Smoked in Texas: Fort Worth Cheesesteak
Hans Peter Muller is a second generation baker. His father came over from Switzerland and started the Swiss Pastry Shop in 1973. While Hans is a great baker and I’ve enjoyed every pie and cake he can dish out, he also has a passion for barbecue. He runs probably the only shop that sells homemade Swiss pastries and has a giant offset smoker sitting out back. Its name is Q-Zilla.
Hans fires us Q-Zilla for plenty of smoked meats, whether it’s smoked pork loin for the Smokin’ Cuban or the strips of smoked pork belly for a recent Meat Fight burger special. But it’s the smoked ribeye that becomes what might be his signature lunch menu item – the Fort Worth Cheesesteak. Hans rubs a whole rib roast down with salt and pepper then smokes it over pecan wood. The smoked beef is then sliced thin and topped with green chile queso. The rich smoky ribeye and creamy queso can barley be contained by the house made sesame seed bun. Sliced tomatoes and dill pickles are served alongside, but who needs them?
There has been much discussion lately about the co-opting of food traditions by other regions. This has happened to Texas barbecue across the country with varying success. Yes, we are aware that Philly made the cheesesteak famous, but this is how you take another food tradition and make it your own. Hans didn’t just throw some shredded beef on a hot griddle, add Cheez Whiz, and call it a day. He instead used a Texas cooking method (smoking) and a much beloved Tex-Mex staple (queso) and made a ridiculously good sandwich that has Fort Worth written all over it.