This Chipped Ham Sandwich is a classic Pittsburg, PA recipe consisting of impossibly thin ham mixed with a savory, slightly sweet sauce. The Chipped Ham is perfect for making sandwiches or sliders. It’s great to share with friends and family and is super kid friendly!
Lately, we’ve been having a ton of fun finding recipes that are famous to different regions in the United States. It seems like there are a lot of famous SANDWICHES! From The Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich to the Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, there are a number of of States that have put their trademark between two slices of bread.
Today, we are going to turn our gaze to Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and West Virginia. This Chipped Ham Sandwich actually originated in Isaly’s Dairy Shops, which first opened back in the 1920’s. Originally a dairy and ice cream store, they offered a more savory dish with their Chipped Chopped Ham Sandwiches.
Chipped Ham Sandwiches
So, what is a Chipped Ham Sandwich? I’ve seen them called a Chip Chop Sandwich or a Chipped Chopped Sandwich, but it’s all the same. It consists of deli ham that is slice SUPER thin. The deli takes pressed ham and just “chips” it against a commercial meat slicer. This is called slicing it “Pittsburgh Style”.
It is then tossed in a light BBQ sauce. Looking around online, it seems like everyone has their own slight variation and version of this sauce. But, generally, it’s a light slightly sweeter sauce than your standard BBQ sauce.
Variations on Chip Chop Sandwich
No matter what you call it, the light razor thin ham and the zesty sauce make for an AWESOME sandwich. Here are some notes and variations for this classic Pittsburgh favorite.
- CAN YOU FREEZE CHIPPED HAM?– Yes you can. I’d divide the chipped ham into smaller portions as needed, so you only need to thaw out what you need. Make sure you are getting as much air out of the freezer bag as possible. It will be good in your freezer up to 4 months. To thaw, just put the bag in room temperature water until thawed. Replace water if it becomes too cold.
- LESS SALTY– If you want to make your sandwich a little less salty, you can rinse the ham in a colander with cold water. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
- SLIDERS– For an ultimate game day snack, make these into handheld sliders!
- WHAT IS THE BEST HAM TO USE– The ham is sliced SO thin, that it really doesn’t matter. Don’t be afraid to get the stuff that is a little less expensive for this recipe!
- CAN YOU MAKE THIS IN A SLOW COOKER?- I haven’t tried this. But, from what I read, yes you can. I would just reduce the amount of water in this recipe or the ham can become a little too soggy. The water content of the ham itself should keep it from drying out. But, honestly, this ham comes out so tender on the stove top, there really isn’t a need to slow cook it!
- TOPPINGS- The only real topping I see people put on this traditionally is sweet pickle relish. Otherwise, it is often plain. But putting cole slaw on it might be tasty as well! I’m just not sure if Pittsburgh natives would disown you!
I hope you enjoy this recipe for Chipped Ham Sandwich! If you are a Pittsburgh native, we’d love to hear how close we got this recipe to the original. Happy eating!
Chipped Ham Sandwich
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 lb shaved or thin sliced ham
- 6 hamburger buns
Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and vinegar to a saucepan and mix well.
Slice ham as thinly as possible.
Add to sauce.
Heat on medium high heat and mix frequently until boiling.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently as flavors mingle and mixture heats.
Serve immediately on buns.