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Pit Beef.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I am going to be trying to smoke pit beef over the weekend. I am pretty sure pit beef is cooked directly over the fire but I wanted to try a smoked version. What cut of beef is used to make pit beef? Anyone had any experience smoking meat to make pit beef? Any advice & info is much appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 4

Did a quick Google search for pit beef. Seeing that this is from Steven Raichlen this should be a good answer.


How to Say Barbecue in Baltimore

Published: June 28, 2000

I SPENT the first 18 years of my life in Baltimore, and not once did I eat pit beef. I am not particularly proud of this fact, but it does reflect the parochialism of the region's food. I grew up in the suburb of Pikesville, Md., and the foods of my childhood embraced the four C's of Baltimore gastronomy: crab, corned beef, coddies (leaden cakes of codfish and potatoes) and chocolate tops (cookies crowned with a rosette of chocolate icing).

Pit beef came from a working-class neighborhood on the east side of town, which for me might as well have been another planet.

Pit beef is Baltimore's version of barbecue: beef grilled crusty on the outside, rare and juicy inside and heaped high on a sandwich. Several things make it distinctive in the realm of American barbecue.

For starters, pit beef is grilled, not smoked, so it lacks the heavy hickory or mesquite flavor characteristic of Texas- or Kansas City-style barbecue. It is also ideally served rare, which would be unthinkable for a Texas-style brisket. Baltimore pit bosses use top round, not brisket, and to make this flavorful but tough cut of beef tender, they shave it paper-thin on a meat slicer.

post #3 of 4

Here is a link to a DDD episode on Pit Beef



post #4 of 4

I'd say you'd want your smoker at about 325˚ or higher. Sam's club sometimes has the ginormous hunks o' beef that I see being used at some of the stands and restaurants I've been to. Not sure if it's top round, but I think any large cut would do. Like most regional foods, I believe it was born out of poverty , availability and necessity, so any beef roast cooked using fire really would qualify. I'd also suggest a marinade or maybe a brine, (do people brine beef?) as I've had some mighty dry pit beef.

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