October is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year for sports. The baseball playoffs are in full swing, football season is hitting its stride, and the MLS playoffs are right around the corner (not to mention the World Cup on the horizon). So, some game-day food like these Pastrami Sliders, should be on your radar!
Sliders are in my top-three of game-day snacks (wings and queso round out the list). I love sliders because they are generally easy to make, you can usually multiply the recipe and feed a crowd, and people can take one or a few of the sliders depending on how hungry they are.
Sliders, FTW! These Pastrami Sliders are inspired by Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh and worth the work!
What is a Primanti-Style Sandwich?
If you’ve never heard of Primanti Bros, they are a very popular sandwich shop in Pittsburgh, PA with a loyal following. I think they have even more locations now. They are an absolute institution and I wanted to do my best to turn their popular sandwich method into slider form for easy game-day snacks.
Their big claim to fame is that they stuff deliciously crispy fries on your pastrami sandwich. It’s a work of art!
Now for the disclosure: I’ve only had a real Primanti Bros. pastrami sandwich once in my life and it was almost a decade ago. So these are definitely in the spirit of the original, but I don’t pretend that they are as good as the original. If you live in Pittsburgh, you have zero reasons to make these. If you live elsewhere though, then it’s definitely worth a try as these Primanti Style Sliders are pretty much the perfect game-day food!
- Want another regional slider idea? Try my Cuban-Style Sliders!
Making the slaw for the pastrami sliders
I kept the slaw for these sliders pretty basic and just used some pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. Could you shred your own? Of course! Go crazy.
I was going for simplicity here though.
Mix together the mayonnaise and add some red wine vinegar for a little tang. Don’t forget to season the slaw with salt and pepper to taste.
Pile this on the sliders and it gives them a wonderful crunch and some creaminess.
There’s no doubt that you could make a more elaborate slaw, but I was really just looking for something crunchy and creamy and so this simple one did the trick just fine! The slaw I used in these Shrimp Flatbreads would be delicious if you’re looking for an alternative.
Finishing these Sliders
Besides the slaw, the thing that makes Primanti Bros. so special is they put a nice layer of French fries on the sandwich. These fries do so many things. For starters, they are hot so they warm the sliders a bit. Second though, they absorb all the dressing from the slaw so the flavors really melt together.
Because these sliders are mini, I recommend using the thinner shoestring fries. I just baked up a batch of frozen ones until they were crispy.
The rest of the slider is pretty straightforward. Get some good pastrami and provolone from your deli. Have them slice the pastrami thin.
Make a slider by piling on some pastrami and a quarter piece of provolone. Then stack on some fries! I like to use Hawaiian Rolls for my sliders, but you could use your favorite.
Add a big spoonful of coleslaw and chomp away!
Pretty hard to have a bad sports day if you are eating a few of these Primanti Style Sliders and washing them down with a cold beer.
Making these pastrami sliders in advance
These pastrami sliders have a pretty short prep time, but if you wanted to make them even easier to make as a game day appetizer, you could prepare the slaw in advance.
I would bake the french fries fresh though as it’s nice to have them piping hot when you assemble your sliders.
Substitutions and Ideas
Here are some ideas to change up this recipe if you are interested!
- Make these hot pastrami sliders by adding everything except the slaw to your buns and then baking them for 5 minutes at 400˚F. Top with slaw before serving.
- Change up the cheese! Swiss cheese would be a great choice especially if you pair it with Russian dressing.
- Instead of coleslaw, try sauerkraut on the sliders.
- Make a quick garlic butter by heating butter in a small bowl with some garlic powder and brushing the garlic butter on top of the rolls.
Primanti Style Sliders
- 16 soft slider buns
- 1 lb. pastrami, sliced thin
- 4 slices provolone cheese, quartered
- Shoestring fries, crispy
- 2 cups coleslaw
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake frozen french fries until they are very crispy.
- For slaw, whisk together mayo and red wine vinegar and season with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and black pepper. Stir in coleslaw.
- When fries are crispy and baked, assemble sliders by adding a slice of pastrami (about an oz. per slider), then a quarter of cheese, followed by a few fries and a spoonful of coleslaw.
- Best served while the fries are still warm!