← Close Menu

Close Menu →

Food feedback: Chipped Ham BBQ evokes memories, more recipes

I remember eating barbecued chipped ham at the Isaly stores for lunch. I have introduced my family to the sandwiches. They are a regular menu item on Saturdays during the summer. I am thrilled that I am able to purchase the sauce in local Giant Eagles or Shop 'n Saves.

I thought everyone fried their ham before adding the sauce. One thing about Pittsburgh, we always add a spin to a basic recipe and make it a family tradition. I fry my ham, add the sauce and sweet relish on a bun with potato salad and enjoy my meal.

East Liberty

Attached is the Isaly's actual BBQ sauce recipe.

My mother, Kitty Defino, and I often ate at the Braddock Isaly's and acquired this recipe there in the 1940s.

Thought you would like to try it -- the best and original way to make them.

My husband and I are married 60 years this December and I will once again dress in my wedding gown.

I never gained weight eating Isaly's chipped ham BBQ sandwiches. They were on little buns -- half the size of today's buns.

Perhaps for our 60th, with our four children and their families, we will have the Pittsburgh staple: Chipped ham BBQs, Klondikes and a local beer. Sounds like fun to me!


I've been making chipped ham sandwiches for years. My recipe is:


  • Heinz Ketchup (1 bottle)
  • Brown sugar ( 3/4 cup or so)
  • Pepsi (or Coke, just a splash or 2 for taste, don't want it too watery)
  • Sweet pickle relish (to taste/consistency)
  • 1 to 2 pounds chipped ham

I always mix ingredients together (except for the relish and ham) in a 2-quart saucepan to taste. Then take some of the sauce and put off to the side. Add the chipped ham and cook slowly over a low heat, stirring occasionally so it won't burn. With the sauce on the side you can add until you get the right consistency. (It's easier to add more sauce, than to have too much sauce and not enough chipped ham).

Then I add the relish for texture/consistency/flavor.

I've also noticed that if you let it sit for a while, then reheat, the sauce soaks into the meat. Kinda like soup, it's always better the next day.

Natrona Heights

I was proud to see my recipe for Chipped Ham Barbecues printed in the story. This recipe got my son through college in New York, once he trained the local delicatessen "how thin to chip the chopped ham." We still use the recipe for a quick lunch. The secret ingredient is the butter.


Send feedback to food@post-gazette.com or mail to Food at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Find the story referred to above at post-gazette.com/food. First Published November 29, 2012 5:00 AM