Even though "Italian" is in the name of the sandwich, don't think of this as anything authentic. Just like you wouldn't really find "teriyaki" in Japan, you probably wouldn't find one of these delicious sandwiches in Italy, however their American descendants perfected both.
My craving for an Al's Italian Beef sandwich first started from all of my time watching Food Network with Emi. Al's has been on multiple "versus" types of food shows, where a food personality will pit two similar restaurants against each other to determine the ultimate winner. For example in North Carolina, two BBQ places would compete against each other and in Chicago it's deep dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches.
Now this is key, the chopped up slow cooked meat is on the left and soaking in the delicious sauce. You have two options when you order your sandwich, dry or wet. Wet is the only way to go. If you order it wet, they take your sandwich with those tongs and actually submerge it, not dip it, but submerge it in that bath of delicious meat sauce on the right. Now you might think the hoagie might fall apart, but the bread actually holds up really well.