Welcome to Cutty's Week! Every day this week, we'll be writing about a sandwich from Cutty's, one of our favorite sandwich shops in Boston. Proprietor and chef Charles Kelsey has been kind enough to donate the recipes for his one-of-a-kind creations.
It makes up half of the shop's sales (to keep up with demand, Kelsey roasts 200 pounds of beef every week). It brings customers in from Worcester. It's widely considered the best roast beef sandwich in town—and Boston is a roast beef sandwich kinda town.
"It's a freakin' Big Mac without the lettuce," Kelsey says, who, after more than a year and a half in business, still seems to be gawking at its popularity.
Maybe that's because, as sandwiches concepts go, roast beef is pretty standard.
However, this version is anything but. Kelsey starts by giving a whole beef chuck roll an overnight dry cure with a "secret spice rub," then slow-roasts it in a low oven until it reaches a perfect rosy hue from edge to center.
From there, it's all about layering—a crucial consideration in well-crafted sandwiches, and part of what makes this version the best around. Kelsey slices the beef ultra-thin so that it eats nice and tender; piles it high on a black-pepper brioche bun from Iggy's; and crowns it with sharp cheddar cheese (sliced equally thin), horseradish-spiked Thousand Island, and—packed onto the top where they'll stay crisp—a handful of sweet, oniony fried shallots.
About the authors: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Associate Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances for a number of Boston publications. Mari Levine is a culinary school grad and an online editor at a national food magazine.