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Cheesesteaks are my favorite. I think I probably call everything I enjoy eating my favorite because I like so few things… but I LOVE cheesesteaks. I used to think you could only get a decent version of at a restaurant – and those can be hit or miss – until I learned grocery store butches will cut and shave meat into pretty much anything you ask for, at no extra charge.
Many stores – and butchers! – sell already packaged shaved steak, and I’ll pick that up if I see it, but if I don’t I’ll ask Miguel – the meat manager at the store I live next to – to shave a ribeye for me.
In my house, it’s just a delicious steak sandwich if the steak isn’t shaved, but in a pinch or as preference you could thinly slice steaks by hand. I recommend partially freezing the steaks to make it easier to do. This is the method called for in my Philly Cheesesteak Breakfast Hash and Cheesesteak Pasta recipes.
You’re pan-frying the onions, not caramelizing them. There should be a mix of crispy-edged pieces and soft golden brown ones when you combine them with the meat; keep in mind they’ll continue to cook until the sandwiches are out of the pan.
Adapt this recipe. Please! Swap out the cheeses for your favorites, use your favorite hoagie rolls, add peppers – whatever. I guess technically you could even say ‘no onions’ (clutches chest) if you wanted.
American cheese will melt into a similar texture as Cheez-Wiz, with a similar, if more familiar flavor, and it makes a great substitute. Get it from the deli if you can, but singles work too.
Adjust it to your family’s tastes. I like to add green bell peppers to my Cheesesteaks. One of my kids wants no cheese at all – so not actually a cheesesteak I guess – and my husband wants ALL THE CHEESES.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Once the oil is shimmering add your diced onions and butter.
Stir together to melt the butter and get the onions coated. Add a pinch of salt, then spread into one layer and let cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes.
Turn the onions when they begin to brown, so that they cook evenly. Once they are nice and golden and starting to darken around the edges, push them to one side of the pan.
Add your shaved steak – it may help to separate it with your hands while adding it – and season with the granulated garlic, remaining salt and black pepper.
Use a wooden spatula or another firm tool to break up the meat into smaller pieces. Once no more pink remains, combine the onions and meat together. Taste it. Do you need more salt? Be careful – the cheese you have yet to add is salty.
After the meat and onions are mixed well, reduce the heat to low and make a decision: are you mixing the Cheez-Wiz into the steak or not? If you are, do it now. Dollop as much as desired on top of the meat and use the spatula to combine it. After you’re done – or if you’re not doing it – separate the meat into oval-shaped mounds, a little smaller than the rolls you’re using. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to do this in batches.
If you decided not to stir in the Cheez-Wiz go ahead and dollop it on top of the mounds that need it and leave it in place. This will form a thick, gooey blanket of cheese between the meat and bread.
Place a slice of Provolone atop of each mound. Once you notice the provolone begin to soften (melt), cover the pan with a lid. Let the steam warm the buns and melt the cheese.
After 3 minutes remove the lid. Place one hand flat – gently – against the back of an open bun, then slide a spatula between the meat and the pan to separate them. Press the spatula up, holding the meat tightly against the bun. Flip the bun over quickly, and now you have a cheesesteak in your palm! Separate all the cheese strings and plate it.
Repeat the required steps with the remaining sandwiches until they’re all made. Dassit!
You could stir the Provolone into the meat as well. In my family we all like our cheesesteaks differently, but if I had my way I’d mix the Cheez-Wiz and the provolone into the meat before making the mounds, then top each steak with a tiny drizzle more of Cheez-Wiz.