Cheap Meat For Philly Cheesesteak

10 Best Cheap Meats For Philly Cheesesteak

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Shari Mason

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The famous Philadelphia sandwich, known as the Philly cheesesteak, is a delicious combination of soft meat, gooey cheese, and onions cooked to perfection, all served on a humble roll.

I’ll share my secrets to crafting an affordable masterpiece with the best cheap meat for Philly cheesesteak.

Get ready for a sensational journey where taste and affordability unite, transporting you to the streets of Philadelphia. Let’s create an unforgettable, budget-friendly cheesesteak experience together.

Top 10 Affordable Meat Options For Philly Cheesesteak

1. Sirloin Steak

Close Up Shot of Sirloin Steak Subs

Average Price: around $5-15 per pound

Why We Love It: Sirloin is a steak cut from the animal’s rib down toward the rump. It usually has a tender and chewy texture but could also be tough. 

You can cut these steaks into smaller pieces for flavorful, tender, lean beef kabobs [1]. But you can also use these thin strips for a more budget-friendly Philly cheesesteak. 

“Unlocking the budget-friendly magic of cheap meats for a Philly cheesesteak reveals a world of flavor that delights both the taste buds and the wallet.”

– Eat Pallet, Food & Advice

Additionally, the sirloin tip is an economical and lean cut of beef that you should cook to medium rare for a tastier result.

Read: How Many Pounds Of Skirt Steak Per Person?

2. Round Steak

Average Price: around $5-10 per pound

Why We Love It: Many people consider top-round steak as a budget-friendly meat choice. However, the top-round steak would yield the best result if slow-cooked or broiled. That’s why this steak would not be the best option for rare or medium-rare cooking. 

Meanwhile, the bottom round is from the part above the cow’s hind legs. It also provides a good flavor, especially if you marinate it for several hours before cooking or broiling.

3. Chuck Steak

Average Price: around $5-10 per pound

Why We Love It: Chuck Steak is another cheap meat option for a Philly cheesesteak. It is cut from the shoulder part of the cow that gets a lot of exercises, resulting in slightly tough muscles. 

It is usually used for braised dishes, pot roasts, stews, or slow cooking. 

Nevertheless, the top blade becomes more tender once you remove the gristle. You might want to marinade the chuck steak for a more tender and flavorful result [2].

4. Skirt Steak

Average Price: around $10-20 per pound

Why We Love It: Skirt steak is a budget-friendly classic cut of meat that you can use to make Philly cheesesteak for a family gathering. 

This steak comes from the diaphragm area of the cow, but only a small amount can be taken from a single cow, making it hard to find. 

However, skirt steak is exceptionally flavorful and juicy, and many chefs consider it a tasty budget meat.

5. Portobello Mushrooms (Vegetarian/Vegan)

Portabella Philly Steak Sandwich

Average Price: around $4-8 (6-8 ounces) 

Why We Love It: Mushrooms have recently become an excellent patty replacement for vegetarian burgers, especially portobello mushrooms. These mushrooms are large enough to bake, grill, and broil them. It has a meaty texture and rich flavor, resembling a real burger. 

In addition, portobello mushrooms are a good source of minerals and vitamins and contain low calories. It might be more expensive than other meat options, but it would be an excellent choice for a meatless Philly cheesesteak. 

6. Flank Steak

Average Price: around $8-15 per pound

Why We Love It: We suggest this steak if other steaks are not available because it is highly temperamental to cook. It is another cheap cut from the underside of the cow in the rear quarter. 

It could be one of the toughest cuts on the list and a slight alteration while cooking might cause this steak to be dry and chewy. 

Marinade flank steak using lime juice or vinegar for even up to 24 hours before using it on your Philly cheesesteak to ensure tenderness.

7. Ground Beef

Average Price: around $3-7 per pound

Why We Love It: Ground beef is another cheap alternative that could yield at least four to six pieces of Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe per pound. 

“A classic Philly cheesesteak consists of thinly shaved steak (usually ribeye or top round) and is traditionally cooked on a griddle. It’s a wonderful sandwich.”

– Nick Evans, Recipe Developer & Writer

It is made of different cuts from different parts of the cow’s body, leading to various types of ground beef, like ground sirloin, ground round, and brisket. 

8. Turkey Or Chicken Breast

Average Price: around $4-10 per pound

Why We Love It: Traditional Philly cheesesteaks usually have beef, cheese, and vegetables. But for a different and cheap spin on the traditional Philly cheesesteak, use turkey or chicken breast as the source of protein on this sandwich.

For a softer and juicier alternative, you can also use boneless chicken thighs, as turkey meat is much more expensive during the holidays. 

9. Chuck Eye Steak

Average Price: around $5-15 per pound

Why We Love It: This steak has a similar taste and flavor to ribeye steak that, years ago, butchers would take and save for themselves – hence, the nickname, the ‘butchers’ steak.’ 

It sits right next to the ribeye, letting it have all its qualities but is more budget-friendly.

Unfortunately, this steak is temperamental to cook and can turn nastily chewy when heated too fast. You should slow cook or braise this cut before using it on your Philly cheesesteak. 

10. Flat Iron Steak

Two Flat Iron Steak Sandwich

Average Price: around $5-15 per pound

Why We Love It: Flat iron steak is a worthy and more affordable alternative if you’re looking for the tenderness of ribeye for your Philly cheesesteak. It is a well-marbled cut, causing it to have a rich beef flavor that stands out among other parts. 

This steak is a bit more expensive because butchering it involves extra steps, but it is still budget-friendly and tasty. This part results from ridding the top blade steak of the sinew.


u003cstrongu003eWhat is the best cheesesteak meat in the grocery store?u003c/strongu003e

The best cheesesteak meat in grocery stores is ribeye. It is incredibly flavorful, thinly sliced, and tender, despite being slightly pricey. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003cbru003eWhile being cooked, the fat melts into the meat, causing a more flavorful and tender result u003ca href=u0022[3]u003c/au003e. 

u003cstrongu003eCan you use any meat for the Philly cheesesteak?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, you can use any meat for the Philly cheesesteak. There is no universal meat in making Philly cheesesteak, but the ribeye is a popular and flavorful cut. 

u003cstrongu003eHow do you thinly slice beef for Philly cheesesteak?u003c/strongu003e

The best way to thinly slice beef for a Philly cheesesteak is to freeze the meat long enough to make it firm but not frozen. Finally, use a sharp knife to divide the beef thinly. 

Final Thoughts

You must have the ingredients to make an authentic Philly cheesesteak at home. Ribeye is a popular choice, but there are cheaper alternatives you can buy and use instead.

Ensure you freeze the beef or meat for at least 30 to 45 minutes or until it turns firm. It would be easier to slice, giving you more cut-size control. 


Shari Mason

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