It doesn’t have to be Pat’s or Geno’s anymore.
If you’re living in or visiting Philly, someone you know will tell you to go to one of these two places to get “the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia.” They’re right across from one another; Pat’s with its unassuming 50’s diner look and Geno’s looking like an outcast from the Vegas strip.
It’s an age-old conversation, a hotly debated topic (mostly) by tourists, but those that know cheesesteaks know that that there is no correct answer to the Pat’s or Geno’s conundrum. They know that there are a hundred good cheesesteak joints in Philly.
A cheesesteak is a matter of opinion. Is there a bad way to put a bunch of cheese, onions, and beef into a crusty bun? Obviously not.
All that you need to do is follow a few basic rules and throw your healthy lifestyle out the window for one meal.
Let’s go over the main ingredients necessary for a great Philly cheesesteak recipe.
When concocting or reading a Philly cheesesteak recipe, you should be aware of two main ingredients. Yep, the two in the name. The steak and the cheese. Let’s talk meat.
You can’t buy any type of steak for your sandwich, a Philly cheesesteak requires a tender and juicy cut. The way to go here is to get boneless ribeye or boneless beef short ribs. If you’re on a budget, sirloin or brisket will suffice.
You want something that will marble and cook juicy. You need to slice the meat super thin. That’s a cheesesteak staple. Pro tip: freeze the meat for about 45 minutes to make it firm. This will make it easier to get those thin slices.
Cut as thin as possible, but don’t stress, we’re only making a cheesesteak here. Set aside the meat while we decide on some cheese.
Alright, now we have some options when it comes to cheese. There are 3 acceptable kinds of cheese for the cheesesteak; American cheese, provolone, and Cheez Whiz.
Cheesesteak “aficionados” will tell you that one cheese is better than the rest, but again, it’s all up to personal preference. If you’re in favour of gooeyness, then you might want to go with Cheez Whiz, but is that actual cheese? No.
American cheese is the most popular choice among your every day cheesesteak consumer. It has a low melting point so you can achieve a “Cheez Whiz” effect without having to eat something called that.
Provolone is the classiest of all of the cheeses but doesn’t have the same melting capabilities of the more processed American cheese. For what it’s worth, the guy that owns Geno’s recommends provolone.
Once you’ve picked your cheese, you need to find the right bun.
Cheesesteaks are a hoagie-style sandwich, and in Philly, they use something called an Amoroso roll.
Unfortunately, if you don’t live in the South Jersey-Philly region, you’ll be out of luck. Amoroso is based out of Camden, so you won’t be getting these buns in Sacramento, or wherever you live.
To substitute, you’re gonna want to look for something structurally-sound. There’s going to be lots of stuff on this bread, so it can’t give way. Go to the store and give a little squeeze to some buns. Firm with a squish is what you should settle on.
Toppings. Be careful with these, they’ll make or break your cheesesteak. Try to keep it limited to sauteed onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Have fun though. Some folks will even dress their cheesesteak with ketchup and hot sauce.
Ketchup on steak is a bit strange, but don’t let societal pressures ruin this experience for you. The Cheesesteak is your canvas and you are the artist, do whatever the hell you want here.
Your Philly Cheesesteak Recipe
Now that you’ve got all of the stuff for you cheesesteak you can get cookin’! You’ll notice that there are about 4 trillion cheesesteak recipes online, so consider that when you see “The Perfect Cheesesteak Recipe” pop on your fave recipe page. Remember, this is all subjective.
Here’s an easy recipe that will definitely be good, and allows room for tweaking once you’ve decided what you want out of your Philly cheesesteak.
1. Assuming you’ve sliced your meat and it’s ready to go, you need to prep your vegetables. For this cheesesteak, let’s sautee some onions and bell peppers. Chop these up and set them aside.
2. Then cut your rolls down the center, face the two sides up. You’re gonna want these ready to receive the ingredients, so have them nearby. You can place slices of cheese on them now if that’s your method.
3. Preheat your skillet over high heat. Once it’s hot, add some oil and toss in the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper, and saute until you see the onions go brown.
4. Once the veggies are looking good, you can throw that sliced beef in and season it again with salt and pepper. You only want to cook the meat for a few minutes until it’s cooked through to keep it juicy. You can shred up the meat even further with your spatula as the pros do to tenderise it.
5. Once the meat is cooked, divide everything up on to however many buns you sliced. Don’t be afraid to go a bit crazy here. You’re not supposed to feel healthy after eating a cheesesteak. If you didn’t put the cheese on the buns in step 2, then drizzle your already-melted cheese on top, or place slices of cheese on top of everything and let the heat from the meat do the melting.
6. Add whatever else you want, then EAT.
Have Fun With It
This is a basic but delicious Philly cheesesteak recipe. When you know the basics, you can start to tweak. And if you find yourself in Philadelphia, it doesn’t hurt to do some “research” at an authentic Philly cheesesteak spot, like this company.
Bon appetite! Now you know what to make for your Super Bowl party this year, especially if the Eagles are playing. Go Birds.
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