Creamed Chipped Beef (SOS)

Creamed chipped beef, affectionately known as Sh*t on a Shingle (I’d spell it out, but this is an all ages welcome page…) is a staple in many areas of Pennsylvania. (In many Mennonite households, it is known as “Dried Beef Gravy”)  It is often found in diners as a regular menu item both in Pa Dutch country, the coal region, and in Philly.. And my Dad LOVED it! 

I grew up on it.  Mom used to make it all the time but she used chipped dried beef, freshly sliced from the deli department of the local grocery store. In Schuylkill County, it was easy to find this way. Today, the dried beef is available many places in pouches in the pre-packaged deli meat section of stores. If you can get it freshly chipped in your deli section, I highly suggest using that version!

My Dad was a WWII veteran, having served in Italy.  The military apparently loved making and serving SOS — it was no-muss, no-fuss food that fit in with often restrictive circumstances that needed to be overcome to feed a bunch of hungry soldiers or an entire outpost.  Much maligned by many, both during their service and after discharge, my Dad often asked for it as not only breakfast but as any meal of the day. He often joked that he was one of the few guys excited to find that SOS was on the menu for the day.

Many versions of this recipe call for making the white sauce first then adding the beef to it.  My version, which goes back to how my mom made it, calls for lightly frying the chipped beef, then making the white sauce in the pan with the meat. I always felt the dish developed more flavor this way.  I serve it the traditional way – over toast — but find it equally delicious over home fries.

In honor of Veterans’ Day 2018 (thank you to ALL who served), the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI, and my Pop – recipient of the Bronze Star in WWII for heroic achievement in action with the medical detachment of the 85th “Custer” Infantry Division on the Fifth Army front in Italy — I present to you Dad’s favorite!  (Oh, how I miss you, Dad.  Every day.)

My Dad, Steps of the Vatican, circa 1944

Creamed Chipped Beef (SOS)

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Entree, BreakfastCuisine: Coal Region, Pa. DutchDifficulty: Easy


  • 1/4 pound dried chipped beef

  • 4 Tablespoons butter

  • 4 Tablespoons all purpose flour

  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk

  • Black pepper to taste

  • OPTIONAL dash of hot sauce


  • Shred the beef into bite-sized pieces if needed.
  • In heavy fry pan, melt the butter.  Add the beef and fry a couple minutes until the edges begin to curl and the beef browns slightly.
  • Sprinkle flour over the beef, stir and cook a minute or two stirring constantly.
  • Slowly add the milk while whisking and cook slowly until thickened.
  • Adjust pepper to taste (salt may not be necessary due to the salt content in the beef).
  • Serve over toast triangles (or toasted English muffins, biscuits, home fries, etc.)
  • May be reheated by adding a dash of milk to bring back to consistency.


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