Classic Cheesesteak Sandwich
Does the best classic cheesesteak sandwich come from Philly or from your own kitchen? This one has everything you want from the original Philly, without the airfare.
With the Super Bowl coming up on Sunday, I thought I’d give you another party option for your Game Day offerings. Our traditional Super Bowl menu celebrates the regional food from the areas of the country where the teams are from. For 2018, it’s New England vs. Philadelphia. Monday I paid tribute to the Patriots with those incredible lobster rolls.. Today, we’re highlighting Philly with arguably the most obvious choice — a classic cheesesteak sandwich.
Like a classic French dip au jus, cheesesteaks are a notch above a standard hoagie. I admit, I’d never made one… but once I’d gotten the technique down, I couldn’t STOP making them. Rather than head to the frozen foods aisle for that childhood favorite, SteakUmmm, I talked to my butcher and we agreed that a ribeye, very thinly sliced would do an admirable job for this steak sandwich — he even used his industrial Hobart to cut the meat, so I wouldn’t have to freehand it at home.
The butcher did a good job of slicing, but I went a step further and pounded it out with the flat side of my meat mallet. Several firm, but disciplined whacks later, the slice were about 1/8″ thick. Perfect for a quick griddle.
Peppers and onions are a must, too. Sliced thinly and sautéed until they’re soft and golden. Now for the magic. There is a technique to these cheesesteak sandwiches that I hadn’t even thought about — until I decided to make them. Frankly, I thought that describing it would take more effort than just showing you… So here’s how you do it…
The key is to let the meat sit on the griddle long enough to start to get some charred, crusty bits — and that happens while you’re dressing the chopped meat with peppers, onions and cheese. The key is — don’t mess with it. Let the cheese melt. While the provolone is slumping into the crannies of the beef, onions and peppers, the meat resting on the griddle is searing and producing a fond that will add texture and depth to your Philly inspired cheesesteak.
I hear some of you muttering, “where’s the Cheez Whiz?” If that’s your thing, go for it. It’s your prerogative. For me, I want real cheese that melts in long, oozy strings, never quite separating from the sandwich even as I pull away with my first luscious bite.
If you want to make several sandwiches and keep them warm to serve during the game, assemble the cheesesteaks in the hoagie rolls and tightly wrap them individually in parchment or foil. They’ll keep in a low oven (about 250°) for up to an hour.
Classic Cheesesteak Sandwich
- 2 green peppers seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 medium onions (Spanish or yellow), thinly sliced into ring
- 3 teaspoons olive oil divided
- pinch salt & pepper
- 2 pounds very thinly sliced ribeye (have the butcher slice it for you on his Hobart)
- 4 hoagie rolls
- 8 ounces sliced provolone or Cheez Whiz
- Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and place one thin slice of ribeye on it. Fold the plastic over the rib eye and use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound the ribeye very thin without tearing it. Transfer ribeye to a plate and continue with the rest of the meat. Cover and refrigerate.
- Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, peppers and onions. Saute until softened and browned about 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly.
- In a large cast iron skillet or griddle add 1 teaspoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot add about half of the sliced beef. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let the beef cook for a minute or two. Then use a metal spatula to break up and "chip" the beef into smaller pieces, cooking for about 5-7 minutes until well cooked and some of the beef takes on a bit of crustiness.
- Use the spatula to line the beef up in a long row in the pan. Spoon half of the onion pepper mixture directly over the beef. Top with half of the provolone cheese and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melty.
- Slice open 2 of the hoagie rolls. Slide the spatula under the meat mixture and transfer to the hoagie rolls. Place on a tray to serve -- or wrap tightly in parchment paper and cut the sandwiches in half -- the cheese stays warm and melty this way. Repeat with the remaining beef, onions and peppers to make additional sandwiches.
More Ah-Mazing Sandwiches:
“Pin It” For Later!
I made these tonight for dinner only difference I used red.pepper and used southwest chopolti dressing yum yum
hi. there are no peppers used on a “classic” cheesesteak. source: i live two blocks away from where the cheesesteak was invented, Pat’s Steaks.
I can’t begin to tell you the amount of hate mail that I’ve received on this sandwich. I get it. Food is territorial. Don’t believe me? Put people from Carolina, Texas and Kansas City in a room together and ask them where the best barbecue comes from. It’s all different… but it’s ALL GOOD!
By all means, skip the peppers and onions if you don’t want them — but that thinly sliced rib eye doesn’t suck!
Oh my, I love a great cheesesteak, and this sounds amazing! I actually have never made my own at home, but we made this all the time at a restaurant that I worked at……and now I have a craving! Yum, what a great idea, especially for the big game! Thanks for the great idea.
I need one of those on my plate right now (it’s lunchtime here). So so good. I saw provolone being made on a press trip to Italy a few years ago. They use the creamy milk from the milk they make the Grana Padano with.
Fellow real melty cheese lover here…. (cheese whiz? ekes) I loved these! They were so easy to make, and your tip to just let the meat be and not mess with it finally let me have a philly cheese steak that was fantastic! (My previous efforts tasted ok, but were missing the charred edges). We’ll definitely be making these again!! Thanks so much!!
I’m so glad it turned out for you, Michele! Aren’t they good?!!!
This sandwich looks uh-MAZING!! I don’t have any plans to go to philly anytime soon, but I definitely am making plans to put this on an upcoming dinner menu!
Love me some Philly Cheesesteak! I order mine “one provolone with” (with being fried onions). Though, I do have several friends who are in the “one whiz” camp. Ribeye is so essential to a good cheesesteak sandwich…helps get that good “drip factor.” If it isn’t messy, it isn’t a proper cheesesteak! haha.
Oh sweet Philly this looks AMAZING. I’ve never made a homemade cheese steak sandwich and I cannot think of a good reason why I haven’t yet. Great tip about getting a little bit of char on the meat, too. And rib eye, that’s my hubby’s favorite cut! Pinning these on my MUST MAKE board!!!
Thank you, Tracy! I had never made cheesesteak either — but the more I delved into the process, I knew I had to. Though — I am getting some blowback on using peppers…
I love all your tips!! I’ve never tried to make Philly Cheesesteaks before, but with all your tips, I think I could! Yours look amazing!
Thank you so much — you absolutely can make these cheesesteaks! They’re a bit messy, but I think that’s the fun of them!
I’ve never had or eaten a philly cheese steak! Is that shocking? I’ve never thought they looked very appetizing but yours looks INCREDIBLE! We usually have food from the opposing teams as well, and one year we hosted a Soup-Er Bowl where everyone brought a soup and the best soup won a very tiny trophy!
It sounds like we should host a party together — the buffet would be EPIC!
NOW THAT IS A SANDWICH!! No sub shop can make this delicious combo…not matter how hard they try. Cooking at home is always best….and this would be a crowd pleaser. People would want to BUY these!!
Well, you definitely can’t get this sandwich at Subway — that’s for sure!
Lisa, this sandwich looks SO yummy!! Love Cheese Wiz. Oh my, you’re making me hungry. These subs would be perfect for Superbowl Sunday!
That’s one mouthwatering sandwich! I can see this being a favourite in my house!
My kids would love this! I don’t make this enough and you make it look so easy. Your photos are always gorgeous!
My husband inhaled it — and he’s just a big kid!
Can’t go wrong with cheesesteak!
‘Where’s the cheese whiz?’, oh that was funny! I’m a provolone kind of person. I don’t think I’ve had cheese whiz since I was a little girl. I have never made these before but now I’m interested. They look fantastic! I think I will surprise hubby with this soon! Thanks!
I’ve already had a few people ask about the Cheese Whiz — it’s unavoidable!