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Jan 31, 2010 03:13 PM

Review - Chap's Pit Beef

A Meat-Lover's Mecca

Their webiste:

We have been here twice before, and the first thing any first-time patron will notice that this small establishment shares a parking lot with a “gentleman’s club” complete with the gaudy flashing marquee. Across the street lies an adult bookstore, so it took a moment to find a decent angle to photograph the entrance without also getting a shot of any nearby adult establishment. Once you step out of your vehicle, you will forget Chap’s questionable neighbors as the aroma of the cooking pit immediately takes you back to your favorite memories of summer barbeques past. Even though it was below freezing, we did stop a moment to inhale as much as we could.

Overall, the building and seating area are a bit shabby, with wooden picnic tables as the seating in the dining area. However, the real quality of this place is where it counts: the meat. We kept our order simple: two roast beef sandwiches, one large order of fries, and one large half-and-half to drink (iced tea/lemonade). They got on our sandwiches quickly as we watched them pull a large slab of beef off the pit fire and begin slicing.

There are two counter tops along the sides of the order pick-up area with a variety of sauces and condiments. Once our sandwiches were handed to us (fresh Kaiser rolls and not the cheap, value pack little grocery store burger buns) I slathered on the barbecue sauce and, since I like my sandwiches to bite back, slapped on a healthy amount of horseradish then topped it off with a nice pile of onions. There’s been plenty of times when eating at a sandwich place, I would say “heavy on the this” or “light on the that” and when my sandwich was served, I wondered if the preparer knew the concept of light and heavy. At Chap’s, all the condiments are laid out on a couple of counters by the pick up area, so you have complete control over the amounts to be your own Sandwich Guru.

As everyone in Baltimore who cares about local dining knows, this is one of .Guy Fieri's favorite stops and it only takes one bite to know why. The meat is juicy and tender and had the same smoky “bring back memories of barbeques past” quality as the enticing air outside.

Will we go again? Oh yeah. The roast beef sandwich is the best $4.75 anyone could ever spend and I'm surprised I've never had to wait more than ten minutes to put in my order and even less from order to delivery.

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  1. How does it compare in your mind to Pioneer?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      Better than The Canopy, not as good as Pioneer, IMHO. If you're on the south or west side of town there's really no reason to schlep to Rosedale to get good Pit Beef. But if you are on the east side of town and aren't turned off by the seedy surroundings, Chaps fits the bill.

      1. re: Dennis S

        I'm still relatively new to the area and haven't tried Pioneer, but from what I've read, that's now on my list.

      2. Not to be too picky, but according to the on-line menu, the beef sandwich is $5.75.

        1. Looking at a map, I realized they're pretty close to the Rosedale American Legion, where I often go for Baltimore Blues Society shows. I'll have to stop by there for a sandwich the next time I go to Rosedale.

          3 Replies
          1. re: 4X4

            If you are a first-timer, then I suggest foregoing the bbq sauce. Just go for a bit of the tiger sauce (mayo and horseradish) and maybe some raw onion at most. The last time I was at Pioneer Pit Beef, I ordered a pound of sliced meat and ate it straight (though not all at once). Maybe the best 'variation.' Awesome.

            1. re: Steve

              I like my pit beef with a little barbecue sauce, lots of horseradish and a few onions. I've had pit beef many times, but haven't been to Chap's yet.

              I also know how to cook my own pit beef in my Big Green Egg, but I don't have a slicer to slice it thin enough.

              1. re: Steve

                "Hunger is the best sause"--Ben Jonson

                Not to disagree with ol' Ben, but I prefer barbecue, horseradish and onion.

            2. Guy Fieri likes everything so I wouldn't use him as a gauge for anything. I find Chaps pit beef to be tasteless and totally overrated.

              4 Replies
                1. re: hon

                  I think the pit turkey is their best sandwich!

                2. re: hon

                  I totally agree with Chaps being overrated......I would take a Canopy or Pioneer pit beef sandwich anyday over Chaps.

                  Raw onion, horseradish, and a little bbq.

                  1. re: abovethewaves

                    I stopped by here Nov 2010 after visiting the Department of Taxation and Assessments in Baltimore it was worth the trip the food was tasty love that Tiger sauce and the sandwich was on point. I wish they had a place similar to this closer to my home in DC. Good food and a reasonable price minus all that pretentious bs. PS if you go there at lunch time arrive early.