How To Make Pit Beef?

This Maryland-style pit beef from a bottom round is a beef lover’s dream and is piled high with beef and white onions.

There’s no reason to settle for sub-par roast beef ever again thanks to this recipe!

Many cuts of the steer can be used to make roast beef, but here’s how to make a fine roast beef by learning from the Pit Beef cooks in Baltimore.

Surprisingly, pit beef is rarely found outside of Maryland, despite being served in numerous restaurants, bars, and pubs in the Charm City region. Essentially, it is a grilled sandwich made with juicy roast beef. All manner of grills are used, charcoal, wood, and gas.

The meat is a substantial piece of beef, typically from the rump, but also occasionally from the top round, bottom round, or sirloin. It is usually cooked until it is dark and crispy on the outside and rare inside, and it is sliced thinly across the grain so that there is a narrow crusty ring of flavor from the exterior in every bite. It is then rubbed with a savory spice and herb mixture. Then it is heaped on a roll or rye bread. Since the edges and tapered sections are cooked more and are less red, you can typically order your preferred level of doneness. If you don’t want your slices to be rare, cooks frequently toss them back onto the fire.

The roasts that are typically used come from the rump and can be tough because of their leanness. The meat is sliced thinly by a machine in Baltimore restaurants to make it easier to chew, but you can make it tender by cooking it more slowly and at a lower temperature. The connective tissues that encircle the meat fibers melt slowly and gradually (see my article on meat science). However, if you choose to use one of the less expensive roasts from the rump, it is imperative that you cut against the grain and make the slices as thin as possible.

Spotlight on our favorite products

How To Make Pit Beef?

The first propane smoker with a thermostat is the Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker, making it unbreakable. To begin smoking, simply place wood in the tray above the burner. Click here to read our detailed review.


Although cooking over charcoal will produce the most authentic flavor, pit beef can be prepared just as well on a gas grill. I recommend you throw in some smoke. Since the meat is typically large, you should concentrate your efforts on flavoring the outside because the inside usually only tastes like plain beef. Rub and smoke just can’t penetrate very far.

Some restaurants offer a variety of sauces, but the traditional one is a horsey sauce, also known as tiger sauce, which is a mixture of horseradish and mayo. Then, thinly sliced raw onions are placed on top of everything. Baltimore Tiger Sauce is not the same as the Tiger Sauce that is sold in bottles. As an upgrade, use my Secretariat Horseradish Sauce.

Some restaurants serve their pit beef on rye bread with caraway seeds, but rye bread is a recipe for a messy mess in your lap if the beef is juicy and topped with tiger sauce. I’ll have mine on a kaiser roll or hoagie bun.

Baltimore Pit Beef Recipe

How To Make Pit Beef?

  • 3 tablespoons jarred horseradish in vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (6 pound) top or bottom round beef roast
  • 1 tablespoon Morton Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 5 tablespoons Mrs. OLearys Cow Crust recipe
  • 2 raw onions
  • 10 kaiser rolls
  • Notes:

These recipes were developed using US Customary measurements, and a calculation is being used to convert them to metric measurements. Although they should be precise, a mistake could still occur. Please let us know if you do in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

  • Prep. While cooking, combine the mayo and horseradish and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Trim excess fat and any silver skin from the roast. The fat does not penetrate the meat. Meat is 75% water and fat and water dont mix. Moreover, the fat prevents the meat’s rub and smoke from escaping. If your roast has an odd shape, tie it with butcher string to bring its thickness closer to uniformity so that it cooks evenly. Once the meat is finished, you should slice it across the grain to lessen the chewiness, so take a look at it now and determine which way the grain is running. When the meat is raw, finding the grain is simpler.
  • If at all possible, dry brine the meat a day beforehand using 1/2 teaspoon of Morton Coarse Kosher Salt for every pound of meat.
  • Crust. Anytime before cooking, wet the entire surface of a baking pan and cover it with the cow crust.
  • Fire up. Get your grill’s indirect side to about 225°F (107°C) with the lid down and set it up for two zones of indirect heat. Set the smoker to cook at 225°F (107°C) Keep with me even though I know this is way cooler than most restaurants cook at. This will make meat more tender than most restaurants. If you like, put some wood on your grill to add some flavor from the smoke. I recommend it.
  • Cook. After about 30 to 60 minutes, check the color on the bottom of the meat after placing it in indirect heat and covering it. Roll it over if the color is different from the top. The temperature and the thickness of the meat will determine how long to cook it. Shoot for about 115°F (46°C) in the deepest part.
  • When the crust is crisp and the exterior is a deep mahogany color, move the pan over direct infrared heat and rotate it about every five minutes. Dont burn it. For medium rare, keep an eye on the roast’s internal temperature and remove it when it reaches 125 to 130°F (52 to 54°C). Instead of searing the meat first, this reverse-searing technique will result in much more evenly colored meat and a crispier crust.
  • Slice. Slice the meat thin across the grain for max tenderness. If you cut while the grain is parallel to the cut, turn the piece around and cut it against the grain. If you have a machine, it might be difficult to slice warm meat with it, so I slice mine by hand. Just shave it off. Dont try to make large complete slices. The thinner the better. For those who prefer it chewier and more well-done, you can reheat a few slices on the grill or in a pan after cutting it.
  • Serve. Put a lot of it on the roll, then top it with some horseradish sauce and some thinly sliced onion rings.

You’re not doing it correctly if you don’t get some on your shirt. Meathead.

