If you’re a fan of Philly cheese steak sandwiches, you know that the right sauce can make all the difference. From classic condiments like ketchup and mayo to more complex sauces like homemade blends and hot pepper relish, there are countless ways to enhance the flavor of your cheese steak. In this article, we’ll explore the history of this beloved sandwich, the types of cheeses used, and the best sauces to complement and customize your Philly cheese steak experience. So grab a napkin, get ready to salivate, and let’s dive in!
The History of Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches
According to legend, Philly cheese steak sandwiches were invented by Pat and Harry Olivieri in the 1930s. The brothers ran a hot dog stand in South Philly, but one day they decided to switch things up and try something new. They cooked up some thinly sliced beef with onions, piled it onto a roll, and added some cheese. The sandwich was an instant hit, and soon enough people were lining up for blocks to get a taste. Nowadays, Philly cheese steaks are an iconic part of Philadelphia culture, and they’re enjoyed by people all over the world.
Over the years, the Philly cheese steak sandwich has undergone some changes and variations. Some people prefer to use different types of cheese, such as provolone or American cheese, while others like to add peppers or mushrooms to the mix. There are even vegetarian versions of the sandwich, made with seitan or tofu instead of beef.
Despite the variations, one thing remains constant: the Philly cheese steak sandwich is a beloved and iconic food. It’s not just a sandwich, it’s a symbol of Philadelphia’s rich culinary history and culture. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, no trip to Philly is complete without trying a cheese steak sandwich from one of the city’s famous spots.
The Different Types of Cheese Used in a Philly Cheese Steak
When it comes to cheese options, there are a few favorites that Philadelphians tend to stick to. The two most common types of cheese used in a Philly cheese steak sandwich are Cheez Whiz and provolone. Cheese Whiz is a processed cheese sauce that has a smooth, creamy texture. Provolone, on the other hand, is a traditional Italian cheese that has a nutty, buttery taste and a mild aroma. While Cheez Whiz is the more popular option, some people prefer provolone for its more authentic flavor. Other cheeses that are occasionally used include American, Swiss, and even blue cheese.
It’s worth noting that the type of cheese used in a Philly cheese steak can vary depending on the restaurant or region. Some places may offer a combination of Cheez Whiz and provolone, while others may use only one type of cheese. Additionally, some restaurants may offer specialty cheese options, such as pepper jack or cheddar. Ultimately, the choice of cheese comes down to personal preference, and trying different cheese combinations can be a fun way to explore the flavors of this iconic sandwich.
What Sauces Complement a Philly Cheese Steak?
In addition to the cheese, sauces are a crucial component of a Philly cheese steak sandwich. While it’s all a matter of personal preference, some of the most popular sauces include ketchup, hot sauce, and mayonnaise. Spicier options like hot pepper relish and jalapeno sauce can also add a kick of flavor. Another classic Philly condiment is pizza sauce, which pairs well with Cheez Whiz. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try adding barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce to your cheese steak. The possibilities are endless!
Aside from the traditional sauces, there are also some unique options that can elevate the flavor of your Philly cheese steak. One of these is garlic aioli, which adds a creamy and garlicky taste to the sandwich. Another option is horseradish sauce, which provides a tangy and slightly spicy flavor that complements the meat and cheese perfectly.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, you can also try using avocado or hummus as a spread for your Philly cheese steak. These options are not only delicious but also provide some added nutritional value to your sandwich. Additionally, you can experiment with different types of cheese, such as provolone or pepper jack, to create a unique flavor profile.
Mayo vs. Ketchup on a Philly Cheese Steak
The debate between mayo and ketchup on a Philly cheese steak rages on. Some purists believe that ketchup has no place on a cheese steak, as it detracts from the flavor of the meat. On the other hand, mayo is a classic sandwich condiment that adds a smooth, tangy flavor. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal taste.
However, there are some who argue that neither mayo nor ketchup should be used on a Philly cheese steak. Instead, they suggest using a combination of hot sauce and melted cheese to enhance the flavor of the meat. This alternative condiment choice provides a spicy kick and a creamy texture that complements the savory taste of the steak.
