Copycat Recipe: Pappa Geno's Wicked Philly

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Holy shit, you guys. I made Pappa Geno's Wicked Philly at home and it was the best thing ever. For real -- this cheese steak is legit. Like MC Hammer legit. Maybe I'll call it the MC Hammer. Or maybe the BV Hammer. I don't know, I'll have to think about it and get back to you.

If you haven't had the Wicked Philly, you must. It's some sort of sick Philly-Chicago cheese steak hybrid loaded with juicy steak, cheese, mayo, and hot giardiniera. Like I said, LEGIT. Also now that I've written legit three times in the matter of a minute I'm going to see how many times I can stick it in this post.

Pappa Geno's original is obviously legit and all (4), but sometimes I don't feel like having a 4,000-calorie sandwich for lunch. My version is by no means a diet dish, yet somehow I feel its a bit lighter...like at least a little. Maybe. I hope. Whatever -- it's definitely smaller and has substantially less oil and mayo. Shut up.

Here's how to make it:

Before you get started on the sandwich, you need to have a few good-quality key ingredients -- the right stuff, if you will (I may or may not be listening to an MC Hammer Pandora station as we speak).

The Right Stuff:

  • The Right Bread: Should be slightly crisp on the outside & pillowy soft on the inside. A nice crusty loaf of freshly baked Italian bread or good sub rolls will do just fine.
  • The Right Steak: Boneless ribeye is the way to go. Get it thinly sliced at the butcher or freeze it slightly and slice it yourself (which is obviously what I did, because I'm a gypsy-ninja and I kind of don't like talking to people).
  • A Good As Hell Hot Giardiniera: I found a fantastic one at Whole Foods. It's made by That Pickle Guy, is filled with spicy pickled red and green bell peppers, cauliflower, celery, carrots, and olives, and is amazing. The jar was only $4.99 for 8 ounces. That's pretty cheap for love if you ask me. Sadly, you didn't...

    And now for the sandwich!

    BV Hammer Wicked Philly/Chicago Cheese Steak Subs (Yes, I realize the name needs some work). *yields 4 normal-people-sized sandwiches -- if you want to be a fatty and double the recipe go ahead


  • Oil (canola, vegetable)
  • 1 lb boneless ribeye, trimmed & shaved thin
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Dash or garlic powder
  • 4 slices cheese (american, provolone, or eff it and use cheese wiz)
  • 1 loaf crusty Italian bread or 4 good-quality rolls
  • Toppings: Hot giardineira, mayonnaise


    Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add 1 chopped onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Bring heat to low and allow to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

    Meanwhile, pound out slices of steak to ensure thinness.* Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. *If you are a gypsy-ninja like myself, you may choose to do this with you hands.

    Reheat pan to medium-high and add the steak, cooking until browned, about 45-60 seconds per side. Remove from pan and chop into tiny little pieces. Return to pan along with onions and season with garlic and onion powder. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Reduce heat to low.

    Cut loaf into sandwich-sized rolls and slice open. Place bread, open-faced down, on top of beef mixture, allowing the steam to soften and warm it.

    Remove bread and spread mayonnaise on top, bottom, or if you're crazy, top and bottom.

    Divide the beef mixture into 4 and shape to fit roll. Top each with a slice of cheese and cover for 20 seconds to let melt.

    Scoop the cheese steak onto the rolls and top with desired amount of hot giardineira. Then be real cool and add some more.

    That's it -- not even hard! Now eat it and you'll be all like:

    5. 6.


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