This Philly cheesesteak is an easy riff on the authentic sandwich from South Philadelphia that you can make at home. Here’s how.
Philly cheesesteak. It’s essentially a sub roll piled high with seasoned beef, caramelized onions, and melted cheese. What’s not to love? Apparently, a lot. Folks have been debating the distinctions and nuances of various renditions of the Philly cheesesteak for decades—the presence of anything other than onions and cheese, the type of cheese, the particulars of the roll, and that’s to name just a few. So while this undeniably delicious version won’t make everybody happy, it will make most folks unspeakably satisfied. Besides, people pleasing is overrated.–Angie Zoobkoff
How to Perfectly Slice The Meat For A Philly Cheesesteak
You can argue all day and night about what goes on a Philly cheesesteak. But if you ain’t got the meat right, then it’s not a Philly cheesesteak to start with. The essential element to the sandwich, beyond anything else, is incredibly thinly sliced meat. You can achieve this through a number of strategies, according to the authors of Eat Street. Here’s how:
- Grab a whole 18- to 20-pound ribeye at the meat market and lovingly carry it out of there like you’re Richard Gere and this piece of cow is Debra Winger at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman. Take it home, trim most of the fat cap, then blast chill it to an internal temperature between 26 and 28°F. Run it through a slicer at a level thin enough to see through it. Or…
- Find a butcher from that same market to do everything above in your chosen quantity (minus the Gere/Winger show). Or…
- Visit an Asian supermarket and grab the pre-packed super-thin beef slices used for Korean BBQ. Or…
- Some places sell the trimmings from beef tenderloin, usually with the word “filet” on the label. You can place them between a couple sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper, pound the Satan out of them, and use those.
Philly Cheesesteak Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H
- Makes 4
- 2 pounds (907 grams) thinly and evenly sliced ribeye steak*
- Mild vegetable oil
- 1 pound (454 grams) white onions (about 1 large onion), peeled, halved, and sliced into thin half moons
- 2 to 4 tablespoons (73 grams) table salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) garlic powder
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons (3 1/2 grams) onion powder
- 1 pound (454 grams) sliced provolone or white American cheese
- Four 8-inch (20 cm) sub rolls, split (you want a roll with a light crust but enough heft to stand up to the juices)
- 1. Heat a griddle to 375° to 400°F (190° to 204°C) or a couple large skillets on medium-high heat. The surface should read between 375° to 400°F (190° to 204°C). Slick oil your griddle or skillets with oil.
- 2. On a portion of the griddle or in 1 skillet, cook your onions for 2 to 3 minutes, turning them with your spatula, until they begin to sizzle. Splash some water on them, turn, scrape, and, when the water evaporates, repeat the process. Eventually you’ll have delicious softened or deeply browned onions, depending on how long you go. Figure 5 to 10 minutes.
- 3. While you’re in onion land, mix the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder and put it in a shaker or a small dish. This is your secret seasoning. Like all secret seasonings, you can tell someone you’re taking the recipe to the grave while you’re actually just embarrassed it’s so simple.
- 4. If using a griddle, lay your ribeye slices out across the surface in a single layer. Just let them sit and sear over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Season generously with your seasoning magic. Flip the ribeye, season again, and begin to mix in the onions as the rest of the meat browns. If using a couple skillets, transfer the onions to a plate, wipe out the skillet, and return it to medium-high heat. Place a second skillet over medium-high heat. Lay your ribeye slices out across the surface of the skillets in a single layer. You may need to work in batches. Just let them sit and sear over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Season generously with your seasoning magic. Flip the ribeye, season again, and cook for another minute. If working in batches, transfer the ribeye to a rimmed baking sheet, being careful to spread it out so the steak doesn’t steam which will turn it tough, and cook the rest of the ribeye. When all the steak is cooked, divvy it up between the skillets and do the same with the onions. Begin to mix in the onions as the meat browns.
- 5. Now it’s time to get all choppy-choppy with your spatula. The difficulty and effectiveness of this will largely depend on the quality of your meat and how thinly and evenly you were able to get the meat sliced. (This is why it’s nice to have a butcher with a nice sharp slicer to harass.) Using the narrow edge of a long metal spatula, chop your meat into 4 portions that resemble the size and shape of how they’re going to lay in the roll, which is to say sorta a rectangle. Drape 4 ounces provolone over each portion of meat. Squirt a tablespoon or so of water under the meat and cover just long enough for the cheese to become one with the meat, about 30 seconds.
- 6. Game time! Take the spatula in your dominant hand and the open roll in your punier hand. Slide your spatula under the cheesy mess of onions and meat and flip it into the sandwich. Devour immediately.
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Philly Cheesesteak Recipe © 2016 John Carruthers, Jesse Valenciana, and John Scholl . Photo © 2016 Clayton Hauck. All rights reserved.
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