BBQ Chipped or Shaved Ham Sandwich

Okay, I have never called this a “chipped ham sandwich” except for writing this post. I decided to change the name after receiving some bizarre looks when I asked various deli workers if they had the names I knew it by: chip chop or chipped chopped ham.

Growing up in the Mid-Ohio Valley, it was available at every deli counter I can remember. In fact, I remember it being packaged like raw meat and sold from the meat coolers in some of the area grocery stores. It still is available in the region’s grocery stores and deli counters.

What is it? A compressed ham loaf that is very thinly sliced or shaved.

Although it is not the most expensive or healthiest ham, chip chop (chipped chopped) ham does make a tasty and easy BBQ sandwich.

BBQ Chipped Ham Sandwich

The sandwich in the photo (above) is made with chip chop ham that I purchased in Ohio and schlepped back to Georgia in my cooler that “keeps ice cold for five days.”

However, I have now discovered that you do not have to have chip chop ham to have a decent BBQ ham sandwich. You can indeed make a good BBQ chipped or shaved ham sandwich with any very thinly sliced or shaved ham you like. You just have to explain it to the deli counter person how you want it: extremely thin to the point that the slices are unlikely to be whole.

Once you have the ham, the next step is to make the simple sauce.   Although there were several variations in my various cookbooks, I decided to make my own version.  While still very simple to make, adding the cola or root beer, mustard, and honey amps up the flavor and complexity of the sauce without having to cook it very long.

Although eating a chip chop ham sandwich was a fairly common occurrence in my childhood, eating the BBQ version was much more rare. In fact, I just have faint memories of eating it at my cousins’ who lived about an hour northwest of Pittsburgh, PA. Thus, it makes sense to me that this is might be a regional dish to Pittsburgh…although not limited just to Pittsburgh as a few web sites claim.

When topped with relish, it is reminiscent of the Virginia ham sandwich of Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville, Ohio…only two hours from Pittsburgh 🙂

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