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Pit Beef, Baltimore's Very Own Barbecue

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Being from the area, I love pit beef sandwiches. Just wanted to see if the board has any recommendations for great pit beef.

Personally, I like Canopy Pit Beef in Ellicott City the best.

The beef is roasting over the so-called pit and you can get it cooked to your preference. The rare is really bloody!

Served with horseradish on a kaiser roll - classic Baltimore flavor.

Canopy also has pretty amazing freshly cut fries made in peanut oil- dipped in beef gravy, yum.

Another bonus is birch beer in their soda fountain.

Steven Raichlen article on pit beef

mentions a place called Big Fat Daddy's in Rosedale.

Yeah... I should really change my signature. I think I've only had pit beef once. I sound like Steven Raichlen!

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When I had very limited means we would go to Chaps Pit Beef over on Pulaski Highway - right near a strip club. They have indoor picnic tables as well as outdoor picnic tables for when the weather is nice so you can enjoy the fresh air and traffic along 40 : ) They really do make an honest to God GREAT pitbeef sandwich. Their french fries are excellent and always seem like an overly generous portion. I took my neighbor there recently and it was still as excellent as ever. It's not a fancy place, but they treat you like they're happy to have you there and they do a fine job.

http://search.cityguide.aol.com/baltimore/...eef/v-102377000

Andy Nelson is good too - they're up on York Road in Hunt Valley/Cockeysville. They have more menu items then Chaps Pit beef - a little more formal if you will (but still cafeteria style). They are highly rated by Zagat and Baltimore Magazine. Everything is delicious but beware of hot (spicy) items.

http://www.andynelsonsbbq.com/

I thought there was a place on Taylor Av in Parkville (maybe by Mooreland Cemetery?) that I ate at a number of years ago that was good. I believe it was more of a takeout place then a restaurant.

I ate at Big Bad Wolf on Harford Road once, which always gets good reviews and ratings, but was disappointed in the terrible service (they gave us the wrong food and were unable to answer questions about the menu items). The sandwiches (although they were the wrong ones) tasted good. I probably won't go there again unless someone drags me there - my pet peeve is poor service.

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When I had very limited means we would go to Chaps Pit Beef over on Pulaski Highway - right near a strip club. ... Their french fries are excellent

This is funny timing... I visited Chaps for the first time last weekend, and the consensus at our table was that the fries were, in fact, the worst we'd ever had, and we didn't mean it as hyperbole. They were total mush with no crisp or crunch of any kind, as though they'd been soaked in warm grease rather than fried in hot grease, and they had a very stale flavor. And I'm somebody who appreciates soft, greasy fries... but still, you want some kind of light crispness at least on the edges, and a good potatoey flavor. I rather enjoyed the sandwich, but made a mental note to never order the fries again. I'd be thrilled to hear that our experience was an aberration. I intend to return, and what's a beef sandwich without some fries? :-)

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I just grabbed lunch at Bull on the Run. It's a little red mobile kitchen on an access road off the 3700 block of Washington Blvd. in Halethorpe, but I thought it turned out a much nicer sandwich than Chaps. I found the beef fresher tasting and more tender. I'd even give them the edge on toppings - onion was very fresh and paper thin, I liked their tiger sauce a lot more and they had a number of bottled sauces available (didn't try the BBQ). I liked the character of Chaps' crust more, but I only got enough of that on one out of six or seven visits. I'd want to try both a few more times before being definitive about either, but at the moment I know where my preferences lie.

It's a little tricky to spot. Look for this:

botrsign-s.jpg

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I tried Chaps Pit beef the other day- It was a good sandwich- I wish they had a rare option- only medium and medium well.

The fries were really limp.

Personally, I think I still prefer Canopy- the rare option is there and they have great fries.

Chaps pit beef sandwich:

P1020195.JPG

Canopy pit beef sandwich

DSCN4704.jpg

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I tried Chaps Pit beef the other day- It was a good sandwich- I wish they had a rare option- only medium and medium well.

The fries were really limp.

That's funny. They've done both rare and medium rare for me within the past two months. Too slow or too lazy to keep all options available, perhaps?

My exact experience with the fries, however.

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I tried Chaps Pit beef the other day- It was a good sandwich- I wish they had a rare option- only medium and medium well.

