Pittsburgh's PNC Park is one of my top three ballparks to see a ballgame in the entire country, with Wrigley and Coors Field coming in at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. PNC does a lot right when it comes to fan experience. With a great selection of reasonably-priced beer, clubs and restaurants where you can watch the game from inside on a cold day, a video board that doesn't constantly harangue you with suggestions on how to clap and cheer, ushers who don't care if you sneak down to box seats during an unattended game, and an amazing city scape as a backdrop, the Pirates' home park is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening.
However, there is one ill conceived item at PNC Park that combines foods that simply don't belong together, "The Pulled Pork Pierogi Stacker". Pulled pork is delicious. Pierogies are pretty darn good. But put these two items on a salty pretzel bun with a caramelized onion spread and something goes wrong.
The "Pulled Pork Pierogi Stacker" actually won the fan elected "signature sandwich" contest held by concessions monopoly Aramark in 2011, beating out the "Banana Pepper Hoagie," which is a banana pepper stuffed with sausage and cheese, topped with fresh marinara on a hoagie roll. I do wonder how they stuffed such a small pepper with sausage and cheese, but alas I'll never know, as the "Triple P-S" was chosen by fans to remain on PNC's menu in lieu of the "BPH."
Let me start with what was great about this sandwich. The pulled pork was juicy, tender and perfectly cooked. I usually prefer to make my pulled pork in a crockpot slathered in Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, but PNC's pulled pork manages to get right what most ballparks get wrong. It's not dry. I've had pulled pork sandwiches at ballparks from NYC to Colorado, but usually the only thing wet about the sandwich is the bbq sauce. In the case of the "Triple P-S" the pork itself is perfectly slow roasted, and even though I purchased my sandwich in the sixth inning, it hadn't been sitting in foil under a heat lamp as they do at Citi Field in NYC. Thus it maintains its juicy, tender pulled pork prowess.
Now, where this sandwich goes wrong is with the pierogies. Don't get me wrong, I like pierogies. They're a bit bland, especially when stuffed with pureed potato, but tasty enough as a side dish. However, they don't belong on a pretzel roll and seem an unnecessary addition to what otherwise would be a simple and delicious pulled pork sandwich. It's almost like a bread and potato sandwich that's only saved by the delicious pulled pork.
The pierogies ended up as the side dish they should be anyhow, because after biting into the sandwich, they slip easily out of the bun and into the paper tray the sandwich is served in. The pierogies themselves are bland and a complete afterthought to what otherwise would have been a decent pulled pork sandwich. They're boiled and slippery and to be honest, I don't know why they are even there except to make fans like me say, "A pulled pork pierogi sandwich! I've never heard of such a thing! I have to try it!". But I strongly suggest that the better move would be to skip this particular sandwich, and head straight to a BBQ pulled pork stand, or just take off the pierogies and eat them separately as the good lord intended.
The "Pulled Pork Pierogi Stacker" costs $8, which is a decent price for ballpark food -- only $1.50 more than one of Wrigley's steamed trunk hot dogs. But for my money, you could do better.