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Make a Traditional Philly Cheese Steak

Anyone who grew up in the Philadelphia area has an opinion on what the best and most traditional Philadelphia Cheesesteak is. The debate goes on and on. Gino’s vs Pat’s vs Jim’s versus a lesser known but high quality neighborhood joint in Conshy, the North East or elsewhere in the suburbs. Like politics, the conversation is never-ending and highly volatile.

But what about the rest of us? The ones who have never had a real Philly Cheese Steak or those of us who no longer live in Philadelphia and can only dream about being able to sample all the wares and argue their merits? I’ve been in plenty of joints across this country to find a “Philadelphia Steak Sandwich or Philadelphia Cheese Steak” on the menu, made with a horrifying mix of ingredients.

Intense cravings for a real Philly cheesesteak and an inability to make it to our favorite cheesesteak restaurant on our last trip to Philadelphia (do not ask which one) lead me to make a traditional Philadelphia Cheese Steak at home and share the recipe.

The first step however, was to get the right roll….

How to Make a Philadelphia Cheese Steak at Home – Purist, Traditional and Kid Friendly Versions

Cooking & Prep Time: 10-15 minutes (plus about 1 hour to chill the beef before slicing)
Tools: Knife, griddle or cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan
Recipe Notes: about 4oz meat per adult sandwich

The Purist

Ingredients

  • Ribeye Steak (sliced extremely thin)
  • Cheese Wiz
  • Steak or Hoagie Roll (See our story about Philadelphia’s Famous Amoroso Rolls Below*)
  • Vegetable Oil (I use canola oil)

Directions

  1. Put Ribeye Steak in the freezer for about 1-2 hours. When the meat is very cold and slightly firm, slice the meat very, very thin against the grain. Figure on about 4 oz of meat per sandwich.
  2. Cook the ribeye on an oiled griddle. If you do not have a griddle, heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan and cook ribeye. Meat will cook quickly and you will need to saute it around the pan. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Heat the Cheese Wiz in a double broiler or microwave oven.
  4. Put the meat into the roll, top with the Wiz and enjoy.

The Traditional

Ingredients

Most famous Philadelphia Cheese Steak restaurants offer this traditional version. Personally, this is my favorite.

  • Thinly sliced ribeye steak
  • Provolone cheese, 2-3 slices per full hoggie/steak roll
  • Sauteed Onions (optional) Slice into 1/2 rings or dice
  • Hoagie or Steak Roll (Preferably a traditional Amoroso roll)

Directions

  1. Saute onions in about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil on a griddle, cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan. Cook for about 5-8 minutes (depending on cooking method) and remove.
  2. Saute thinly sliced ribeye in the same pan. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  3. Mix back in the onions, place slices of cheese on top of meat and onions until slightly melted.
  4. Using a spatula, carefully place the meat, onion and melted cheese into a roll.
  5. Ketchup is an acceptable condiment, as is mustard or hot sauce. If you use mayo, you are not from Philadelphia and may not call this a Philly Cheese Steak.

Kids Friendly Philadelphia Cheese Steak

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced ribeye steak
  • White American cheese slices
  • Hoagie or Steak roll

Directions

  1. Saute ribeye steak with 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. When steak is cooked through, place white american slices on top.
  3. Carefully scoop into a roll once cheese is melted.
  4. Serve with ketchup. 

More Creative Dish - The Perfect Roll:

To start my quest for the perfect “at home” Philly Cheesesteak, I needed to get the right roll. That would be a steak or hoggie roll from the Amoroso Baking Company in Philadelphia. These delicious rolls are soft but chewy, yeasty but not pungent and a staple to every great hoggie or cheesesteak in the greater Philadelphia area. Unfortunately, these rolls are not yet available in our local market in Miami, so I contacted the company.

I had a great time talking with Bob Rector of the Amoroso Baking Company who told me the Philadelphia Cheese Steak was invented “by accident” in the 1930′s by the Olivieri family, who owned a hot dog cart. They used scrap meat from their butcher, the rolls for the hot dogs and cheese topping from their cart to make this sandwich for their family. As time went on, the hot dog patrons wanted to know what the delicious smell was coming from the cart. By popular demand, the Philadelphia Cheese Steak was born.

Many thanks to the Amoroso Baking Company, who kindly supplied us with the rolls for this recipe and more to come.

If you can not get Amoroso Rolls, use any 8″ or 9″ hoggie (also called a submarine or hero) or steak roll from your local bakery and ask your local supermarket to carry Amoroso Rolls. For more information about Amoroso Baking Company visit their website.

Marla

My Creative Dish

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