Sandwich Dossier: The Philly Cheesesteak

July 30, 2009

Time for another dossier, and what better to discuss than my favorite sandwich of all time, the Philly Cheesesteak?  The Philly Cheesesteak is a hot sandwich generally served on a sub roll.  The recipe varies, but it generally includes steak, shaved into small pieces and grilled, and cheese, which is usually Cheez Whiz, Provolone, or American.  It is apparently a serious faux pas to order one with Swiss, as well.  In addition to these core ingredients, cheesesteaks often include onions, mushrooms, or red or green peppers. 

An example.

An example.

Now, I have never ordered a cheesesteak from Geno’s Steaks or Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia.  I have had variations on the cheesesteak from all over the country, but unfortunately I’ve never gotten a cheesesteak from its birthplace.  However, I do know that they make it slightly differently there.  First of all, they almost always use Cheez Whiz as a default, presumably owing to how easy it is to melt and cook with consistently.  They also seem to put less effort into balancing ingredients in terms of presentation, presumably letting the taste speak for itself.  After all, Philadelphia invented the cheesesteak, they don’t really have anything to prove. 

An authentic Philly Cheesesteak.  Fresh Prince of Bel Air not included.

An "authentic" Philly Cheesesteak. Fresh Prince of Bel Air not included.

To me, the most interesting part of the Philly Cheesesteak is how marketed and monetized it’s become.  Around the country, restaurants and franchises has developed a recipe and instituted it.  Cheesesteaks are available at Subway, at most Coney Islands, even in the cafeteria of my college dormitory.  Not only that, but the basic formula for the Philly Cheesesteak has been adapted and used in other markets.  Hot Pockets has a Philly Cheesesteak, and as I type this Domino’s is marketing a Philly Cheesesteak pizza.  This worries me sometimes.  I love what I’ve come to know as a Philly Cheesesteak, but what if that’s grown too far from the original?  Would I even like an authentic Philly Cheesesteak, with Cheez Whiz on an Amoroso roll?



Wait, who am I kidding?  I’m the guy who started a blog about sandwiches, for god’s sake.  Of course I’ll enjoy it.  Sheesh.

One last Cheesesteak.  This one looks a little heavy on the green peppers, but whatevers your pleasure I guess.

One last Cheesesteak. This one looks a little heavy on the green peppers, but whatever's your pleasure I guess.


6 Responses to “Sandwich Dossier: The Philly Cheesesteak”

  1. […] 28, 2009 This was an interesting sandwich for me.  My excitement over a new philly cheesesteak to try was tempered with my previous issues with Subway.  […]

  2. […] franchise generally found in food courts and malls.  As their name suggests, they specialize in cheesesteaks and various types of potatoes (usually french fried), although they do serve a couple other […]

  3. […] beef sandwiches, as well as a number of other offerings.  An Italian beef sandwich is similar to a Philly Cheesesteak, but the two differ in a number of key ways.  Italian beef sandwiches consist of roast beef piled […]

  4. […] sub I tried, the Philly Beef, is inspired by a favorite of mine, the Philly Cheesesteak.  It consists of Arby’s roast beef, Swiss (I think) cheese, red and green peppers, and mayo […]

  5. […] any other style, but I digress.  For this review, I tried on of their signature subs, a personal favorite of mine, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak. I was having trouble uploading the picture I took, so enjoy […]

  6. […] back, I should’ve been more adventurous, but I decided to go with an old favorite, the Philly Cheesesteak.  I have no complaints.  The steak was thin sliced and grilled to perfection, and the cheese and […]

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