The Makings of the Perfect Philly Cheesesteak

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A cheesesteak bible according to one Philly native

The Onions: If you have been to a place outside of Philly that claims to serve "authentic" Philly cheesesteaks, they will almost without fail suggest that you order your steak "wit" or "wit’out" onions. But I’d like to let you in on a secret — if you have the temerity to pronounce "wit" as "with" or request "no onions" you will not be laughed out of the place. Actually, I’ve been ordering steaks my entire conscious life and I still feel silly affecting a fake Philly accent just to indicate that I… blasphemy alert: I do not want onions on my steaks. It’s "wit’out" for me. For those who do want them, as most people seem to, Spanish onions, both white and yellow, are predominant in Philly. (Photo above courtesy of Flickr/JSpatchwork)

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The Cheese: I’m actually pretty forgiving when it comes to the cheese. Sure, I’m a traditionalist; I like my Whiz. Kraft Cheez Whiz is considered to be the cheese for a true Philly steak. White American and provolone are equally acceptable and actually are most common, especially at places that pride themselves in only serving "real" cheese. But Whiz has the cheesy spirit of the proletariat. (Photo above courtesy of Flickr/Yurilong)

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The Drip: This is where the cult of the cheesesteak gets a little precious. You see, when you bite into a cheesesteak, ideally grease and cheese should drip from the other end of the roll onto the paper (like at Dalessandro’s). If the drips become a stream, that’s bad. "No drips" can be really bad, depending on the cut of steak. Some slab-cut steaks don’t have much of a drip at all, which isn’t as much of an issue as long as the meat is cooked to a nice medium tenderness. But there’s that magical drip mean with most steaks that denotes a true mastery on the part of the grill man. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Gshowman)

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