If you’re a fan of sandwiches, chances are you’ve heard of the Philly cheesesteak.
This iconic sandwich hails from the city of Philadelphia and is made with thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll.
But have you ever wondered what type of meat is used in this delicious sandwich? Is it beef or pork?
In this article, we’ll explore the origins of the Philly cheesesteak and settle the debate once and for all.
So sit back, grab a snack, and get ready to learn all about this beloved sandwich.
Is Philly Steak Beef Or Pork?
The answer is simple: Philly steak is made with beef.
While there are many variations of the Philly cheesesteak, the traditional recipe calls for thinly sliced ribeye steak. This cut of beef is well-marbled and tender when cooked, making it the perfect choice for this sandwich.
Other cuts of beef, such as top round, sirloin, skirt, and flank steak, can also be used as alternatives. However, ribeye remains the most popular and authentic choice.
It’s important to note that while pork is a popular meat in many Philadelphia dishes, it is not used in the traditional Philly cheesesteak.
The History Of The Philly Cheesesteak
The Philly cheesesteak has become an iconic symbol of Philadelphia’s culinary culture, but its origins are hotly debated. According to legend, the sandwich was invented in the 1930s by two brothers, Pat and Harry Olivieri, who ran a hot dog stand near South Philadelphia’s Italian Market. One day, they decided to try something new and created a sandwich made with grilled beef and onions in a toasted roll. The original sandwich did not include cheese.
However, the sandwich gained popularity and a manager at the Olivieri’s Ridge Ave. location added provolone cheese to it in the 1940s. This addition gave birth to the authentic Philly cheesesteak that we know and love today. The sandwich became so popular that Pat opened up his own restaurant, Pat’s King of Steaks, which still operates today.
Despite the addition of cheese, the Philly cheesesteak remains a simple sandwich made with high-quality ingredients. Thinly sliced ribeye steak is the traditional choice for the meat, which is cooked on a grill with onions and piled onto a long roll. The cheese is melted on top of the meat and onions before being served.
Over time, variations of the Philly cheesesteak have emerged, with different types of cheese and toppings being used. However, the traditional recipe remains a beloved classic among locals and visitors alike.
The Traditional Ingredients Of A Philly Cheesesteak
The traditional Philly cheesesteak consists of only a few key ingredients. First and foremost, the sandwich is made with thinly sliced ribeye beef. This cut of meat is tender and flavorful when cooked, making it the perfect choice for the sandwich’s main ingredient.
In addition to the beef, the sandwich also includes cheese. Traditionally, Cheez Whiz is used, but American cheese and provolone are also acceptable options. The cheese is melted over the beef to create a gooey and delicious topping.
Finally, the sandwich is served on a hoagie or long Italian roll. This bread is soft and chewy, providing the perfect texture to complement the beef and cheese.
While some variations of the sandwich may include toppings such as sautéed onions and mushrooms, these are not required for an authentic Philly cheesesteak. However, green bell peppers are still a topic of debate among locals.
Condiments such as ketchup and mayo are also considered acceptable toppings for the sandwich. However, it’s important to note that any substitutions for the traditional ingredients may result in a sandwich that is not considered authentic by Philadelphia locals and loyal fans.
The Meat Debate: Beef Or Pork?
When it comes to choosing between beef and pork, there is often a debate about which is better for your health. Both meats provide a good source of protein, but the amount and quality of fat in each can vary.
Lean pork tenderloin and lean beef are both excellent sources of protein with high biological value. In fact, they provide almost the same amount of protein per 100 grams consumed. However, when it comes to calories, beef tenderloin has more than double the calories of a beef fillet, while other parts of the pig have higher numbers of calories.
Many people opt to modify their meat intake by reducing it or cutting it out completely due to health concerns. While some research has linked eating too much meat to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues, meat provides a wide array of nutrients utilized by the body for growth, maintenance, and repair. Meat as a whole category is an excellent source of protein, heme iron, and micronutrients such as B-12, zinc, and selenium.
When it comes to fat content, opting for leaner cuts of meat can help with your health journey. However, the fat on meat isn’t unhealthy per se. It’s just that you can eat healthier sources of fat such as in avocados, olive oil, salmon, nuts, and seeds. Ultimately, whether or not you should be eating less fat depends on your preferred diet.
