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Pit Beef in NJ or DE?

MGZ Jul 6, 2009 08:35 AM

What can I say, I've got a craving for this Baltimore specialty. Is it possible to get one in the Garden State? Northern Delaware? Or must I drive to Charm City?

  1. shabbystorm Jul 6, 2009 04:56 PM

    MGZ know you know food but I enjoy a challenge. I did some research for Pit Beef, could not locate anything in NJ or DE, of course that does not mean it does not exist...could not find a place.

    There were some places that do 'Pit Burgers' but know you are simply looking for the real deal.

    There was one place in NYC but they opened and closed within a year.

    You may very well have to take a road trip.
    A blurb from a book on Amazon about some places in Maryland

    Hope someone else finds a place close by - sounds delicious.

    1. r
      Rocket88 Jul 7, 2009 06:57 AM

      Short answer is, no you won't find it in NJ, DE or even most of MD outside of the greater Baltimore area. Closest thing is a roast beef sandwich with horseradish sauce.


      1. MGZ Jul 7, 2009 07:07 AM

        Those sandwiches were a favorite when I lived in Baltimore. I was sorta hoping some clever NJ bar owner might have picked up on them.

        Funny, isn't it, some regional specialties become ubiquitous (think Buffalo wings) while others remain regional.

        15 Replies
        1. re: MGZ
          RC51Mike Jul 7, 2009 07:23 AM

          Possibly because there are various roast beef sandwiches nationwide. More so, pit beef is an equipment and labor intensive exercise requiring real commitment whereas wings just get dumped in any old deep fryer. It annoys me no end that every weekend we drive from Wilmington to Rock Hall and there's not a pit beef to be found.

          1. re: RC51Mike
            Rocket88 Jul 7, 2009 07:51 AM

            Someone told me that the health department has put a big dent in the roadside pit beef stands - they don't seem to have very long lifespans. Last time had pit beef was at Chaps.

            1. re: Rocket88
              fourunder Jul 7, 2009 08:14 AM

              Can anyone tell me what the traditional cut of beef is used for *Pit Beef* sandwiches?

              The last and only time I had a pit beef sandwich was at The Kutztown State Fair in Pennsylvania about 20 years ago. It had all the elements of a highly anticipated religious experience......fire and burnt meat......but the meat was horrible and show leather would have been a compliment.

              Maybe I can attempt and try a better version at home.

              1. re: fourunder
                MGZ Jul 7, 2009 08:35 AM

                Top Round. Direct Grilling

                e.g.: http://www.thatsmyhome.com/lunchbox/b...

                1. re: MGZ
                  fourunder Jul 7, 2009 08:44 AM


                  Thanks for the quick response. Am I correct to assume it's a double or triple size cut of a London Broil.....or a full top round that has been butchered in half?

                  1. re: fourunder
                    MGZ Jul 7, 2009 09:07 AM


                    1. re: MGZ
                      Quine Aug 2, 2009 10:36 AM

                      Thanks what a great fun video that more than explained Pit Beef to someone as clueless as I was.

                      This post was delayed 5 minutes becasue I had to wipe the drool off my keyboard!

                      We need to organize a Mid-A chowhound road trip!

                    2. re: fourunder
                      MGZ Jul 7, 2009 11:58 AM


                      I came to the same conclusion and intend to try soon. If you get to it before me, perhaps you'll share your thoughts?

                      1. re: MGZ
                        fourunder Jul 7, 2009 12:26 PM


                        btw...I couldn't get the YourTube link to open.....it comes back as incomplete.

                        Myself, I have never been a fan of London Broil. Very rarely Have I ever achieved results that make me want to purchase it even when it goes on sale at or around $1.49 per pound. In the last few years I have been experimenting with cheaper cuts of meat, usually roasted low and slow at a temperature of 225* indoors. I find that works well for chuck roast, Hanger Steaks and Top Blade. Top Round or Eye Round I reserve for roast beef sandwich cold cut meats. The CI/ATK methods are also on the list to try (pre-salting for 24 hours).

                        Instead of using top round, I think I will try this substituting Top Butt Sirloin or Flap Meat....aka Tri-Tip, Triangle or Newport Steak (?). If I get there, I most certainly will report my thoughts.

                        Too bad I didn't see this thread last week.....London Broil was @ $1.49 everywhere for the holiday.

                        1. re: fourunder
                          MGZ Jul 7, 2009 12:30 PM

                          The video is called "Pit Beef in Baltimore." Perhaps you can search for it. I thought that it was a helpful illustration of the meat and the method.

                          1. re: MGZ
                            fourunder Jul 7, 2009 12:47 PM


                            I just did a search on YouTube, punched in Pit Beef in Baltimore and Guy Fieri's piece on DDD popped up on Chap's....is this the video you referenced.

                            Two things.....it did not appear there was any seasonings or rubs on the meat and it was a Bottom Round, not a Top Round. I'll have to stop by the wholesale meat company or The Restaurant Depot and start researching.


                            1. re: fourunder
                              mschow Jul 7, 2009 07:18 PM

                              Guy Fieri's piece was the one in the link above. It did not appear to be seasoned meat; I wondered about that as well. However, it did look delicious...I've never had one when I've been to Baltimore. Definitely looks worth a try.

                  2. re: fourunder
                    Rocket88 Jul 8, 2009 06:57 AM

                    Here's a link to a great NYT article from a few years ago, including a recipe. Also specifies top round.

                    The roadside places described are no longer there, but Chaps still is.


                    1. re: fourunder
                      BurgerBoy09 Aug 2, 2009 10:25 AM

                      The place on DDD uses a trimmed Bottom Round....Just the Flat & Eye Round.....less a pc. called the heel....which is tough as shoe leather.


                    2. re: Rocket88
                      AnnieG Jul 8, 2009 10:33 AM

                      Chaps is fabulous! Great sandwiches, fabulous beef and the corned beef is quite good as well. I've been there several times since discovering the place.

                      A friend and I found out about it watching Food Network of course. We saw it on DDD and had to drive down from Newark to try it out. The food was great, but what Guy's show did not point out is that the place is essentially next to/in the parking lot of a nudie bar. I don't care, my friend didn't care, her 75 year old aunt whom we had brought along CARED!!!! She loved the food but oh was she scandalized that we were in "that kind of neighborhood." What would people think? made for an interesting drive back, let's just say that.

                2. MGZ Aug 11, 2009 04:13 AM

                  I finally got a chance to make Pit Beef yesterday. The decison partially inspired by the fact that bottom round was super cheap at Acme.

                  Basically, I seasoned the roast heavily with sea salt & ground black pepper and allowed it to sit and come up in temperature for just shy of two hours. The fire was a fairly typical briquette and lump coal mix that I occasionally supplemented with small pieces of seasoned Maple when I wanted more flame.

                  The meat cooks over the direct heat. Please note that this is a labor-intensive method. The meat must be turned frequently as the idea appears to be to cook evenly from as many sides as possible. All told, I think, the meat took close to 40 minutes to cook to a center temperature of 120.

                  I let the meat rest for 15 minutes. I sliced it as thinly as I could with a filet knife, but my countertop meat slicer, had it not recently died, would have been a much better tool. We made sandwiches on hard rolls using sliced raw onion and horseradish sauce. All in all, it was not too hard to replicate this Maryland memory and I am of the mindset that it could easily become a fun cookout change of pace.

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