalo area this week and made four beef on weck stops: Schwabl's, Charlie the Butcher, Anchor Bar, and Duff's. Well, we were really just at Anchor Bar and Duff's for the wings, but when we saw the sandwich on the menu, we figured, why not. Becoming a beef on weck connoisseur was pretty fun.
And when we found the best, it was like tasting a muffuletta in New Orleans for the first time. Total sandwich epiphany.