Au jus — pronounced “oh-ZHOO” — traditionally refers to a dish of roasted meat that is served with its own juices. In its simplest form, jus describes the pan drippings from the roasted meat. In practice, the jus is enhanced by deglazing the pan with stock and then simmering the liquid with mirepoix before straining and serving it. Au jus is generally — but not always — unthickened, which is what distinguishes it from a pan gravy.
Au Jus Debate
Au Jus is a French culinary term that literally means “with juice,” according to Wikipedia, or “with the juice,” according to Culinary Lore, but there is some debate in culinary circles about the exact translation of this delectable meat juice. If you look up the term “au jus” using online French-to-English translators, you’ll find definitions as diverse as “with juice,” “the juice,” “in the juice” and just “juice.” But, most sources agree that you want to avoid redundancy when using the term.
Culinary Lore, for example, notes that prime rib au jus means prime rib with the juice. Saying prime rib with au jus or prime rib with au jus sauce is redundant. Culinary Lore adds that another misuse of the term is French dip with au jus. “We can already see that ‘with au jus’ is redundant, but, as well, a ‘French dip’ without jus would be nothing more than a dry piece of meat inside bread or a roll.” It’s important to note that when you order a French dip, you are asking for a roast beef sandwich with a side of (its own) juice.