Home Feature ‘The Philly Special’: Deep Dish Pizza So Good It’ll Satiate Your Desire To Obliterate The City of Chicago

‘The Philly Special’: Deep Dish Pizza So Good It’ll Satiate Your Desire To Obliterate The City of Chicago

by Colin Luderitz

Everyone knows that the most effective way to instill the fear of God into the heart of a New Yorker, aside from snapping Aaron Rodgers’ achilles tendon, is by making a Chicago-style deep dish pizza. While hardly an orthodox pizza, and certainly not a better pizza than a beloved New York slice, deep dish pizza still earns its place in the world of pizza as a clever take on a simple set of ingredients.

Here is the thing, though. I am not from Chicago. I have never even been to Chicago. My closest connection to Chicago comes from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” I am from South Jersey, and as such, my connections are to the great city of Philadelphia. I love the Eagles, I love Boyz II Men, I love throwing batteries at Santa Claus, but most importantly, I love cheesesteaks. As such, this recipe will be foregoing the traditional sweet Italian pork sausage typically found in deep dish pizza in favor of shaved ribeye steak and sautéed onions.

I call it “The Philly Special.”

For this glorious take on deep-dish pizza, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 14 oz shaved ribeye steak
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 lb pizza dough (I am using store-bought for this recipe; if you are feeling ambitious, you can make it from scratch, but I am in the kitchen of Dinallo Heights, and they do not have a stand mixer.)
  • Provolone cheese, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choosing (I used mozzarella, with a little bit of Cooper Sharp White American to pay homage to Jalen Hurts’ cheesesteak of choice.)
  • 1 ½ cups marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese


Combine your salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme and basil in a small bowl.

  1. Place your steak in a large bowl and pour the spice mixture overtop, mixing thoroughly to coat the meat.

  2. Sauté your onions in a non-stick skillet at medium-high heat in about a tablespoon of olive oil.

  3. Once the onions are lightly browned on their edges, remove them from the skillet to a bowl, and add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet.

  4. Add the steak and cook until nicely seared. Holding the slices of meat in place with a spatula, slice them into the smallest pieces you can as they cook. (Do not let the meat get too overcooked. It still has to go in the oven with the rest of the pizza).

    Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

    Slicing steak with the precision and skill of a Philly line cook named Jawnathan. Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

  5. Add the onions back into the skillet and stir them around with the meat, to let the flavors get to know each other. Kill the heat and set aside.

  6. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

  7. Coat a 12-inch cast iron skillet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the breadcrumbs to the bottom of the skillet (This will prevent the crust from sticking to the skillet and make it crispier).

    Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

    Stretching out the dough with great concentration. My forearms look great here. Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

  8. Roll out pizza dough to about 14 inches in diameter and place it into the skillet, coaxing up the sides of the pan to create a “bowl” of dough.

    Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

    Layers of beautiful, beautiful provolone cheese. Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

  9. Layer the bottom of the dough with the slices of provolone cheese.

    Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

    Our lovely bowl of steak, onions and cheese. Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

  10. Add the steak and onions on top of the layers of cheese.

  11. Sprinkle your shredded cheese on top of and in between the steak and onions, to create a semi-smooth surface to spread your sauce on.

    Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

    A heaping helping of marinara sauce, roughly dumped upon a sheet of steak and cheese. Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

  12. Pour the marinara sauce on top.

    Colin Luderitz | The Montclarion

    Deep dish pizza in the oven. Colin Luderitz | The Montclarion

  13. Place the pizza into the pre-heated oven and let it cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

  14. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.

    Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

    Our beautiful final product. Photo Courtesy of Scott Ackerson

  15. Garnish with grated parmesan, slice and serve!

Now, I promised my roommate and fellow desk editor Avery a slice of this deep dish delight, but the second my buddy Scott and I took a bite, we knew that was not happening. The first words out of our mouths were an emphatic “oh my god.” Paired with some family-friendly beverages, we polished off the entire pizza with a haste and hunger best described as “violent.” It is a delicious, hearty meal perfect for a night in with a couple of friends.

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