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Slicing Ribeye roast for philly cheese steak

Does anyone have any tips on how to make homemade philly cheese steaks.

I was going to buy a 5-6 lb ribeye roast from costco and then thinly slice it. The problem is how to slice it.

I have read online that if I freeze the roast for an hour or so, then I should be able to slice it with a knife. However, i'm afraid this won't be as thin as an authentic Jim's steak, for example. I'm wondering if I need to go buy a slicer?

Also, I was looking at the Ribeye roast in the store and I notice that it's heavily marbled with fat. Do I include the fat?



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  1. My personal plan is to buy a meat slicer (commerical grade under $400) for home, not just for Philly sandwiches, but also I make a beef teriyaki and other deli meats. Since not everyone can do this, I would suggest maybe buying the meat at either a meat store or grocery store and ask the meat man to slice it thin for you. They should do that without charge.

    1. My method is to pound the meat thin between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Lately, I've been using pieces of flat iron steak. It's nicely marbled, tender, great flavor, and only about $5 a pound.. When I've gotten whole tenderloins, after cutting the steaks, I use the small ends in the same way. In my opinion, slicers are a p.i.t.a.. Heavy, hard to clean/store and expensive. The cheap ones don't do the job.

      1. If you live in a town with a decent asian market they usually sell thinly sliced steaks including rib eye that is used for sukiyaki or Korean BBQ, that's what I use for my Philly Steaks.

        1. When I've seen it done in a commercial kitchen they sliced the meat while partially frozen on a deli slicer. While lean is healthier fat gives flavor and moisture.

          1. Yes I have a commercial meat slicer and they are more like $500 and up and IMHO they are the only way to get a proffesional philly type sandwich, etc. Yes I usually cook my boneless ribeye and put it in the fridge overnight, or freeze for about 3 to 4 hours, 1 hour never worked for me.

            1. Well a friend has a meat slicer, so I got that taken care of. Now I guess i'll buy the roast and slice it. I'll keep ya posted.

              And I went to three grocery stores around my area, none will slice meat! Either they are lazy or they don't have the slicer. Oh well.

              3 Replies
              1. re: johnandscooter

                Others may disagree, but I think it's a shame to use a rib eye roast for Philly sandwiches.
                We've used New York strip steaks (which were less $$$ in our store) that had been partially frozen. I used my mandoline to slice them super thin.

                1. re: rexsreine

                  I disagree. I couldn't disagree more. The most important ingredient for an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak is to use thinly sliced ribeye. The reason why Philly cheesesteaks are so delicious is because Pats, Genos, Chinks etc. all use ribeye, which is the most flavorful and tender beef because it is heavily marbleized. Cutting corners with regard to such a brilliant sandwich is why people never seem to be able to reproduce an authentic cheesesteak in their kitchens. Garbage In, garbage out.

                  So long as you have ribeye and use a good Italian role, anyone can easily reproduce a Pats, Genos, or Chinks cheesesteak.

                  To the poster, always include the fat from ribeye. It's the marbleization of Prime Rib and ribeye steaks that make them superior in taste to all other cuts fo beef. Buying a ribeye roast, as you did, freezing it slightly, and then putting it on the deli-slicer will give you exactly what you want.

                  If you want to chop it up further like Pats and Chinks do, simply take a bunch of slices, roll them up, and use a knife to chip it into smaller pieces for even more tenderness. Then, just toss it in the pan, let it brown up, throw your choice of cheese onto it, and whatever sides you want, and there you have it.

                  1. re: Cheesesteak King

                    Totally agree with using what you are SUPPOSED to be using. BUT, I do understand thinking that ribeye for a think sliced sandwich is a waste........but, THAT is what you are supposed to use and THATS why its so hard to find a place wiht a great PCS outside of philly.

                    The one thing I always think of though is that those places MUST get great prices from their wholesaler to be able to make a profit, given the size of the thing......or is there NOT a lot of meat on one?? I mean, sept 2010, even no roll ribeye is around $4.00 and change.........And there is a cut of ribeye, I think its from a cow, that is a bit cheaper, but STILL, for a place that really ONLY sells that, where's the margin??

