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September 27, 2020

Philly Steak Sandwiches with a South African Twist

Posted on August 7, 2016 by in beef

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Philly Steak Sandwiches

Philly Steak Sandwiches are by no means something new, it has been around since the 1930’s.

Philly Steak sandwiches are quite simplistic, chopped steak, braised onions and a fresh roll. Finished! Kapish! It is however when you make something as simple as this that each element must be good quality, prepared with care and time, which just happens to be the two things that we sometimes most neglect.

Philly Steak Sandwiches

The story goes that Pat and Harry Olivieri originally owned a hot dog stand and one day Harry decided to make a new sandwich and while he was eating his sandwich a cab driver passed by, asked him about what he was eating and requested one for himself. Well the end of this story is history and today millions of people all over the world and specifically in the Americas rate it as their top street food.

Philly Steak Sandwiches

Of course I am not American, I am a full-blooded South African, so of course I will give these Philly Steak Sandwiches a South African twist and what can be more South African than biltong(jerky). So I decided to season my chopped steak or better known to us as topside mince with biltong Spice. Philly Steak Sandwiches

I buy mine from our local Spar, but you can visit Freddie Hirsch in Maitland or order online. I used the Hunters Biltong Spice. The other key element of these sandwiches are the braised onions, but we will talk about that in the recipe.

Philly Steak Sandwiches

Philly Steak Sandwiches

serves 4


500 g topside mince

1 finely chopped red onion

handful chopped parsley

about 20 ml Hunters Biltong Spice

2-3 large onions – finely sliced

olive oil

salt and pepper

5 ml sugar

5 ml white vinegar

4 bread rolls

4 slices strong white cheddar


Firstly make the patties. Add the chopped red onion and parsley to the mince and mix well. Make 4 patties the size of your bun or bread. Season each patty liberally on both sides and keep until needed.

Heat the olive oil in a small pot and braise the onions on low heat until they are soft and caramel in color. Add the sugar and keep braising a little more. Lastly add the vinegar and salt and pepper and keep until needed.

Fry or grill the patties until just cooked. For the last minute, place the cheese slice on top and keep frying it until the cheese is melted. Simple place the cheesy steak on a your buttered roll or bread and top with the caramelized onion. Serve with fries and hot English mustard if you must.

The other key element of these sandwiches are the braised onions, but we will talk about that in the recipe.

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2 Responses to “Philly Steak Sandwiches with a South African Twist”

  1. Michelle 12 August 2016 at 6:28 am #

    Hi Nina,

    Will definitely try this out. Although what can I replace the biltong spice with? I don’t think its available in PNG. I’ll check if it’s in the shops though 🙂

    • nerinatimm 12 August 2016 at 8:13 am #

      Hi Michelle, thank you for your visit and also your comment. Biltong spice traditionally has coriander in it, so I would definitely add some to a regular BBQ spice. Just toast the seeds first in a dry pan so that the oils release all the wonderful aromas. Then grind and use!

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