Baltimore Style Pit Beef

The Spoon Mage™ loves to cook up the Food of the Cities for the Super Bowl. She is not a big fan of the game so just cooks for the fanatical fans. On the menu for 2013 was Baltimore Style Pit Beef. The meat marinates in a dry rub for 3 days and even this lowly cut of meat morphs into a fantastical sandwich!

Rub Ingredients:

2 T bacon salt, low sodium gluten free
2 T paprika
2 T garlic powder
2 t dried oregano
1 t fresh cracked black pepper

Ingredients For the Grill:

4 pounds top round, 2-3 pieces cut as if they were large very thick sirloin steaks. Yes, top round. Trust me.

Sandwich Fixings:

12 kaiser rolls or 24 slices hearty sourdough bread
1 sweet white onion, thin sliced
4 very ripe hot house tomatoes, thin sliced
Lettuce leaves
Horseradish Sauce

Horseradish Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup mayo – your choice full or low fat, but do not bother making this with fat free
¼ cup extra hot horseradish (I used Inglehoffer brand)
The juice of one large or two small lemons – a few teaspoons worth
Tabasco sauce to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Spoon Mage™ Note:

If you will have a large crowd, consider making the beef early in the day and simply reheating, covered, in the a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Watch carefully so the meat does not start to overcook. You just want to warm and serve it.

I purchased sirloin sized pieces in addition to the top round to compare. Totally different flavors, but the top round held up beautifully. So, yes, this inexpensive cut of beef is a great choice.

If you choose to purchase either the large roast size – or a whole big ole piece of top round (which will weigh 15 pounds or more) – remember it will take much longer to cook and adjust your coal needs and cookery times accordingly.

For tender slices, always cut meat like this thinly and across the grain so that the beef fibers remain short.


Three days before grilling the meat, combine the seasonings and rub them all over the meat. Place in a zip lock bag and put in the refrigerator. Turn once a day.

On the day of the grilling, mix the Horseradish Sauce and refrigerate in a tightly sealed container until meal time. Taste it by dipping in a carrot or something mild. Adjust the flavors as you wish. You may want more of a horseradish flavor or more heat from Tabasco.

Slice the onion and tomatoes and rinse and dry lettuce leaves. Traditionalists in Baltimore use Iceberg (if they use lettuce at all), but I do have a difficult time purchasing that particularly tasteless lettuce and so I used Romaine hearts as they offer a satisfyingly nice crunch and a bit more in the nutrition department.

While the grill is getting hot, allow the beef to come to room temperature. When the coals have passed the hottest point and are on the decline (or turn your gas grill to low), begin to grill the beef. If you have a water reservoir to add moisture, use it. Turn the beef every 10 minutes or until the meat is medium rare – how long depends entirely on how big your piece of meat is. It took my two inch thick pieces of top round almost an hour to get to medium rare.

Allow the beef to rest covered with foil on a plate for 10 minutes – always do this with cooked meat. It allows the juices to redistribute for juicy meat in every bite.

Slice thinly across the grain and serve with the sandwich fixings. Thin slices are critical for tender easy to eat sandwiches. I made this sandwich on lovely slices of sourdough bread.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s