Father’s Day: Grilled Primanti Brother’s Sandwiches

30 Jun

Last weekend in celebration of the day of dads (Happy Father’s Day!) my family unit decided to whip up a Pittsburgh tradition for my Pittsburgh native father: Primanti Bros Sandwiches. If you have ever tuned into the Food Network or Travel Channel, or visited Pittsburgh itself you have probably heard of the legendary sandwich shops, famous for topping their sandwiches with French fries and coleslaw.

If visiting the shop itself you can choose from a myriad of deli meat options, in our version we used sweet and hot capicola ham. To make things a little healthier (and easier) we went with a freezer fry over the twice fried version in the original. Also, bucking tradition, we threw our sandwiches on the grill, because on Father’s Day firing the grill up is practically a requirement.

Grill it

The end result? Awesome. The capicola and provolone, purchased that morning at a Pittsburgh deli for extra authenticity, were extra flavorful and the vinegar-based coleslaw brightened up the whole concoction.  These sandwiches got rave reviews around our table, but then again who wouldn’t like a sandwich stuffed with French fries?

Your Whole Meal in a Sandwich

Grilled Primanti Bros. Sandwiches
adapted from the Washington Post, January 28, 2009


For the slaw:

  • 1 pound (about half of a medium-size head) green cabbage, shredded or finely chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 For the Sandwiches:

  • 2 pounds spicy, thinly sliced capicola ham (we used one pound sweet and one hot)
  • 8 thin slices provolone cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 16 thin slices
  • 16 large slices of soft Italian bread (18 ounces total)
  • 2 bags frozen french fries


For the slaw: Combine the cabbage, sugar, salt and celery seed in a colander set over a medium bowl. Let stand at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours; the cabbage will be wilted (about 4 cups total).

Discard the draining liquid in the bowl; rinse and dry the bowl, then transfer the wilted cabbage to the bowl. Add the oil and vinegar; toss to coat. Season with pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the sandwiches: Cook fries according to package instructions. Drizzle the bread with olive oil, and top the opposite side with a layer of sweet capicola, a layer of hot capicola and a slice of provolone. Top with remaining slices of bread, oil side up. Place sandwiches on a medium-hot grill for approximately 2 minutes on each side, or just long enough to put grill marks on the bread and melt the cheese. Remove the sandwiches from the grill and add  generous portions of warm fries and coleslaw and tomato slices. Enjoy with your extra fries and slaw. Yum.


One Response to “Father’s Day: Grilled Primanti Brother’s Sandwiches”

  1. Nancy Rovin July 16, 2010 at 1:50 am #

    Love this website! Can’t wait to share with friends and try your recipes. Let me tell you….your semifreddo was delicious! Happy that I experienced it at your Dad’s house with my bestest buddy Nadja!!!

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