Pennsylvania Dutch Hamburg Barbecue Sandwich

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Pennsylvania Dutch Hamburg Barbecue Sandwich

star rating (7) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Easy to fix and filling, this barbecue "sauce" is best served in a potato bun, with chips and pickles on the side and a cold glass of lemonade to cool you off. It's got a tangy, sweet and sour flavor that'll appeal even to the youngsters at the table. Sheree McCleary, our marketing assistant, reports that this recipe has been a staple in her extended family for years.

The Sauce
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion (3 3/4 ounces), diced
1/2 cup (5 ounces) ketchup
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
a pinch each of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) vinegar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard, yellow or golden
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Potato Buns
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup potato flour (1 1/4 ounces) OR 1/2 cup potato flakes
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter
1 cup (8 ounces) water

The Sauce: In a large frying pan fry the hamburger and onions until browned, stirring often. Drain off the fat. Add the other ingredients and stir until well-mixed. Simmer mixture for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve hot on a bun. Yield: enough for a family of four. (This sauce freezes well; double the recipe and freeze half for another meal

Potato Buns
These soft, golden buns are the perfect vehicle for the sandwiches outlined above. Use freshly mashed potatoes if you wish -- about a half cup should do it, and don't forget to reduce the water by 2 to 3 tablespoons -- but we usually opt for potato flour, for the sake of convenience.

Manual/Mixer Method: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients, stirring till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it's smooth, shiny and supple. (If you're using a mixer, knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes using the dough hook attachment.) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. Take a look at the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, and adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, as necessary, to produce a smooth, supple dough. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight pieces. Round each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Using your fingers, flatten each ball into a round. Then use a rolling pin to make nice, smooth, 5-inch (or so) circles. They'll shrink back to about 4 inches in diameter; that's OK. Place the circles in a lightly greased pan or pans, sides touching, and let them rise, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, or until they're puffy.

Bake the buns in a preheated 350°F oven for about 15 minutes, or until they're a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and brush them with melted butter, if desired; a total of 1 tablespoon butter is plenty. This will keep their crusts soft. Let them cool on a wire rack. Yield: 8 buns.

Nutrition information per serving (1/4 of recipe, 219g): 426 cal, 30.3g fat, 20g protein, 18g complex carbohydrates, 11g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 96mg cholesterol, 571mg sodium, 460mg potassium, 14RE vitamin A, 4mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 30mg calcium, 177mg phosphorus.
Nutrition information per serving (1 bun, 95g): 260 cal, 7.7g fat, 6g protein, 41g complex carbohydrates, 3g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 21mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 205mg potassium, 81RE vitamin A, 1mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 36mg calcium, 83mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 5, Summer 2000 issue.


  • 01/04/2015
  • Sherry from Reading, Pa
  • My mom made this recipe, as we are Pennsylvania Dutch! This is the way I make it. Very tasty.
  • star rating 12/05/2014
  • from
  • star rating 11/29/2014
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  • star rating 01/08/2014
  • Eben from NJ
  • This is great. Add a bit of chipolte to give it a little kick and some smoky elements
  • star rating 10/17/2013
  • from
  • This received rave reviews with the addition of 1/2 cup (each) of sweet pepper and hot pepper relishes!
  • star rating 11/29/2009
  • Kari from Kent, WA
  • I made this for a house full of boys/men the other night. I winged it a little with the sauce; threw in what was left in a bottle of bbq sauce and pepper jelly (hey, it called for peppers, vinegar and sugar...) At any rate, it was scarfed up. Hubby thought it was the best sloppy joe he'd ever had, and the buns were entirely delicious. Thanks again for a simple recipe that calls for ingredients found in the pantry.
  • star rating 04/09/2009
  • Susie M from Connecticut
  • The meat sauce was great, like a mild sloppy joe, and I'll be making that again. But my potato rolls won't be putting Martin's out of business anytime soon. Not sure what I did wrong, but these rolls did not rise for me (nor did they brown, except on the bottoms). They had a nice flavor and a decent texture but they were the thickness of pancakes. I was using fresh ingredients, so I must have done something wrong.