How to Buy Meat for a Philly Cheesesteak

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Close your eyes and picture a large, crusty roll of bread, covered in juicy beef, then drowned in a layer of melted cheese. Created in 1930 in Philadelphia by restaurateur Pat Olivieri, the Philly cheesesteak remains one of America's favorite sandwiches. While controversy surrounds what type of cheese to use -- processed cheese spread, American, or provolone -- the beef steak plays a crucial role as well. With a few tips, it can be easy to buy meat for your Philly cheesesteak.

At the grocery store, find rib eye steak for your cheesesteak sandwiches. Boneless rib eye is a tender, fatty cut of beef that is rich in flavor. Other styles of beef will make a fine sandwich, too, but an authentic Philly cheesesteak relies on rib eye.

For the freshest meat, select a package of rib eye with bright-red beef that has little excess liquid in the package, and is firm to the touch. Check the sell-by date listed on the package to ensure a fresh purchase.

Since Philly cheesesteaks feature chipped rib eye steak, the beef should generally be frozen, to make cutting it easier. Whether you freeze fresh beef or buy frozen beef, beef steaks can remain frozen for six to 12 months. After a year, the beef will no longer be fresh.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before heading to the store, decide how many cheesesteaks you are going to make. The average Philly cheesesteak is topped with about 1/4 lb. of meat. Knowing how many sandwiches you need to make will allow you to buy the correct amount of beef.

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