The fries were really limp.

Personally, I think I still prefer Canopy- the rare option is there and they have great fries.

wow - those pics are amazing, my mouth is watering! thanks for posting! more motivation for me to get out there and try these sandwiches, asap! hopefully this weekend...

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To me, Pioneer Pit Beef in Woodlawn offers the perfect pit beef sandwich -- the smoke, the beef, the slight char, the horseradish.

This is a simple thing. The Pioneer is a shack on Rolling Road just north of Rte 40. Inside, there is just room to line up for a sandwich. Order beef, ham or turkey. Take the "tasting" slice to be sure that you're picking right from "rare, medium or well-done?" Ask for fries or cole slaw. Step outside.

But you step outside with an absolutely delicious sandwich. I go for medium meat with horseradish and maybe some onion. In the crowd, people lather up with mayo, BBQ sauce and "tiger sauce" (mayo and horseradish combined), but I can't condone the practice. I don't want to cover up the meat -- the beef flavor of a tough cut, grilled and then sliced so thin that you bite through like filet.

Pioneer is one of my absolute favorite foods. Simple. But done so perfectly that it makes me want to skip pit beef that is just okay. (Boogs?) Ironically, I stumbled on Pioneer long before I started HowChow. I literally drove past this stand on the side of the highway when I was following Google directions to the Salvation Army. When I tried to find it again, I failed -- until I realized that the City Paper's "best pit beef" sounded like the stand by the highway.

Pioneer Pit Beef is just north of the H Mart in Catonsville. You can stop for a sandwich, then shop for groceries. Pioneer has no phone. They only take cash, but the sandwich is a bargain at $5.50. I understand that they're open from lunchtime until early evening Monday through Saturday.

If you need a Howard County joint, the best one that I have tried is Uncle Grube's off Rte 1 in Elkridge. A new place Oakey's Grill just opened on Frederick Road in Ellicott City.

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If you need a Howard County joint, the best one that I have tried is Uncle Grube's off Rte 1 in Elkridge. A new place Oakey's Grill just opened on Frederick Road in Ellicott City.

I tried Grube's today. It had a lot of promise but it had to much black pepper on it for my taste. My first attempt at Pit Beef! Is there usually a black pepper rub on it? I've learned to like many, many things over the year but pepper isn't one of them!

thanks!

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To me, Pioneer Pit Beef in Woodlawn offers the perfect pit beef sandwich -- the smoke, the beef, the slight char, the horseradish.

This is a simple thing. The Pioneer is a shack on Rolling Road just north of Rte 40. Inside, there is just room to line up for a sandwich. Order beef, ham or turkey. Take the "tasting" slice to be sure that you're picking right from "rare, medium or well-done?" Ask for fries or cole slaw. Step outside.

But you step outside with an absolutely delicious sandwich. I go for medium meat with horseradish and maybe some onion. In the crowd, people lather up with mayo, BBQ sauce and "tiger sauce" (mayo and horseradish combined), but I can't condone the practice. I don't want to cover up the meat -- the beef flavor of a tough cut, grilled and then sliced so thin that you bite through like filet.

Pioneer is one of my absolute favorite foods. Simple. But done so perfectly that it makes me want to skip pit beef that is just okay. (Boogs?) Ironically, I stumbled on Pioneer long before I started HowChow. I literally drove past this stand on the side of the highway when I was following Google directions to the Salvation Army. When I tried to find it again, I failed -- until I realized that the City Paper's "best pit beef" sounded like the stand by the highway.

Pioneer Pit Beef is just north of the H Mart in Catonsville. You can stop for a sandwich, then shop for groceries. Pioneer has no phone. They only take cash, but the sandwich is a bargain at $5.50. I understand that they're open from lunchtime until early evening Monday through Saturday.

If you need a Howard County joint, the best one that I have tried is Uncle Grube's off Rte 1 in Elkridge. A new place Oakey's Grill just opened on Frederick Road in Ellicott City.

I will give an emphatic second to Pioneer Pit Beef. Can't add much more than HowChowBlog said, except bring your own napkins as they don't give you too many, and the ones they give are kind of chincy.

Other than that, my favorite Pit beef place of all, and when they give you a slice to taste, rare IS rare. Definitely worth the trip.

