Being from the ‘Burgh (that’s Pittsburgh for all of you non-‘burgers), we have our own way of life here. We bleed Black ‘n Gold, Sundays are for God and the Steelers, we worship our Penguins, love our Pirates, LOVE PNC Park, Heinz Ketchup is a way of life and we put fries on almost everything. And just like every city, we have our own colloquialisms when it comes to communicating. I could go on and on and on about our Pittsburghese dialect but probably the phrase “N’at” is one of the most common ones (well okay, next to ‘Yunz’). I recommend checking out Pittsburghese Glossary.
N’at is pretty much defined as “in other words”. Here we would say “Yunz going dahnthan n’at?” If you said that to any Pittsburgher they would know exactly what you said.
Well, another thing that is iconic to Pittsburgh is Primanti Bros. who put themselves on the map for their simplistic, but delicious creations of taking 2 thick-cut pieces of bread, your choice of meat (with an optional fried egg), cheese, vinegary slaw, tomato slices, fresh-cut fries and calling it a sandwich. This sandwich I swear tasted the best at 2 am, after the bars closed and you were with your friends ‘dahnthan’. It was just magical.
Sadly, even though I still live in Pittsburgh it’s a hike for me to get to that original store in the Strip so I needed to come up with my own version when that craving struck. It took me quite a while actually to perfect my version of it. The bread, meats, egg, fries, so forth were simple. It was that slaw that threw me for a loop. See most people, when they think of slaw think of a creamy mayo-based one (kind of like KFC which I LOVE which is odd considering I despise mayo!). But here that wouldn’t work on this sammich as it would make the bread soggy as well as the fries and that is just horrible! Kind of like if you grew up poor your family couldn’t afford real hamburger buns and you had to eat that greasy hamburger between 2 slices of white bread that inevitably fell apart because the grease and ketchup ate through it! LOL
FINALLY the other day I felt that I finally perfected the Pittsburgh Slaw thus the sammich. And what perfect timing! I mean it’s National Grilled Cheese Month so I had to put a spin on this dish and turn it into a grilled cheese adaption! Brilliant, right?!
This was so just.. perfect! If you’re from Pittsburgh or have had one of those famous sammiches you are going to FALL IN LOVE with this! Whether you an hour from the ‘Burgh or 4,000 miles this will Bring You Home!
This sammich is Pittsburgh!
- 1 pound eye of round steak, partially frozen
- 3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups Pittsburgh Slaw
- 8 thick slices of Provolone Cheese or Jarlsberg Cheese
- 8 1” thick slices of hearty bread (Italian or Olive Oil bread works great)
- 8 ounces of fresh cut fries, fried, lightly salted and hot (you want roughly 8–12 fries per sandwich, 12–18 if you’re fry fanatic!)
- 8 slices of fresh tomato
- 4 fried eggs *optional
- 4 Tbl butter
- Using a very sharp knife, slice the meat against the grain in 1/4” slices. Having it partially frozen will make it easier to cut. Place the strips of beef on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 Tbl olive oil and gently toss to combine.
- Allow to sit out for at least 30 minutes or until the beef is room temperature. When you’re ready to cook the beef, place the oil in a large stainless steel skillet and heat over medium-high.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and gently roll the pan around to cover the entire bottom with oil. Add the steak into the pan and allow to cook for 1 minute without touching it. Using tongs, gently move the steak around cooking on all sides or until just cooked through. ~2 minutes. Remove the steak from the pan and set it aside.
- While the steak is resting, heat a grill pan over medium-low heat. Butter both sides of the bread.
- Place the inside buttered sides down on the pan. Grill for 3-6 minutes or until golden brown. Flip the bread over and place 1 slice of cheese on each side.
- For each sandwich, top one side with 8-12 fries On the other half of the sandwich, top with 4 ounces of cooked steak, 1 fried egg, 2 slices of tomato, and 1/2 cup of Pittsburgh slaw.
- Grill for 4-6 minutes or until the side against the pan is golden brown. Carefully flip the French fry side on top of the steak-egg-tomato-slaw side. Plate and allow to cool just for 30 seconds before cutting.
If you didn’t want steak, you could easily substitute in chicken, portabella mushrooms, grilled eggplant or zucchini.
For deli-meats leave just grill slightly (minus the salt pepper). Capicola, Salami, Ham & Turkey, Roast Beef – all fantabulous!
My 2nd personal favorite – Fried egg and tons of BACON! SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!