Published On: 11/6/2012 Last Modified: 11/19/2022 Share on:

  • Meathead, founder and editor of AmazingRibs and a member of the BBQ Hall of Fame com, Meathead is known for the websites BBQ Whisperer and Hedonism Evangelist. Additionally, he is the author of “Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecuing and Grilling,” a New York Times bestseller that Southern Living named one of the “100 Best Cookbooks of All Time.”

These are not paid ads, they are a curated selection of products we love.

The following items have all undergone testing and come highly recommended. Click here to read more about our review process.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

When you click on one of our “buy now” links, many merchants give us a small referral fee. This does not affect the amount you pay but does support the website.

How To Make Pit Beef?

The Meathead’s Amazing line of pork, red meat, and poultry rubs as well as a KC-style BBQ sauce will add big, bold flavor to your BBQ and grilling creations. Click here to read more and to purchase.

A Propane Smoker That Performs Under Pressure

The first propane smoker with a thermostat is the Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker, making it unbreakable. To begin smoking, simply place wood in the tray above the burner. Click here to read our detailed review.

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

How To Make Pit Beef?

A 3-burner gas grill with a reasonable price tag, the Broil King Signet 320 has dual-tube burners that can reach high, searing temperatures that rival those of most grills with similar prices. Click here to read our complete review.

The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

The Good-One Open Range differs significantly from a conventional offset smoker in that the heat source is located behind and beneath the smokebox rather than to the side.

How To Make Pit Beef?

Why there is salt in our rub…

We advise adding salt to homemade rubs before adding herbs and spices because salt penetrates deeply while the other ingredients stay on the surface. So thick cuts need more salt. We add salt to these bottled rubs because consumers demand it and all commercial rubs contain salt. You can still use these as a dry brine; simply apply the rub generously beforehand to give the salt time to saturate. We advise adding a little more salt to very thick cuts of meat. As per the law, the order of the ingredients must be determined by weight and not volume, and salt is a heavy rock, it is listed first.

If you can, season the meat with one tablespoon per pound two hours before cooking. Dry brining is the process of moistening salt, ionizing it to make brine, which slowly seeps into the meat to improve flavor and juiciness while forming a nice crusty “bark” on the surface. Sprinkle some on at the table too!.

They are not spicy; however, you can always add hot pepper flakes or Chipotle powder (my favorite) before serving or right before eating. However, we left them mild so that you could serve them to the children and Aunt Matilda.

Ode to The Pitmaster Club

From TBoneJack, the unofficial Poet Laureate of The Pitmaster Club:

AmazingRibs is the place to go for the best guidance. There, you’ll learn how to smoke a cow and it will come out delicious.

The how, the why, and what to try, when things aren’t going well, for smokers, gadgets, recipes, and whether to use charcoal, gas, or wood.

Techniques for selection, preparation, and cooking; Marinades and similar; Rubs and brines; temperatures; and instructions for using the crutch

The point, the flat, the rendered fat, and the right balance of heat are the brisket secrets for moist and tender meat.

I learned how to smoke spare ribs, and they were delicious. I want more, and I’ll eat them for my final meal on Earth.

They liked Memphis Dust, which I served to them without sauce. They weren’t overcooked or 3-2-1, and no flavor was lost.

It’s difficult to decide between Jambo, Lang, or Meadow Creek. It’s almost a crime, and there isn’t enough time to try them all.

Since many people have this lot, I’m not ashamed, but I will admit that here in the Pit, my wife pleaded with me not to.

No need to go over budget; just ask me, dude, because I have one of each of Weber, Brinkman, and PBC.

I am obsessed, I know it’s true, it’s called MCS, and when I saw the doctor, he was in shock and also in this mess.

Myron Mixon, Johnny Trigg, Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke, Harry Soo, Chris Lilly, as well as Moe, the lone cook

They’re all great, I enjoy them, and I know they make good food. They’ve earned the right, and now that I realize this, I’ll give them what they deserve.

But I’ve learned from many chefs that this website is the best. For ideas, visit

Why not spend some money and join us in the Pit if you’re sick of seeing pop-up advertisements?

And if you’re traveling, don’t give up; the solution is obvious; put down your beer, and order Meathead’s book.

Baltimore Pit Beef | Chap’s Copycat


What cut of beef is pit beef?

The roast beef dish known as “pit beef” is typically made with top round cuts of beef and is cooked over a charcoal fire. Thinly sliced cooked roast is frequently served on a Kaiser roll with tiger sauce (horseradish and mayonnaise) and thinly sliced raw onion.

What makes pit beef pit beef?

Top round roast is used to make pit beef, which is grilled over hardwood or charcoal. After being prepared, it is thinly sliced, piled high on bread or a roll, and garnished with horseradish, a few onions, and (occasionally) barbecue sauce. Usually, the dish is served with a side of thick, gravy-topped boardwalk fries.

Is pit beef the same as brisket?

Pit beef will have a flavor profile similar to that of grilled roast beef, unlike Texas brisket, which is smoky and well-done. The degree of doneness is another distinction between American-style pit beef and other beef barbecue dishes. Like steak, pit beef is often served rare or medium-rare.

What is pit beef Baltimore?

People travel from all over to experience the tender, flavorful sandwich known as pit beef, which has been served in the East Baltimore neighborhood along Pulaski Highway since the 1970s. Pit beef is essentially a roast beef sandwich with a little charcoal and smoky flavor.

Leave a Comment