When comparing how much fat is in beef ribs to pork ribs, it’s important to note that the meat and fat content varies between different breeds and different animals. Beef ribs have more meat on the bone but also more fat. Pork ribs are meatier than they are fat but have smaller bones.
In terms of labeling, there have been concerns about mislabeling of meat with Product of USA labels if foreign meat is used. Members of the Senate hope to revive mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef and pork meat products to clarify what can be labeled as a product of the USA.
How To Make The Perfect Philly Cheesesteak
Making the perfect Philly cheesesteak is all about using the right ingredients and cooking techniques. Here’s how to make the perfect Philly cheesesteak:
1. Choose the right cut of beef: The traditional cut of beef used in a Philly cheesesteak is ribeye steak. This cut is well-marbled and tender when cooked, making it the perfect choice for this sandwich.
2. Freeze the steak: To make it easier to slice the steak thinly, freeze it for about 30 minutes before slicing.
3. Slice the steak thinly: Use a sharp knife to slice the steak as thinly as possible. This will ensure that it cooks quickly and evenly.
4. Cook the steak: Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Once melted, add the sliced steak to the pan and cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Avoid overcooking the meat, as this can make it tough.
5. Add onions: While the steak is cooking, sauté onions in a separate pan until they are translucent and slightly caramelized.
6. Add cheese: Once the steak is cooked, top it with slices of American cheese (or “cheese whiz” if preferred) and let it melt.
7. Toast the roll: While the cheese is melting, lightly toast a hoagie roll in the oven or on a griddle.
8. Assemble the sandwich: Spoon the cheesy steak mixture onto the toasted roll and top with sautéed onions. Serve hot and enjoy!
Remember, the key to making a perfect Philly cheesesteak is using high-quality ingredients and cooking them properly. With these tips, you’ll be able to make an authentic and delicious Philly cheesesteak right in your own kitchen!
Variations On The Classic Philly Cheesesteak
While the traditional Philly cheesesteak consists of only ribeye beef, cheese (specifically Cheez Whiz), and either a hoagie roll or long Italian roll, there are many variations that have become popular over the years.
One popular variation is the addition of sautéed onions and mushrooms to the sandwich. These toppings add a depth of flavor and texture to the sandwich, making it even more delicious.
Another variation is the use of different types of cheese. While Cheez Whiz is the traditional choice, many people prefer provolone or American cheese. Some even opt for a combination of different cheeses for a unique flavor experience.
For those who prefer a healthier option, there are also vegetarian and vegan versions of the Philly cheesesteak available. These versions often use seitan or portobello mushrooms in place of the beef, and vegan cheese substitutes.
Finally, some restaurants have taken the Philly cheesesteak to a whole new level by adding unique twists to the classic sandwich. For example, some places offer a breakfast version with scrambled eggs and bacon, while others add jalapeños or hot sauce for a spicy kick.
No matter how you choose to enjoy your Philly cheesesteak, one thing is certain: it’s a delicious and iconic sandwich that represents the heart and soul of Philadelphia cuisine.
Where To Find The Best Philly Cheesesteak In Philadelphia
Philadelphia is known for its cheesesteaks, and there are countless restaurants and food stands that claim to have the best one in town. However, there are a few establishments that stand out above the rest.
One of the most popular spots is Dalessandro’s, located on Henry Avenue in the Roxborough section of the city. This family-owned restaurant has been serving up delicious cheesesteaks and hoagies for over 50 years. They use fresh ingredients and cook their steaks to order, resulting in a tender and flavorful sandwich. Dalessandro’s uses large pieces of fried onion for added flavor, and locals recommend ordering with “wiz wit” (Cheez Whiz with onions) and adding marinara dipping sauce.
Another top contender is Jim’s Steaks, located on South Street. While the restaurant recently closed due to a fire, many locals argue that it serves the best steak sandwich in town. Jim’s menu is simple and divided into two categories: From the Grill and Hoagies. Their Pizza Steak, Mushroom Steak, and Maxine’s Meatless options are popular choices among regulars. When it reopens, be prepared to wait in line for up to 45 minutes.
Finally, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks are two iconic establishments located across from each other in South Philadelphia. While they are both tourist destinations, they have been serving up cheesesteaks for over 80 years combined. Pat’s is known for their thinly sliced steak and Cheez Whiz, while Geno’s offers a variety of cheese options and a thicker cut of meat.