Pittsburgh Style Sandwich Recipe
What is a Pittsburgh style sandwich?
It is easy to recognize a Pittsburgh style sandwich. The french fries and coleslaw are the ingredients that make it so unique. Originating in a famous city eatery, locals and out-of-towners alike, have been enjoying this treat since the 1930s.
A quick survey
Have you ever tried a Pittsburgh style sandwich?
If you have ever been to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania or anywhere else around the area, chances are pretty high that you have seen a Pittsburgh style sandwich on a restaurant menu. You may have even eaten one.
With the exception of finer restaurants and fast food chains, practically every dining establishment in the western part of Pennsylvania serves their own version of this regional favorite. If the menu says Pittsburgh style, then you know it is going to have fries and coleslaw on it.
Originally made famous by the Primanti Bros.® restaurant, it's always a top seller anywhere.
If you haven't been lucky enough to try one, you've probably seen the sandwich featured on various television food programs.
Give it a try! A Pittsburgh style sandwich may not be the easiest sandwich to eat, but it's worth it.
Start your Pittsburgh style sandwich with your favorite fillings
Ingredients for 1 sandwich
- Italian bread - 2 thick slices
- Deli meat - about 1/8 pound
- Tomato - 2 thick slices
- Cheese - 2 slices
- Coleslaw - about 1/3 cup
- French Fries - a big handful
- Condiments, if desired
Begin the sandwich assembly with the bread
Don't use a skimpy loaf of bread or thin slices for this sandwich. If you can find it, a nice hearty italian bread is perfect.
I have seen italian bread around the entire Eastern part of the U.S., but I'm not so sure about other areas of the country. Look for it in your local bakery or grocery store.
If you can't find italian bread, any other hearty white bread will do.
You'll need two thick slices. Lay one slice down on a plate.
Add your choice of deli meat
Put the meat of your choice on the bread.
I use about 1/8 of a pound.
For this sandwich I used pastrami, because to me, it is the greatest cold cut ever.
If you want, you can warm up the deli meat. Just heat a non-stick pan up and warm the slices for a few minutes. It does not take long.
I enjoy a warm sandwich because it melts the cheese a bit.
Add your cheese
Who doesn't love cheese?
Place about two slices of your favorite cheese on top of the meat.
As I said before, I warm the pastrami, so when I put the cheese on, it begins to melt.
I always use provolone for this sandwich. It adds a mildly sharp flavor to it and holds up well when taking big bites.
Add the french fries
The next thing that gets added to the sandwich is the french fries. Yes, you read that right, french fries.
It's the fries and the coleslaw that make it Pittsburgh style. Without them both, this is just another sandwich.
Restaurants use those good greasy french fries, but at home I don't have a fryer, so I use a bag of frozen potatoes. Bake them according to the directions on the package.
I prefer the thinner french fries, but crinkle cut work well too. About one handful is enough for one sandwich.
Add the coleslaw
Place about 1/3 of a cup of coleslaw on top of the french fries.
The traditional sandwich uses a sweet and sour slaw, but I have had this sandwich with a mayonnaise based slaw and a broccoli slaw. I prefer a lighter vinegar and oil version because the mayo-based one is a little heavy with all of the other ingredients.
If you need a quick and easy recipe that is just right, try the one below. It only takes about 5 minutes to make.
Oil and vinegar coleslaw recipe
- One 16oz bag of shredded coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl and add the shredded cabbage. Toss until coated. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
Add the tomato
In the summer, or any other time of the year, nothing beats a fresh beefsteak tomato that has just been picked and sliced.
If you can't have one of those, then another tomato will do.
Nice slices, about 1/4 inch thick, go on top of the coleslaw.
Finally, top off the sandwich with the second slice of bread. Gently press down so all of the ingredients mingle together.
Primanti Bros.® is a Pittsburgh landmark that has been around since 1933. They originally sold sandwiches to truckers and the warehouse workers in the city's strip district.
Over the years there have been some changes to the menu and the restaurant and, in recent years, they have expanded throughout the area.
For more information about this famous eatery, visit their website: primantibros.com
Enjoy your sandwich
Now it's time to enjoy this culinary delight!
If you want, add a condiment to the sandwich. I love mustard, so I usually put on a generous portion.
You really don't need a side with this sandwich because it comes ready-made with french fries and coleslaw. Just serve with an ice cold beverage and enjoy. A crisp dill pickle also hits the spot.
Don't forget to have lots of napkins, and maybe even a fork and knife, because it does get messy!
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have my lunch. Yum!
Pittsburgh style sandwich
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