Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pit Beef. Or The Best 30-Minute Roast Ever.

I spent a good portion of my life living in Baltimore, MD.

It was only after I moved away from that great city that I realized one of the foods I loved most was distinctly Baltimore, and wasn't to be found elsewhere.

Pit Beef.

Pit beef is Baltimore's version of barbecue. It's not tangy or sweet like the meat you can get in North Carolina. And, it's not drenched in barbecue sauce, like you'd find down in Texas or Hickory-smoked, like the meat out in Kansas City.

It's top round, grilled until crusty on the outside, rare on the inside, and is sliced very, very thin. It is usually served on a kaiser roll, topped with horseradish sauce and raw sliced onions.

It's Baltimore, baby. Stamp it with a capital B.

It's a staple at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. You can smell the pit beef the minute you hop off the Light Rail. Or for you those of you non-Baltimoreans - the train/metro that gets you to the park to avoid getting ripped off by the cost of parking.

This week, we made our first pit beef. I say we, because I don't grill. I'd surely catch myself or my 18-inches of hair on fire or burn down the deck. So, my hubby fired up the grill, and we made a pit beef.

And, ohhhh, it's good.

And, it's ready - from start to finish - in 30 minutes.

Let me repeat. 3o minutes.

You can make this bad boy on a weeknight.

Here's what it looks like comin' off the grill. And, after resting for about 10 minutes. Holy moly - I love this stuff.

Here's how you need to slice it. Thin. Very, very thin. If you don't have a good carving knife, investing in a carving set is worth every penny. We have this set. It's fantastic for slicing meat thin like this.

Let's move in a tad bit closer. I like my meat medium to medium well. And, my hubby obliged. He'd have this thing bleedin' all the way through. Oh, SWEET MERCY, look at the flavor that's dribbling out of this meat.

See how thin these slices are. That's what you want.

And, you end up with this pile - this beautiful, mouthwatering pile of pit beef.

We served it for dinner - not as a Pit beef sandwich (next time, for sure), but just with some steamed green beans, and a simple box of rice pilaf (I prefer this one.) It's such an easy dinner. And, simply heavenly.

Here's the recipe. If you wanna call it that. Slather it with whatever spices you'd like.

Pit Beef
my own recipe...

1 (3-4 pound) top or eye round roast
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon pepper

Preheat outdoor grill to highest setting.

Combine spices in a small bowl. Poke meat all over with a fork and rub spices all over meat, patting down as you move around roast.

Place meat on preheated grill and grill for approximately 30-40 minutes - depending on desired doneness. You need to use a meat thermometer to accurately measure the doneness you want.

Insert meat thermometer into center of meat. Use the following guide to know when the meat is finished:

140 degrees - rare
145 degrees - medium rare
160 degrees - medium
170 degrees - well done

After removing from heat, allow roast to sit for 10 minutes. Thinly slice with a carving knife or meat slicer.

Dig in. Enjoy. Try not to eat it all straight off the cutting board.


  1. wow... that sounds fantastic!! i am going to make this asap :)

  2. I would totally be eating this off the cutting board! It looks delicious. That Jason can grill up some mean beef!

  3. That sounds absolutely delicious...except for the fact that it is still hemmoraging. Oh my! I'm sure to give this a shot; but I may have to grill it a little longer, til it stops mooooooing, at least. LOL! Have a great day and thanks for sharing the recipe!

  4. Oooo. I'm so glad I've found you (via RocksInMyDryer)! I am from Baltimore too!I grew up just northeast of Baltimore and now live just a bit northwest of Baltimore.

    You are so right - Pit Beef is the best. I go other places and I just don't understand how they can ruin good Pit Beef with all that sauce!

  5. i almost stopped reading at rare at the inside cuz rare meat and i don't go together at all. i am a cook it so it doesn't moo at me kinda girl but my hubs likes his meat to moo at him. BUT i am glad i finished reading - this sounds wonderful and now that i know i can cook it to be DONE i will definitely try it.