              2. Find a deli that roasts it's own roast beef. Then buy it from there and they will slice as thin as you want and bring it home and use it.

                1. You don't need a commercial slicer...although ot would be nice.

                  I've used a cheap Krups meat slicer for years that works perfectly fine.

                  Looks like this:


                  Meat should be half-frozen. Comes out about as close to Pat's, Geno's or Jim's as you can get without going to 9th & Passyunk. Now all you need is a griddle that's been seasoned for 50 years :


                  I also use it to thin slice my garlicky roast pork for my Tony Luke's broccoli rabe/provolone knock-off as well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pondrat

                    I seem to recall an episode of on some food show featuring Pat's and they switched from American Beef to the cheaper Australian Brand readily available in superpmarkets.....the brand name was Nature's Reserve and at the time, the wholesale cost was less than $3.99, while American Beef was a couple of dollars more. The Australian Beef is a smaller animal and the Rib Eye is considerably smaller.

                  2. Very happy with this Chef's Choice, model 442 I think. Cost about $350 or so. Goes through refrigerated meat great... nice thin slices... great for Philly cheese steak slices. Cleans up easily. The vari-tilt model... keeps the meat in the rack.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: woodburner

                      I'm originally from Philly and make cheese steaks often.

                      I use the exact deli slicer model that woodburner shows above and it works great. Rib eye should definitely be just slightly frozen for best results. I also slice some extra and save them using one of the inexpensive food vacuum storage machines. I put about 12 slices (for 4 sandwiches) in each bag and freeze them. When it's time to use them I soak the vacuum bagged meat in warm water for about 15 minutes to soften, and then flash fry.

                      I've also been playing around with sriracha sauce to try to replicate the hot sauce at Pat's Steaks !

                    2. Thanks for all your input. I did it and it was OUTSTANDING.

                      We bought about 10 lbs of ribeye roast from Costco. We sliced it thin on a meat slicer.
                      For the rolls, we found a Amoroso roll distributor within 10 miles of our house, so we bought a box of 48 for only $18! And of course the whiz and onions.

                      We did this for a tailgate. We've all been to philly and we love philly cheesesteaks. These were identical to Jims. So there we have it. Ribeye is awesome... and I cut some of fat off before slicing, but not all of it.

                      A+ on my scale!

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: johnandscooter

                        Hi, what is the secret to the cheese sauce? want to try making philly cheese steak sliders for a super bowl party. TIA!

                        1. re: Angel Food

                          Where I grew up in Philly it's simply heating the Cheez Wiz. Microwave works as well as stovetop. There are many Philly folks that feel american or even provolone cheeses are perfectly fine. But the 9th & Passyunk crowd fall more into the traditional Wiz camp.

                          I've attached a photo of the official pat's Steaks ordering guide for reference !!

                          1. re: pondrat

                            To really appreciate Pats sign you must understand the back of the line may be half way around the block!

                            ..and in my opinion cheeze wiz ruins an otherwise great steak. Use real cheeze, provolone,american,both. Throw the cheeze on the steak as its near done and work it in.

                            Also i suspect a deli can/should not slice raw meat on the same equipment used for other things -- they would need to like you alot to be willing to tear the machine down and sanitze after your order..

                            1. re: jeffergj

                              ....halfway around the block in the dead of winter at 10pm !!!

                              I'm with you jeffergi on the american cheese thrown on top of the steak and under the hot partially raw onions...where it blends with the juices on the roll.

                              1. re: jeffergj

                                Couldn't agree more. Cheez whiz has an artificial taste. I would pick provolone or mozzarella. Even a sharp white cheddar would be good.

                                1. re: JohnE O

                                  Sounds like John Kerry, ordering a PCS with "Swiss",.......Stay with tradition....CHEESE WIZ.......

