There's no dish that reminds me of my hometown more than juicy, sloppy Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches. Chi-cahhh-go. Daaaaa Bears. Daaaa beef.
If I had to think of the perfect tailgating food to it'd be those same Italian Beef sandwiches. I've been a Chicago Bears fan all my life, they started their 1985 Super Bowl run shortly after I was born, and I can remember Sundays devoted to hanging out with family, watching the game, and getting scared when everyone would start cheering at a good play. When I moved to Indiana to go to school, I especially felt homesick when watching the game and missing a good Italian meal.
The recipe is from my mother-in-law (who also has a great homemade giardiera recipe). While the traditional recipe calls for sliced beef, this uses a pulled beef roast that's been cooked for hours and hours and hours. And hours. The recipe is perfect for tailgating or noon games: you start it the night before and it's ready when you wake up. You can easily grab the whole crock pot and bring it with you to the game.
When it's done, you'll have meat that is so tender it falls right apart, and if you do it the right way, a sandwich that falls right apart. Soak your bread with the juices to really make it Chicago style - the wetter the better!
I had three sandwiches the day after I made this: breakfast Italian beef, lunch Italian beef, and dinner Italian beef. They're that good.
If you've ever lived in or been to Chicago, this recipe will take you and your tailgating crew right back. GO BEARS!