[FTC Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Certified Angus Beef® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. The recipe and opinions are my own.]
“In West Philadelphis born and raised, eating cheesesteaks is how I spent most of my days.” Ok, so those aren't the exact words from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song but they should be.
After all, the Philly cheesesteak is as much a part of what defines the City of Brotherly Love as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Rocky steps. Travel outside of Philadelphia (say to Bel Air) and finding a decent cheesesteak can be like finding a Skittle in a bag of M&Ms.
For the meat, I went with the traditional thinly shaved ribeye (Certified Angus Beef® brand, of course), though you could substitute other cuts such as chuck roast if necessary. Next came two key cheesesteak elements, the cheese and onions. For the cheese, the standard options are American cheese, provolone, or Kraft Cheez Whiz. After that it’s “wit” or “witout” chopped, sautéed onions.
Wanting to get it right, I turned to a friend and legend Tony Luke, Jr., C.E.O. of my favorite cheesesteak spot in Philadelphia, Tony Luke’s. I asked Tony what his “go-to” is when he orders a cheesesteak and his reply was American cheese with onions.
As you will notice in the recipe, I opted to created my own smoky Cheez Whiz style sauce recipe featuring American cheese versus the traditional plastic wrapped slices for maximum ooze. Other than that minor tweak, Tony should be proud!
(Note that due to the size of the calzones, cooking both over indirect heat will be impossible on most charcoal grills. Instead, I prepare them separately, returning the first one to the grill during the last few minutes of cooking the second one so that it can reheat. If you are using a larger charcoal grill or a gas grill, you can likely fit both calzones on the indirect heat side.)
GRILLED PHILLY CHEESESTEAK CALZONE RECIPE
Makes. Two large calzones.
Takes. 20 minutes prep. 60 minutes active cooking time.
Additional tools. Vegetable grilling basket, large pizza pan, aluminum foil.
1/4 cup whole milk
8 ounces American cheese, cut into small cubes
2 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound Certified Angus Beef® brand ribeye, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
16 ounces fresh pizza dough
Flour for dusting
Spray canola oil
About the beef. If your butcher won’t thinly slice the beef for you, simply place it in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes until firm but not fully frozen. This will help you slice it as thin as possible.
About the pizza dough. Fresh pizza dough is available at select grocers. You can often convince your local pizza parlor to sell you a ball of fresh dough or you can make your own using this no knead Roman style pizza dough recipe from AmazingRibs.com.
Pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Do not allow it to boil. Once heated, add the cubed American cheese and cream cheese to the milk. Continue to heat the cheese and milk mixture, stirring frequently until the cheese has completely melted, approximately five minutes. Add the ground mustard, salt, and smoked paprika to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Remove the cheese sauce from the heat and allow it to cool as you prepare the other ingredients.
Prepare grill for two-zone cooking, placing one charcoal chimney full of ashed over charcoal on one side of the grill to create a hot and cool zone. Add a grilling basket to the hot side of the grill and cover the grill. Adjust the bottom vents to bring the grill temperature to approximately 450°F. If using a gas grill, simply turn off the burners on one side and adjust the other burners to bring the ambient temperature to 450°F.
Place the onion slices in the vegetable grilling basket over direct heat. Grill the onions, turning frequently until lightly charred, approximately three to four minutes. Remove the onions from the grill and wrap in a single layer of foil to further soften.
In a medium bowl, combine the sliced steak, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper, and canola oil. Mix the ingredients well until the sliced steak is completely coated with oil and seasonings. Add the sliced beef to the vegetable grilling basket. Grill the meat, turning frequently until completely cooked and lightly charred, approximately five to seven minutes. Remove the beef from the grill.
Dice the grilled onions and roughly chop the beef. Mix the onions and chopped beef together.
Divide the pizza dough into two equal parts. Roll out the dough into two 10-inch circles on a lightly floured surface. Add approximately 3/4 cup of the meat and onion mixture to one half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-3/4 inch border. Top the meat with approximately 1/2 cup of the cooled cheese sauce then top the cheese with another thin layer of the meat mixture (this will help keep the cheese from bubbling out of the vent holes at the top of the calzones).
Fold the uncovered half of the dough circles over the meat and crimp the edges of the calzone to seal.
Use a paring knife to cut two vent holes in the top of each calzone. Lightly coat a large pizza pan with canola cooking spray and place a calzone on one have of the pizza pan. Lightly coat the top of the calzone with the canola cooking spray.
Add more charcoal to the hot side of the grill if necessary. Top the charcoal with 2-3 chunk of your favorite smoking wood. Once the wood begins to smoke, place the pizza pan on the grill, positioning the calzone as far from the charcoal as possible for indirect cooking. Cover the grill and allow the calzone cook until light browned and crisp, approximately 20-25 minutes. Repeat with the second calzone, adding the first cooked calzone back to the grill during the last five minutes of the cooking process to reheat.
Remove the calzones from the grill and serve immediately.