The Perfect Ratio of Sauce to Meat on a Philly Cheese Steak
When it comes to the perfect sauce to meat ratio on a Philly cheese steak, there’s no right or wrong answer. Some people like a lot of sauce, while others prefer a more minimalist approach. One thing to keep in mind is that too much sauce can make the bread soggy and messy, so it’s important to find a balance that works for you.
Another factor to consider when determining the perfect sauce to meat ratio is the type of sauce being used. Traditional Philly cheese steak sauce is made with a combination of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. However, some people prefer to use different sauces, such as barbecue or aioli, to add a unique twist to their sandwich. Experimenting with different sauces can help you find the perfect balance of flavor and texture for your taste buds.
The Best Way to Apply Sauce to Your Philly Cheese Steak
If you want to avoid a mess, the best way to apply sauce to your Philly cheese steak is to use a spoon or ladle. This will help you control the amount of sauce you add, and prevent it from spilling out the sides of the sandwich. Another trick is to pour the sauce onto the meat before adding the cheese. This will help the cheese melt evenly, and distribute the sauce throughout the sandwich.
How to Make Your Own Homemade Philly Cheese Steak Sauce
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own homemade Philly cheese steak sauce. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
- Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup ketchup, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir all the ingredients together until well combined.
- Spread the sauce on your Philly cheese steak, and enjoy!
Top 10 Restaurants in Philadelphia for Authentic Philly Cheese Steaks with Sauce
Philadelphia is home to some of the best Philly cheese steak sandwiches you’ll ever taste. If you’re in the mood for an authentic experience, here are ten restaurants that you won’t want to miss:
- Pat’s King of Steaks
- Geno’s Steaks
- Steve’s Prince of Steaks
- Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop
- Jim’s Steaks South Street
- Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies
- John’s Roast Pork
- Barclay Prime
- Campo’s Deli
A Vegetarian Twist on the Classic Philly Cheese Steak with Sauce
If you’re a vegetarian, you don’t have to miss out on the Philly cheese steak experience. There are plenty of plant-based substitutes that you can use in place of beef, such as seitan or portobello mushrooms. To make the sauce vegetarian-friendly, simply use a vegan mayo and skip the Worcestershire sauce. You can also experiment with different cheeses, or try a vegan cheese substitute.
The Debate over Sauce: Hot or Mild on a Philly Cheese Steak?
Some people like their Philly cheese steaks hot and spicy, while others prefer a milder flavor. The choice between hot and mild sauce comes down to personal taste. If you’re a fan of spice, try adding some hot sauce or jalapeno relish to your sandwich. If you prefer a more subtle flavor, stick to classic condiments like ketchup and mayo.
How to Customize Your Philly Cheese Steak with Different Sauces and Toppings
One of the best things about Philly cheese steak sandwiches is that they’re incredibly versatile. You can customize them with a wide range of sauces and toppings to create a unique flavor profile. Some popular toppings include sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms. For sauces, you can try salsa, aioli, or even truffle mayo. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different combinations until you find your perfect match.
The Secret Ingredient in the Best Philly Cheese Steak Sauces
The secret ingredient in many Philly cheese steak sauces is Worcestershire sauce. This savory sauce adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile, and helps to balance out the sweetness of the ketchup and mayo. Other common ingredients include garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. By experimenting with different spices and seasonings, you can create a sauce that’s uniquely your own.
Pairing Wine and Beer with Your Favorite Philly Cheese Steak and Sauce Combination
If you want to take your Philly cheese steak experience to the next level, consider pairing it with a glass of wine or a cold beer. For a classic pairing, try a hoppy IPA or a crisp lager. For wine, go for a robust red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try a dessert wine like a port or a sherry.
How to Store Leftover Philly Cheese Steaks and Sauces for Maximum Freshness
If you have leftover Philly cheese steaks or sauces, it’s important to store them properly to ensure maximum freshness. To store the sandwiches, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and store them in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply heat them up in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. For sauces, store them in an airtight container in the fridge, and use them within three to four days.
That’s all for our comprehensive guide to Philly cheese steak sauces. Whether you like it hot or mild, cheesy or saucy, there’s a perfect combination out there waiting for you to discover. So go forth, experiment, and enjoy!