So, once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, the Southern husband lived in Philadelphia. This was before we were married, so I don’t know this for sure, but I’m pretty certain he made more than one trip to both Pat’s and Geno’s, the famous cheesesteak joints near the Italian market in Philly. He is therefore an EXTREMELY discriminating cheesesteak critic since he started with the best of the best, so when I decided to try my hand at cheesesteaks I didn’t dare try the original large version. Nope, I stacked the deck in my favor by making adorable little cheesesteak sliders. Because who couldn’t love an adorable, melty cheesy cheesesteak slider? Yup, I can be sneaky when I need to be.
Now, before I could do this, I had to do some reconnaissance. In Philly. At Pat’s King Of Steaks, where at about 10 in the morning (hey, you do what you have to do for research) I had a steak “wit and Cheez Whiz.”
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!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ sweet onion, sliced
- 1 nine ounce package Steak-Ums sliced steak, frozen
- Cheese Whiz (mine came in a can, but I think it comes in jars as well)
- 4 slider rolls (if you can't find them, hot dog rolls cut in thirds work great!)
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter and one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Scoop out and set aside.
- Melt remaining butter in skillet and toast insides of slider rolls until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add frozen Steak-ums to skillet and saute for one minute per side, seasoning with a pinch of salt and pepper as you go. You will have to do these in batches.
- When the meat is done, assemble sliders as follows: bottom of bun, 2 folded pieces of steak, spoonful of onions, generous squirt or spoonful of Whiz, top of bun.
- As they say at Pat's eat up while it's hot!