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Exactly how John's Roast Pork makes the best cheesesteak

Yet another cheesesteak thread. But here is an awesome rundown of what make's John's steaks so damn good.


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  1. Totally supports my opinion that American Cheese and ketchup absolutely belong on a cheesesteak. That's how I have been eating them for over 40 years. But I don't like the ketchup on the roll before the meat goes on. I like to top off the sandwich with it.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Philly Ray

      And here's another article that debunks the Cheez Whiz myth...


      1. re: Philly Ray

        Amen to that. This also supports my opinion that Heinz is best ketchup. Better than any fancy housemade varieties I've had for sure.

        1. re: barryg

          Heinz uses high fructose corn syrup .. that is NOT a good thing. in my opinion...

          1. re: cwdonald

            Heinz makes a couple HFCS free versions of their ketchup (using sugar) - there's an organic one and one labeled "Simply Heinz".
            In Philly I've bought one or the other at Wholefoods, Superfresh and Target.

            1. re: caganer

              Almost guarantee though the ones used at John's and most restaurants are the HFC versions.......... (Out of curiosity.. could you taste the difference?)

              1. re: cwdonald

                I have tried both their regular (HFCS) and their ones with regular sugar, they taste the same.

                Is one particular ingredient more important to you than flavor? If so, you probably would have very different restaurant opinions if you knew the ingredients of every meal you ate...

        2. I don't use ketchup but otherwise completely agree with this. Outstanding bread, don't pre-cook, don't chop to death, don't use cheez wiz. Amen.

          1 Reply
          1. re: RC51Mike

            I concur.. I think the other missed point is cooking the meat and the onions together. I do not like places that keep them apart then dump some on the top at the end. The onion and the beef meld well together, and enhance the overall flavor.

          2. I don't mind whiz, but prefer american. Provolone often doesn't melt well at cheesesteak temps.

            1. I am not one to try to tell anyone else how to enjoy their cheesesteak
              (*ahem and I lie alot too)
              I am morally against peppers, mushrooms, swiss cheese pretty much anything other than rib eye meat, not overly chopped with, onions and american, provolne or whiz... Yes I said whiz... I like 'the whiz' don't hate on it, K? (I also am a closeted spray cheese on ritz cracker fan, but my friends all think I'm a food snob, so let's just keep that between us okay?)
              Oh and hot cherry peppers are okay too

              but when you start adding all that other 'stuff' and you serve it on a questionable 'fluffy' roll, well, now you're just degenerating into "cheesteak hotpocket' territory
              a hot pocket is no more a cheesesteak than some of the sandwiches you'll get in the nether regions outside of this area

              so... be grateful! even a 'bad' cheesesteak around here is probably better than a "good" cheesesteak in someplace like Wisconsin and infinately better than a cheesteak hotpocket, right
              (seriously, don't tell anyone about the spray cheese okay?)

              2 Replies
              1. re: cgarner

                My lips are sealed! That said, having grown up in the great state of Maine, I truly do not get the cheesesteak passion. Same goes for soft pretzels and hoagies. I am, however, completely entertained by the ongoing debates. I had a roast pork sandwich at Dinic's in RTM with rabe and provolone. I would eat another one.

                1. re: cgarner

                  Spray cheese on a Herrs ripple chip with a blob of sriracha!

                2. This post prompted me to get some lunch from John's. My wife was in that area on Saturday and she picked up a cheesesteak (American cheese, no onions, w/ketchup) for me, a small roast pork for her, and a small meatball sandwich for my daughter (she's only 6, but she already knows what's good).

                  We ended up cutting the sandwiches up and sharing them. As usual, the cheesesteak was awesome, but as good as the cheesesteak is, the roast pork is SO much better. I just had a DiNic's pork a few weeks ago when I had jury duty and I still think John's has so much more flavor to it. On top of the pork, you can taste the cracked black pepper, the rosemary, and bay leaf. I don't get that with DiNic's.

                  As for the meatballs, they are tasty, but not my favorite. I can tell by the texture that they just roll them and toss them in the pot with the gravy to cook. A fried meatball has a crusty texture and these are just kind of spongy.

                  My daughter did enjoy the half of the meatball sandwich she had, but she also ate a nice piece of my cheesesteak and I think she liked that more (see, I told you she knows what's good).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Philly Ray

                    "Roast pork is so much better".....I don't know for sure, but I bet his pork is Berkshire & locally sourced with someone like Leidy's. Night and day difference in flavor between that and the leaned out nasty mid west other white meat crap most purveyors stock.

                    I know what makes Nick's roast beef so good.....USDA prime from Kissin Fresh in Fish Town :-) . Don't even try getting a load of "choice" through his door.

                  2. I don't get the cheesteak fascination with this place. I picked up 6 sandwiches for 6 people (3 cheesteaks one wiz, two american, some wit some wit out; and 3 roast porks). Let me just say the place is called John's Roast Pork for a reason. Hint! Because their Roast Pork is what's good here! Try Steve's Prince of Steaks for a great cheesesteak. It never dissapoints. If you are a little bit adventurous get it American (fondue style here) with the homemade roasted hot peppers. Then get back to me.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: dalovin

                      John's doesn't serve wiz. Are you sure that's where you got them?

                      1. re: Philly Ray

                        You are correct that was the intention when I went there, but i learned about the no wiz thing waiting in line for an hour. Yes I know it was johns roast pork. Right near tony lukes.

                      2. re: dalovin

                        I like both Steve's and John's though they are really different styles. I will say that any cheeseteak will deteriorate in quality rapidly after it's made, so if you had to travel with your sandwiches that could affect your impression.

                        1. re: barryg

                          And with the pork sandwich it can sometimes be the opposite. If you let it sit and let the juices absorb into the roll, it is quite yummy.

                          1. re: barryg

                            That is a very good point Barry. I liked the cheesesteak don't get me wrong. I just didn't get why it constantly wins best of Philly all the time. Next time I will it eat it on the spot to see if that makes a big difference.

                            1. re: dalovin

                              Cheesesteaks do not travel well.

                            2. re: barryg

                              Which is why we no longer make a special trip to Steve's unless we eat it right there. Most places now, actually. Once that cheese seizes up, it's a different beast.