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I will give an emphatic second to Pioneer Pit Beef. Can't add much more than HowChowBlog said, except bring your own napkins as they don't give you too many, and the ones they give are kind of chincy.

Other than that, my favorite Pit beef place of all, and when they give you a slice to taste, rare IS rare. Definitely worth the trip.

OK, I think I'm headed for my first ever pit beef experience tomorrow.

I've narrowed down the choices to Canopy, Chaps, and Pioneer. (I may not attempt pioneer due to their limited hours.) The picture from Chaps above looks like the more delicious sandwich. Yet Don himself gave a pretty strong endorsement for Canopy in the link above.

Thoughts?

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OK, I think I'm headed for my first ever pit beef experience tomorrow.

I've narrowed down the choices to Canopy, Chaps, and Pioneer. (I may not attempt pioneer due to their limited hours.) The picture from Chaps above looks like the more delicious sandwich. Yet Don himself gave a pretty strong endorsement for Canopy in the link above.

Thoughts?

I went for Chaps, and was glad I did. Fries were good, and all degrees of doneness were available with the beef.

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TL:DR Lost my pit beef virginity. As likely to go back to Chaps as to vote for Trump.  The Canopy was a local delight, not worth an hour's drive but certainly a return visit is in order if in the area.  .  

I have lived in the DC area since 1999.  I have never had a pit beef sandwich. SO as part of my traisition to having a life, I took the morning off and drove to Baltimore to try Chaps.  That is $13 I will never get back.  Mushy, blubbery scraps of stringy, tough, flavorless beef on a desiccated hamburger bun with straight out of the plastic jar condiments that, along with a $4 order of fries with gravy that clearly win for the worst fries I have had in memory {a much small set of experiences than it used to be} cost me $13.  Utterly terrible and they went from #39 to #89 while I wan tortured, I mean ate my crappy meal.  Why didn't I break my 30 year gap since I had McDonald's instead of lose my pit beef cherry on this guy fieri endorsed monstrosity only slightly resembling food.  The lady who took my order was cheerful as all get out but the guy slicing the stuff that only slightly resembled beef and the lady calling the numbers were both surly.

So having filled my belly with garbage and still being hungry, I set off for the Canopy.  Walking in the smell of smoke was the first indicator that his was a pit beef of a different caliber.  I ordered a rare with tiger sauce & onion and ate it in my car in the parking lot.  The beef had texture and chew, and was recognizably beef.  It had a lightly smoky overtone to it.  I needed more Tiger Sauce {and probably BBQ as well,} but leaving the air-conditioned comfort off my car was not on the books.  The bun was a nicely chewy Kaiser. Quite nice if a little dry but asking for heavy sauce would probably fix the dryness issue. The beef was not juicy but really tasty.  I'd certainly stop in if I was in the area. But certainly not worth a trip or major detour.  On the other hand, the staff was super friendly and made for a bring spot in the day.

My plan was to go to Pioneer but the gloppy mess that was the fries at Chaps prevented me from abusing myself any further.  If I have need to be this far north again, I plan on picking up two or three more notches on my pit beef belt.

 

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50 minutes ago, deangold said:

Why didn't I break my 30 year gap since I had McDonald's instead of lose my pit beef cherry on this guy fieri endorsed monstrosity only slightly resembling food. 

I am not sure why Chap's Pit Beef is the go to for pit beef. I have tried to like it, but I just find it void of flavor. I still stand by my recommendation of Pioneer, again not sure if its solely worth the drive from DC, but if you live in the nearby area, 100%. And if you don't like it, you would have only spent less than $10. You can grab a pitbeef and a 45 next door at the liquor store and make it a lively picnic. 

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13 minutes ago, curiouskitkatt said:

I am not sure why Chap's Pit Beef is the go to for pit beef. I have tried to like it, but I just find it void of flavor. I still stand by my recommendation of Pioneer, again not sure if its solely worth the drive from DC, but if you live in the nearby area, 100%. And if you don't like it, you would have only spent less than $10. You can grab a pitbeef and a 45 next door at the liquor store and make it a lively picnic. 

If I hadn't been famished, I'd ahve trashed Chaps glop and then gone to get food somewhere else.  

I think we want to go do a Korean run in Catonsville so maybe a pre game of 2 more pit beef sandwiches is in order.  

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