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Pittsburgh's Best Ham Barbeque?
July 7, 2010
I am looking for the best place or places in the Pittsburgh, PA area to buy a delicious ham barbeque sandwich. Any suggestions?
food & drink
(4 answers total)
The "ham barbecue sandwich" I believe was invented in the 1950 by
which ran a large chain of deli/dairy/lunchcounters. It consisted of very thin sliced ham (chipped chopped) in BBQ sauce on a bun. It was very popular during the 50s and 60s and served a many other restaurants.
Now there seems to be just one true Isaly's left (448 Perry Highway) but I haven't been there and I would call ahead to see if they still serve BBQ ham. (I would go there for he Isaly experience) Some restaurants around PGH still serve BBQ ham, but I would guess it is done for nostalgic reasons and they probably are not competitive about it - they use ham and bottled BBQ sauce you could find in the grocery store.
on July 7, 2010
I spent all of my formative years in Pittsburgh and I can't ever recall seeing a ham barbecue sandwich on a menu. I think it'd be like finding sloppy joes.
Here are my ideas:
1) Try county fairs and smaller. Someone might have a booth. My guess is you'd have better luck outside the city itself.
2) I remember my grandmother saying that LaBarbe in Monroeville had good ham barbecue sandwiches. When searching for its spelling and to see if it was still open, I found this article which says they just fancied up their menu. They do have a $3 pork barbecue sandwich you might like. http://www.yourmonroeville.com/timesexpress/article/monroevilles-oldest-eatery-offers-new-menu
3) Make your own until you find a recipe you like. You can start from my mother's: put chipped ham in a pot. Put a lot of (Heinz) ketchup on it. Heat it. That's the most basic version. Add some finely diced onion and green peppers to make it fancier. You can add black pepper, but you won't want any salt. That's in the ham.
on July 7, 2010
There used to be a street vendor in the Strip on Saturdays that served a great BBQ pork sandwich. (Pork was my favorite. I don't remember if they had ham.) Their truck was next to Penn Mac. It was called [Someone] and Sammy's, if I recall. (Mouth is watering now.)
on July 8, 2010
I didn't say that ham BBQ was gone from Pittsburgh. A
turns up several restaurants that still serve it.
What the questioner asked was not "where can I find ham BBQ" but instead "where can I find the BEST ham BBQ", which doesn't have a ready answer.
First off Pittsburgh does not have a real foodie seen in the way that LA or NYC do that influences the successes of restaurants to the extent restaurants have to pay attention. Even Philadelphia does in the domain of cheese steaks, where arguments and opinions on who has the best does affect the economic success of vendors and drives the overall quality upwards. The result is that almost any steak sandwich from Philadelphia is better than the ones found in Pittsburgh which is non competitive about steaks.
Ham BBQ seems to be a Pittsburgh tradition from the 1950s when BBQ sauce became a new taste fad, with companies
manufactuing it for national distribution
adding it to meat that hadn't been slow barbecued or even rack grilled
Asking who serves the best ham BBQ seems similar to asking
who makes the best molded Jello salad
(that search turns up a few caterers who still offer it). Ham BBQ is a traditional food and as my
shows often appears at Church fairs.
A partially acceptable answer to this question would be "I ate X's ham BBQ and liked/disliked it because ...". To really answer this question you would need people who ate this at several places and ranked them on meat, sauce, and bread. Maybe you could get a newspaper or similar to sponsor such an investigation.
on July 8, 2010
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