Pittsburgh Chipped Ham Barbecue Sandwich

Mike tried this recipe on February 26, 2023

I came across this recipe while looking for dishes to make for the Super Bowl. But, seeing as how this year’s game featured Philadelphia rather than Pittsburgh, I thought better of it and decided to wait a bit.

As the title suggests, this sandwich is attributed to a Pittsburgh dairy/meat market called Isalys that offered a product called “chipped chopped ham”. “Chopped ham”, also called “ham loaf”, is made of assorted chopped up bits of ham (think trimmings, scraps from larger cuts, etc.) shaped and pressed into a rectangular loaf; I’ve seen this pre-sliced and sold in packages as lunch meat. The ham is then “chipped” from the loaf, which essentially is slicing it very thin so that it falls apart, making the meat very tender. Islay’s published a recipe for a barbecue sauce to pair up with it (which they later offered for sale in bottles), and a regional favorite was born. Isalys no longer owns any brick-and-mortar locations, but they do continue to sell their products online and through some local retailers.

There are many variations available, from making your own sauce (as in this recipe) to purchasing and using your own favorite sauce. If chopped ham isn’t available at your deli, a good substitute is to get shaved ham instead. Mix them together and warm them up, and you’re all set.

Adapted from Hearth and Vine

Pittsburgh Chipped Ham Barbecue Sandwich

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 20 mins Total Time 30 mins
Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


A regional favorite in the Pittsburgh area made popular by a dairy/meat market named Isaly's, this is great for picnics, quick meals, game time foods, and any time a simple tasty sandwich is in demand.

Adapted from Hearth and Vine 



  1. In a large bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and onion powder. Mix until well combined.

  2. Add ham to the bowl and stir together until well blended.

  3. Heat the mixture on the stove in a large skillet or cook pot over low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Serve on hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 341kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13.1g21%
Saturated Fat 4.7g24%
Cholesterol 67mg23%
Sodium 2509mg105%
Potassium 683mg20%
Total Carbohydrate 38.2g13%
Dietary Fiber 0.5g2%
Sugars 33.2g
Protein 20.4g41%

Calcium 3 mg
Iron 12 mg

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  • Shaved regular ham can be substituted if chopped ham is not available for "chipping"
  • Any favorite barbecue sauce can be substituted for the sauce recipe provided here.
  • The bread is not included in the nutritional information as this varies depending on the type of bread used.
  • This can also be put into a slow cooker to prepare or keep warm.
Keywords: Ham, chopped ham, chipped chopped ham, barbecue, sandwich, Pittsburgh, Isaly's
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