I want to do some cheese steak at home. I was wondering what kind of meat should I buy.
What part?

  • You can try to find Steakumm at your local grocery store. It's thin, frozen beef steak which makes cheese steak easy at home: steakumm.com/products/beef-sandwich-steaks
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 23:41
  • @SnakeDoc I feel bad for you if you think Steak-Umms qualify as cheesesteak meat: grubstreet.com/2012/04/what-is-really-in-steak-umms.html Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 7:57
  • @pacoverflow I suppose you don't eat sausages or chicken nuggets either?
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 22:09
  • @SnakeDoc I guarantee you authentic cheesesteak establishments in Philly don't use Steak-Umm. Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 4:15
  • @pacoverflow Who ever said they do? Not everyone is going to go out and buy butcher meat to make a sandwich. Besides, you don't need to go to Philly to get a good cheesesteak.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 18:52

5 Answers 5


There is no single cut of meat that is universally used in Philadelphia. Top round is common, and it may actually be the most traditional given the sandwich's Italian origins (top round is what is used in braciole and Italian beef sandwiches). It is becoming more and more common to use rib-eye, though, which is what is used in some of the most popular Philadelphian establishments (e.g., John's Roast Pork and Tony Luke's), which makes sense given its higher fat content.

As lazoDev mentioned, you should be able to get your butcher to slice the meat into thin (~1mm) pieces. If that is not possible, though, you can put an entire rib-eye roast into the freezer for a half hour or so. This will harden the meat without actually freezing it solid, and will make thinly slicing by hand much easier.


As a person who actually sells Philly steak meat to many of the national chain accounts and most of the cheesesteak accounts around the Philly area, the raw material used to make a true Philly steak is knuckle meat or wedge meat. These are both cuts of meat you will not find in your local grocery store.

Thousands of cheesesteak accounts claim they use only ribeye, but very few can afford the high cost of ribeye and having ribeye advertised on their menu but serving something in place of ribeye is actually a crime, but who is going to turn them in? Chances are nobody is going to fight that legal battle and that is why they get away with breaking truth in menu laws.


I think that the best meat to use for a Steak sandwich is very thinly sliced ribeye. The fattiness of the steak make the best flavor for sandwiches in my opinion. You can get it thin sliced at any butcher shop, or grocery store that have a good meat department.

  • 1
    Just had a Tony Lukes on Monday 7/15/13 and can definitively say it is not rib eye. It was delicious, but not rib eye. Probably top or bottom round. Rib eye is way to expensive for any restaurant. Regardless of the 8-9 dollar price tag.
    – user19225
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 14:45
  • @AnthonyC., Tony Luke's menu specifically advertises that they use rib-eye for their cheese steaks. Their relatively new line of frozen make-at-home cheesesteaks also lists rib-eye as the main ingredient.
    – ESultanik
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 16:45

Top round with tallow to lubricate the griddle. Using ribeye for this application is a waste of a pricey cut, but the extra fat is 100% required.


Hanger steak is also a very popular choice. Flat iron would work, as well.

  • 1
    While these cuts may be popular in some areas, I don't think I've ever seen them used for a cheesesteak in Philadelphia.
    – ESultanik
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 18:05
  • The most expensive cut of meat is used in a cheese steak?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 18:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.