                              2. re: pondrat

                                I have been waiting to make a comment on Philly Chees steaks from Philly. As for Pat's and or Tony Luke's I never ate there and I first was stationed at Naval ship Yard in 1950 and the only thing we ever heard of in the area was a old guy with a cart on base that made steaks Hoagies with Onions and maybe some sauce. Us Sailors loved this cart at 2.00 am, I hung out at the Snyder ave. Bar at Snyder ave and Passyunk and Pats was just at the next block and yet most of us didn't know he was there. I do know this after years later and Marrying a Philly gal and living in Upper Bucks County that The trend some how went to Pats having Cheese Whiz,, I take the Provolone and love onions and peppers or Mushrooms and of course the Amoroso Rolls . I went back to Philly a couple years ago to see what the fuss was about Pat's and didn't stand in Line or put up with the smart ass gal on the counter and went to a local place that makes them the old fashion way that I remember. Guess its just matter of taste and younger generation, I retired from the Navy and am now over 80 years old so when I want a cheese steak now I just make my own..

                                1. re: jocko

                                  This is the best steak post I have ever seen. Thank you jocko. Wish we could hang out.

                          2. I've made friends with a butcher who slices ribeye very thin for me. Then I cook it on an Evo Flattop Grill.

                            1. you can by a meat slicer but unless you do a lot of slicing, seem like over kill (in $s and counter space/storage).

                              I do this all the time. Freeze the meat slighly and get a sharp knife and slice it. we make steak and cheese subs faily regularly and work great.

                              I also buy in presliced ribeye at the local korean store for about $2.79/lb. Easy way to get around this issue but fully realize you bought a whole ribeye.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Soup

                                2.79?!!??? Sure its ribeye???? RETAIL?????!!

                                1. re: gabagool

                                  Could be "Select" grade. Almost certainly is, in fact, if it's really rib-eye.

                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                    Possibly "Standard Grade", if they have a local slaughterhouse that wholesales.

                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                      I was thinking "Select" is likely, too.

                                2. Break it down to smaller portions and freeze it pretty well, but not HARD and use a very sharp knife to sliver slice it. Do a block at a time so it is not so overwhelming. With practice you can get it shaved very thin... and still have the 400 bucks you would have spent on the slicer.

                                  1. I know I will get tons of crap for this but I will try anyway. I moved to the west coast in 1981 and of course at that time there was few options. I Always have made my Pizza (cheese) steaks when I lived in Cheltenham and of course visited dozens of steak places in the Phila area. We all had our favorite places and the debate will never end. However on the West Coast I have been able to recreate and produce an excellent cheese steak. First of All it is a total myth that Rib Eye is necessary. I love rib Eye steak but not in a cheeses steak way to much inconsistency in the meat. I have been using Top Sirloin for 25 years and everyone I make it for LOVES it. When you slice the meat as thin as required its BS that Rib Eye is necessary. Meat Top Sirloin is extremely tender and especially when slice paper thin, The meat is 10 times more consistent and you are able to slice nice even wide pieces. Perfect for making cheese steak. And it is Half the price. I have a strong feeling we have been led down a path when we were told it needs to be rib eye..

                                    3 Replies
                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                        Scuba, few have the knife skills to thin slice by hand your home-made pastrami or any cheesesteak meat, as you did last Sunday! Even Delucacheesemonger wondered if you used a slicer when you opened the meat packages, and he knows knives pretty well. And we both went to Penn, the cheesesteak capital! Thanks again!

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          Thanks Veggo. Enjoyed the company, the cheeses and Belgium ales. Next time cheesesteaks!

                                    1. I freeze and use a mandolin. I include all the fat.

                                      1. i'm saving up for a slicer. i was shooting for some nice Korean BBQ sliced beef but thanks to this thread, it would have 2 AWESOME uses! ha!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: simplelife

                                          Don't forget you can use it for hot pot/shabu shabu too. Relly jonesin for a slicer but don't know what to get...

                                          1. re: joonjoon

                                            We bought ours at a garage sale. The gentleman was a retired caterer selling all his equipment, he had huge pots too but we had no use for them. It is a manual slicer (not electric) and it works just fine for our purposes. We only use it for roast beef. It's just pesky to clean.

                                        2. At Costco in Puerto Vallarta they sell a package of ten thinly sliced rib eye steaks. Each take less than a minute on each side to cook on my BBQ. Perfect for a single person. They freeze great and thaw incredibly fast.
                                          I doubt you want to come all the way down here to buy them but maybe your local Costco will slice a rib eye like this for you.

                                          1. Yes the best meats are the one's with marbling.