Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Aug 29, 2012 11:23 AM

Chicago Giardiniera and Sport Peppers

I live in Seattle and I have never been to Chicago.

I am looking to put together Hot Italian Beef Sandwiches for a few friends and I want to order Giardiniera and Sport Peppers (For Hot Dogs).

Who makes the best?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Some of the places that ship Italian Beef sandwiches include the peppers and giardiniera in their packages, such as the "Portillo's Italian Beef Kit" at

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thanks for the info nsxtasy.

      I wanted to put together the beef and I have great bread, just looking for jars of the best Giardiniera and Sport Peppers.

      I have thought about making Giardiniera but I feel that there has to be SOMETHING from Chicago on the sandwich

      I have seen "Scalas" and "Marconi" and "Dalanti" "Il Primo" online, are these good?

      1. re: plutch

        I am a big fan of Portillo's and I know their packaged goods are exactly like you would get in their restaurants however for home and for snacks I love II Primo's gardinera. It is perfect.

        1. re: plutch

          I'm sure your bread is good but make sure it is a stretchy high gluten roll because it has to be tough to stand up to the gravy. That chewy sogginess is an essential part of eating an Italian beef.

          I know you don't want to make giardiniera this time, but here is my go-to recipe for future reference. Chop into pieces about the size of your little fingernail and mix together:

          2 parts serranos
          2 parts celery
          1 part red chile
          1 part carrot
          1 part caulflower
          1 part green olives

          Add finely minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried oregano to taste. Make a very salty white vinegar brine and immerse vegetables for 4 - 5 days or until serranos darken to olive drab. Pour out the brine, lightly rinse vegetables, then jar them with vegetable or cheap olive oil and let stand a few days. Before eating, reseason with more red pepper, salt, and oregano if needed. This is not shelf stable so keep chilled and consume within a couple weeks.

        1. re: camusman


          Exactly what I am looking for, great story and the ingredients look perfect!

          Thanks for your help!

          1. re: plutch

            Glad to help.
            Don't forget to slice the beef very thin and dunk the sandwich in the jus before serving.
            And don't forget the celery salt on the hot dog. ;->

            1. re: camusman

              Here's my favorite recipe for homemade beef. It's not entirely authentic, but it's a way around the BS of bouillon cubes and packets of powdered "au jus."


              1. re: camusman

                Obviously you can do what you want but bullion is not BS for Italian beef. A lot of stands use it and without it you won't get the same flavor. Just looking at that pretty airbrushed picture tells me the author of the article never saw a real Chicago stand beef in his life

          1. Frankie's Deli in Lombard makes great giardiniera. When my daughter was going to school in Missoula, there was no giardiniera to be found and I would ship jars of it for her & her Chicago area friends out there who missed it!


            As far as sport peppers go, IIRC, I think we've picked up great sport peppers at the Tom Tom tamale shop on the South side. They have a variety of products at a great price. Looks like they do ship, but their website is under construction, so you may want to call.


            I'll probably get blasted for saying this, but I'm not a Portillo's fan whatsoever. Have tried to like it for over 30 years and it's never done a thing for me. I'm with you and would much prefer to make our own beef.

            1. Bari Foods on Grand Avenue makes some outstanding giardiniera. It's a small Italian grocery store/sandwich shop. I'm not sure if you can order anything shipped from Bari, but I'd be happy to assist you if you'd like. If you like things really hot, they also have a habanero based giardiniera (Super Hot) that lives up to it's name.


              2 Replies
              1. re: deesher

                Thanks for everyone's input, I think I am going to order from "That Pickle Guy"!

                His stuff looks great, very excited to eat!

                1. re: plutch

                  Make sure to add some spicy muffaletta to your order - fantastic stuff.