Pennsylvania Dutch Ham Barbecue

“Barbecue” to the Penn Dutch and in the Coal Region is not typically something smoked over wood or a smoking/cooking technique.  Here it refers to chopped meat simmered in a sauce then served on a burger bun. (see Coal Region Barbecue for more on this phenomenon).

This recipe was created to use deli ham making it fast and easy to make. When making this barbecue, I often use Sahlen’s Deli Ham.  I suggest a good quality deli ham, not something cheap and loaded with added water. 

If the deli ham is reminiscent of a slice of baked smoked  ham, you have found it! (Almost every deli will allow you to sample anything they carry — go ahead and experiment with your choices.) Get the ham sliced extremely thin; what we call “chipped” here in parts of the coal region but some regions refer to it as “shaved”.

This is great for parties, get-togethers, and pot lucks.  It holds nicely in a slow-cooker and reheats well. I prefer to make it the day before serving to help the flavors really come together.

Pennsylvania Dutch Ham Barbecue

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Entree, SandwichesCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy


  • 1 – 1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds good quality deli ham, shaved/chipped

  • 4 tablespoons white sugar

  • 6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard

  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 1/2 cup grated onion

  • 1/2 cup finely diced green pepper


  • In a medium sauce pan, mix all ingredients, except ham, until well blended.
  • Lightly chop ham into bit-sized pieces and add ham, mix well.
  • Simmer 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Serve on buns/rolls of choice.