The cheesesteak is the most favored and iconic food available in the Philadelphia area. However, I can tell you this, if you walk into a restaurant offering a “Philadelphia cheesesteak,” or “Philly cheesesteak,” you are most likely not getting the real deal. It is simply a cheesesteak—the perfect marriage of beef, cheese, and onions.
While almost any pizza or hoagie shop in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area can provide you with an authentic cheesesteak, if you want to taste the originaL—the gold-standard—you will need to visit Pat’s King of Steaks, 9th & Wharton Streets, Philadelphia. It is here, from the originator and inventor of the steak & cheesesteak sandwiches, that we can identify what is and is not a genuine, bona fide, and legitimate Philadelphia cheesesteak.
Do you think I may be a bit of a cheesesteak zealot? Maybe, but imagine going to a restaurant and ordering bratwurst, and the waitperson brought you hot dogs. They are both sausages, right? In the same way hot dogs are not bratwurst, not just any hot beef sandwich with melted cheese can be called a cheesesteak.
While I’m not about to go as far as telling anyone what they can put on their personal cheesesteak, what a restaurant or chef attempts to pass off as an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak is important. Don’t you agree?
A cheesesteak is made from pan fried, thinly sliced rib eye or other cuts of beef—try asking your butcher for chipped steak. It is not made from roast beef or deli meat. A cheesesteak can come with (wit) or without (wit-out) onions. If you want green peppers, feel free to order them, but they are not part of any cheesesteak recipe.
Here I am providing a cheesesteak recipe based on Pat’s King of Steaks, the originator and inventor of the cheesesteak. Pat’s first started making the cheesesteak with provolone cheese, but today Cheez Whiz is the most favored, followed by American. Whichever is your choice, this is the next best thing to actually visiting Philly.
Philadelphia's signature sandwich includes thinly sliced steak, fried onions, and melted cheese on a Italian hoagie roll.
- 1.5 lbs thinly sliced rib eye or top round (other cuts can also used)
- 4 Amoroso® rolls (or other hoagie style rolls)
- Cheez Whiz® (or 8 slices of American or provolone cheese)
- 1 large Spanish onion (thin sliced)
- Vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
- Heat skillet or frying pan over medium heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and saute the onions and mushrooms to desired doneness. Remove and place to the side.
- If using Cheez Whiz®, begin melting in a double boiler or microwave.
- Add additional oil only if needed, and saute the slices of steak quickly, using a flat spatula to shred slices.
- When steak is almost completely cooked, add onions and mushrooms back to pan.
- If using sliced American or provolone cheese, once the steak is done, place 8 slices of cheese on top of meat and allow to melt.
- Equally divide the cheesesteak mixture into the 4 Amoroso® rolls.
- If used, spoon the melted Cheez Whiz® top.
Additional toppings and condiments can be added to taste, including ketchup, mayonnaise, and sweet or hot peppers.