We have been getting a lot of meal kits lately, but this Italian Beef meal kit topped my list when it came to anticipation and pure fun. Pandemic times got the Khan squad embracing meal kits and even when this mess is over . . . I don’t think it’s gonna stop. Cheaper than going out while offering an opportunity to embrace a new edible experience, Meal Kits offer up a fair trade of less waste for an acceptable elevated cost. Sure you can get all the ingredients cheaper at the grocery store but the process involves more time and more waste.
So Jeff Mauro and I go way back. Recently he introduced Mauro Provisions, an online butcher box shop where you can thick steaks, fat chops and fun as hell meal kits like the Italian Beef Meal Kit. The star of the show could very well be the Giardiniera, an Italian relish, but I’ll get to that later. Now, onto da beef!
Unlike that climactic moment in Se7en, when you open the Italian Beef Meal Kit box you are greeted with 2lbs of Prime grade Italian Beef, four links of spicy and four links of mild Italian sausage, 2lbs of the au jus(seasoned beef broth), a jar of giardiniera, and 8 rolls. It all comes shipped to your door frozen, so plan on about two days of defrosting before you’re ready to dig in. Instructions included as well.
Pretty much the most cooking you will be doing is the sausage. FWIW, my go to is browning the links over medium heat in a cast iron skillet till I get some nice color and finishing in a 300 degree oven. Be sure you preheat the oven and grab an instant read thermometer. They are done when they hit 165 degrees. Some say 160 degrees and the great Michael Ruhlman recommends 150. Just make sure you take the step of taking the temp. A juicy sausage with snap is a thing of beauty.
I have had some epic Italian Beefs in my day. Most recently(prior to pandemic) I tried the highly regarded Johnnie’s Italian Beef in Chicago. That sandwich is ridiculously good and damn cheap. As good as that is, it’s in Chicago and I’m in Austin. And even if I was in Chicago, it would still stand second to the sandwich I “made” from the Mauro Provisions Italian Beef meal kit.
In both cases the au jus delivers, but the marbling of the beef in the Mauro Provisions meal kit is a stand out. But even more so is the giardieniera. Now I have not made my own but I will say that this giardieniera is leaps and bounds above any other I have purchased at the store or what has graced my beefs at any joint.
My only beef is with the sausage. It’s powerfully seasoned but its a finer grind that I like. I love coarse ground sausage. And I stand firm on that like I stand tall for every world championship the St. Louis Cardinals have won.
I think I ate three of these sandwiches in one sitting but ultimately the Italian Beef Meal kit is for a crowd. PS – I only cooked 4 of the sausage links. I think 8 adults could finish this off but for Italian Beef lovers or guys like me . . . 6. At this point it’s fair to say this isn’t cheap: the kit is $130 plus there is shipping. But frankly . . . matching this quality would be a feat in Chicago, let alone the rest of the country.
One thing I’ll add that really makes the Italian Beef Meal Kit an overall excellent experience is the attention to details in the instructions. “don’t boil the au jus”, “simmer the beef off heat”, and most important “wrap the sandwich in parchment paper” before eating. That little detail made the experience. And it’s those details that make a sandwich fit for a king.
Check out the full line up at Mauro Provisions. And in case you’re wondering, this aint a sponsored post. Despite my deep personal bias against Jeff for all the times he wore a Cubs jersey(maybe twice), this Italian Beef meal kit, and especially the giardiniera is worth da bucks.