Since my son lives near Philadelphia, I’ve spent a lot of time there and eaten more than my share of Philly cheesesteaks. And while it isn’t easy to make an authentic cheesesteak at home – especially since you can’t get Amoroso rolls here in Utah – you can create a pretty good facsimile.
Most cheesesteaks in Philly are made using boneless rib eye steak. If you have that sort of budget, then fine. But for most of us using rib eye for cheesesteaks is cost prohibitive. I’ve had very good results using skirt steak. Figure upon about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of skirt steak for 4 cheesesteaks. That might sound like a lot, but there’ll be some waste in the form of fat to be trimmed.
Many Philly cheesesteaks are made with Cheez Wiz. I find that cooking the cheese right into the meat sort of creates a Wiz like texture without having to use Wiz. It also solves the problem of having partly unmelted cheese on the sandwich. Feel free to adorn your cheesesteak with accouterments like sauteed mushrooms, peppers, etc. This recipe is just for the basic cheesesteak.
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. skirt steak
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- thin-sliced red onion (optional)
- a few slices of American or Provolone cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Hoagie or submarine rolls (oven-toasted, if you’d like)
- Trim the skirt steak of as much visible fat as possible. Take the rectangular-shaped skirt steak and slice it with the grain into 3 or 4 pieces. Place the pieces of skirt steak on a tray into the freezer for half an hour or so. This will firm up the meat and make it easier to slice.
- Slice the skirt steak pieces against the grain as thinly as possible. I use a deli-style electric slicer but a sharp knife works just fine. Once you’ve got all of your skirt steak sliced, chop it into smaller pieces on a cutting board using a chef’s or butcher knife.
- Heat a large skillet (preferably non-stick) with the canola oil over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the meat in one layer (cook it in two batches, if necessary). DON’T move the meat. Leave it alone for a couple minutes to let it brown and crisp up some. I like to spread a layer of red onion on top of the meat to soften – that’s optional.
- Stir and flip the meat to cook on the other side, another minute or two.
- When the meat is mostly cooked and browned, drain it in a colander or sieve to get rid of the excess oil. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.
- Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add the cooked meat. Layer cheese slices over the entire top of the meat. When the cheese is mostly melted, stir it into the meat to distribute evenly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve on your favorite hoagie-type roll and enjoy!
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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