The Cut Of Beef Traditionally Used For Cheesesteak

Some people's idea of beautiful food might be a crisp and colorful salad or an intricately decorated cake, but cheesesteaks are truly enticing. A pile of thinly-sliced beef, oozing with cheese, on a nice crusty hoagie roll? That is beauty. The beef, chopped up into bits and nicely browned, doesn't even look like a cut you'd recognize anymore. It has become one with the sandwich. But that irresistible thing you're holding in your hands wouldn't work without the right piece of meat.

Perfect as they are, cheesesteaks are all about the debate. As the Philadelphia Inquirer states, not only are people never going to agree on the best cheesesteak in Philly, but orders come with a range of options, from the type of cheese you want to "wit," onions or "witout." Condiments are a whole other story. You can get sweet peppers and add ketchup, but be prepared to get an earful from a friend or fellow patron who insists you are doing it wrong. One thing almost everyone who loves cheesesteaks can agree on, however, is what cut of beef to use.

Ribeye is the preferred cut for cheesesteaks

Cheesesteaks have a filling, working-class image that would make you assume the meat used is on the cheaper side, but that's not the case. According to First We Feast, the cut most cheesesteak makers prefer is the nicer, more expensive ribeye. The ribeye is sliced thin, but not too thin, and griddled on a flattop, where it's chopped with a spatula to break it down into bite-sized pieces. The end result is something you might not recognize as ribeye but brings the kind of fat and flavor needed to hold up to half a gallon of cheese whiz.

Why ribeye? Well, the answer lies in the way cheesesteaks are cooked. Ribeyes are one of the more tender cuts of beef and are usually well-marbled with fat. As MasterClass notes, that combination makes ribeye ideal for high-heat, fast-cooking dishes, which is precisely what cheesesteaks are. Ribeye is also one of the most flavorful cuts of beef, and as Serious Eats notes, with the simplicity of cheesesteaks, you want the savory, beefy meat to balance out the cheese. You can make do with some cheaper cuts like top round, but ribeye hits all the right notes for the perfect cheesesteak. You can trust Philadelphia on this; they have been working on these things for a while.