Some things we think of as Baltimore things, like "Hon" and "neighborhoods," are not really Baltimore things. Pit beef is for real a Baltimore thing, at most a Maryland thing. Its origins are murky, but most food historians seem to agree that pit beef sprung up in Baltimore's east-side working-class neighborhoods. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that pit beef stands began to line the road along Pulaski Highway as early as the 1970s. The leap Chaps and others made from roadside trailer to fixed location isn't hard to fathom. That happens, with ice cream shops, snowball stands, and hot-dog carts. But I've yet to read a persuasive account that explains why the pit cooking, which originally involved—and still sometimes does—the grilling of beef on spits over a bed of hot, hot charcoal, became the method of choice in Baltimore, as opposed to, say, any other meat-heating system in the world. One guess: Those other methods were already taken.