I grew up in Laurel, Maryland, just down Route 1 South of Baltimore, and was going to Baltimore Orioles games in the 70s to watch Brooks & Frank Robinson, Boog Powell and the boys play baseball at Memorial Stadium. You could say Maryland is in my blood. The first time I had “pit beef” was at Boog Powell’s BBQ stand at Camden Yards, and I began to understand why this local favorite is so popular. Pit beef is in a class of its own, and we owe it all to the area East of Baltimore. I digress.
Maryland pit beef is round roast cooked over charcoal, with a crunchy slightly charred exterior, and cooked to no more than medium rare. Sliced into thin, pink ribbons, then piled high on a Kaiser Roll with the bite of horseradish, the creaminess of mayo, and the punch of thin-sliced raw onion. The taste is reminiscent of a slightly smoky roast beef with a blast of flavor from the charred edges.
For this recipe I tried to stay well within the regional traditions while applying some of the things I’ve learned over two decades of grilling and barbecuing. This method uses a technique called “reverse sear”, which involves smoking the meat first then searing at the end for flavor and crust.
- Pit beef
- 3-4 lbs top or bottom round (we used top round, sometimes labeled London Broil)
- Dizzy Pig Cow Lick beef rub to coat (also good with Raising the Steaks or Game On!)
- Coarse salt
- 1 small red or yellow onion, sliced thin
- Creamy Hopradish Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
- 1 Tbsp Dizzy Pig IPA hop seasoning
- Prepare Hopradish sauce (can be done in advance)
- Place all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Maryland pit beef
- Prepare grill for indirect cooking at 275-300°F. If desired, add a chunk or two of oak, hickory or cherry.
- Trim membranes and silver skin from beef.
- Sprinkle some salt on the beef.
- Season roast on all sides with Cow Lick.
- Insert cooking probes into roast and place on grill.
- Cook beef until the center reaches 115-120°F.
- Remove from grill – note that internal temp will rise.
- Prepare grill for direct cooking over a hot fire (500°F or higher).
- Sear meat over flames for a few minutes per side until well browned, even slightly charred.
- Remove from grill and rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Don’t forget that the temperature will rise after you remove from grill. Try not to exceed 135°F internal temperature after the rest.
- Cut roast in half and slice as thin as you can – we prefer to use an electric slicer for this.
- Serve on Kaiser roll with Creamy Hopradish Sauce and thin sliced onion.