Pat’s is a busy place even at 10am, and they like things the way they like them, so I was grateful for the ordering directions since I was a cheesesteak newbie, and I wanted to do my own ordering for the experience of it all.
And it was delectable. Seasoned thin shaved steak (lots of it!), soft sauteed onions, bright orange you-know-you-love-it Cheez Whiz, all on a soft bun. Now this SOUNDS like it would be easy to replicate, but I’m here to tell you that the Southern husband has tried and rejected cheesesteaks in every restaurant we’ve ever gone to…except for Kinchley’s here in beautiful northern NJ. Kinchleys has been beloved around here for decades for their ultra-thin crust pizza. I think the Southern husband is the only one who has ever ordered cheesesteak off their menu. But he does, and he loves it, and having snuck bites of it I can tell you that he is right. Go figure.
Anyway, I knew I was playing with fire trying to cheesesteak at home, which is why I decided to go the slider route. And to stick as close as possible to the Philly version. No fancy meats or cheeses…I got myself a package of Steak-Ums and a can of Cheese Whiz, some salt and pepper and a sweet onion, and a package of soft slider rolls. (Do you know that slider rolls only come in packs of TWELVE? More on that in later posts.)
Anyhow, I heated up a skillet and sauteed the sliced onion in a little butter and olive oil and salt until it was nice and tender, and scooped it out. Next I melted a little more butter in the pan and toasted the inside of the slider rolls until they were golden (this was skating waaaaay outside of cheesesteak territory, but who doesn’t love a butter-toasted roll? Like I said, I have no shame.)
Then the Steak-Ums went into the pan. I’m here to tell you: put them in frozen. If you defrost them, they are so thin they will break apart in your hands. And I promise they will go from frozen to totally browned and cooked in one minute per side. I sprinkled each side with salt and pepper as they sizzled up.
As soon as the meat is done, get ready to assemble – you want to do this fast so the heat of the meat will soften the Whiz just a little. Bun bottom, steak (I used two pieces per slider, all folded up), a spoonful of onions and a generous squirt of Whiz. Pop on the top bun and there you have it.
I handed off the first one to the Southern husband, and watched while he took a bite. And while this COULD have been all in the interest of marital harmony, he pronounced them worthy of being called cheesesteaks. Baby cheesesteaks, but cheesesteaks! And as I ate a few of them myself, I can also tell you that I’ll be going out for more Steak-Ums and Whiz soon.
Thanks for hanging in there for me through this long cheesesteak saga!
Since you want to assemble the sliders as soon as the meat comes out of the pan so the cheese can melt a little, it's good to have a helper to do the assembly as the steak cooks in batches. You can promise them an extra slider!