There is nothing like a deep, savory beef au jus to bring flavor to a French dip sandwich — or to any beef recipe for that matter. Au jus, which means “with juice” in French, is often made by taking the meat juices produced after cooking and skimming the fat off.
There are many other ways to make au jus. There is, of course, the authentic way of waiting for hours for the meat to roast. There are other easier and more convenient methods, yet they’re as delicious.
Make au jus on the grill
Use a heavy stoneware or cast iron pan and place a roasting rack for the beef to sit on during a slow roast of about three hours. Fill the pan with beef stock, garlic, and a mirepoix of onions, celery, and carrots to add flavor to the juice. After cooking, skim the fat off the surface and strain out the vegetables.
Use what you already have
If you don’t have beef drippings, improvise. Caramelize a bunch of onions in a bit of olive oil, add garlic, and deglaze with white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Pour in some beef stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for half an hour. If you want a thicker mixture, add a teaspoon of flour and simmer some more.
Buy beef fat drippings
Beef drippings are making a comeback on American grocery stores, thanks to the revelation that saturated fat isn’t that bad after all. If you don’t have time to slow roast a prime rib, it’s okay to use beef drippings from the store, pour beef stock into the mixture, and boil.
Use au jus concentrate
Best for making huge batches for parties or restaurants, au jus concentrate comes in powder, gel, or liquid form and is extremely easy to make. The best thing about au jus concentrate is that manufacturers have shifted to using natural, healthy ingredients so you don’t have to worry about your sauce being full of monosodium glutamate.
The method you choose to make au jus should be the one that suits you best. If you have all the time in the world to make au jus on the grill, then do so to enjoy your authentic sauce. However, for most people, beef au jus made from store-bought beef drippings or concentrate is the way to go.