Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

5:50 pm by

Oh, goodness. I woke up to a sore throat and pounding headache. It’s going to be 86 degrees (that’s hot here in the Williamette Valley) – being sick in the summer heat is not a recipe for angeliciousness.

Then I went into the garage to get out some chicken for supper – only to find the outside freezer defrosting. A boy didn’t close the door all the way and it sat ajar overnight. AAAGGGHHH. This has happened before, and we had to lock the freezer. We stopped locking it about a year ago (such a pain), but it looks we’ll have to start doing it again. Unlocking and re-locking the freezer helps remind them to make sure the door is shut.

Fortunately, most stuff was OK, but I wasn’t taking chances with the beef roast. Since it’s going to be hot today and I don’t want to be hovering over the stove at the peak of the afternoon heat, I decided to make a family favorite: slow cooker french dip sandwiches. I’m posting the first half right now, just in case you’re in the mood to stick something in the slow cooker.

Angelicious Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
Perfect for a hot summer day!


  • 1 eye of round (or other lean) roast, about 3 lbs.
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 T each salt and pepper (I used a roasted garlic pepper mix this time), mixed in a small bowl
  • 2 c beef broth
  • 1 onion, chopped or 1/4 c dried minced onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T dried or 2 T fresh minced parsley
  • 1 T mixed pickling spices
  • 1/2 tsp each marjoram, savory, oregano and pepper

For later:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Sandwich rolls
  • Cheese slices (Havarti and Swiss work well with this recipe)
  • Lettuce & tomato

Before you begin:

I say this all the time, but it’s worth repeating: prep is everything. You’re going to be working with raw meat, so make sure to do your prep work before you touch it! Set aside the bowl with one T each salt and pepper, and have the garlic slices ready in a small bowl.

All set. Notice the red mat.

Mix onion, bay leaf, parsley and remaining herbs & spices in another prep bowl and set aside.

Garlicky Goodness, IKEA prep bowl. I heart IKEA.

Spray the inside of your crockpot and also a large skillet (if using a seasoned cast-iron, you do not need to spray). Sprinkle about 2 T of the herb & spice mixture on the bottom of the crockpot.

Let’s get busy:

Place roast on a cutting mat (you are using a special cutting mat that is only for raw meat, right?) and trim away any fat. With a small, sharp knife, make several deep slits in the roast. Stuff these slits with garlic slices. Repeat around the entirety of the roast.

Little pockets of garlic goodness

Remember that red mat? It cost something like $2.99 at IKEA and is only used for raw meat prep (that’s why it’s red! When my other cutting boards wear out, I’m getting a green one for veggies and a new wooden one for bread. :) ). Anyway, it’s important to keep raw meat away from other foods – don’t use the same mat you cut meat on to cut salad veggies – even if it’s been washed. If you have no choice – say, you live in a tent and have no room for a second cutting mat, which is really the only scenario I can think of for not buying a flat, $2 cutting board! – be sure to use a plastic cutting board (wood absorbs bacteria and is very difficult to disinfect) and put it in the dishwasher immediately after use (the dishwasher is the only way to disinfect a cutting board. Well, you could do the bleach/hot water thing, but hey, the dishwasher’s already full!).

OK, sermon over. :) I just want you to be safe.

Rub outside of roast with salt and pepper (or whatever rub you use; I tried a new roasted garlic mix, then added a bunch of pepper. Next time, I’ll go back to my traditional rub). Wash hands well with hot, soapy water, then turn heat under skillet to medium-high.

Rubbed & ready

When hot, transfer the roast to the skillet. Brown, turning to each side after a few moments. This seals the flavor. Be sure to get the ends, too!

You may need to stand the roast on its end to brown the ends.

Transfer roast to the sprayed crockpot. Pour a small amount of beef broth in the still-hot skillet and scrape with spatula to remove the browned bits. Pour this mixture over the browned roast in the crockpot.

Naughty Bits

Pour remaining beef broth and red wine vinegar around (not over, you’ll wash away the rub) the roast in the crock. Sprinkle with remaining herb and spice mixture.

Ready for cooking

Cover and set crock for 6-8 hours on low, 4-6 on high. OH, and don’t wash the skillet! You’ll use it again, with any remaining naughty bits, later.

Ready to serve:

Slice mushrooms thinly. In skillet you used earlier, swirl about 1 T extra-virgin olive oil and place on medium-high heat. When pan is ready, add mushrooms and saute for about 3-5 minutes, or until softened.

Slice cheese into fourths; slice tomatoes and prepare lettuce leaves. Split sandwich rolls and place one slice lettuce and two small slices of tomato on each one.


Remove roast from crock and place on (clean) mat. While roast is cooling (don’t cut a hot roast, you just get a bunch of chunks instead of nice, neat slices), strain broth/spices from crock into a sieve. Pour strained juices into small bowls for dipping.

Cooling time!

When roast is cooled (about 10-20 minutes), cut into 1″ slices. Place one slice of roast on each split roll, then top with one slice of cheese. I used a combo of Havarti & Cheddar. Top with a large spoonful of sauteed mushrooms.

Sandwiches, ready to eat!

When it’s not super-hot, I toast these in the oven; it was hot, so I didn’t.

Serve with homemade potato wedges, bowls of au jus and salad. Watch your picky eaters eat the entire lot & beg for more.

Hungry man!


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