Ravens Tailgate Recipe: Maryland-style pit beef

One of the staples of Maryland eating is pit beef. There's something special about the flavor produced when cooking a beef roast over fire. It's not the most common sandwich to see at the stadium, but when done correctly, it makes for an easy and extremely tasty tailgate. This recipe has you doing most of the cooking at home before the game, with an easy reheating step at the parking lot.

Maryland-style pit beef


Makes 10-15 sandwiches

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

4-6 pounds top, bottom or eye round beef roast

10-15 soft kaiser rolls

2 large white onions (sliced very thin)

Horseradish sauce

First, prepare the dry rub by mixing together the pepper, salt, garlic powder and chili powder. Trim any excess fat from the beef roast and liberally apply the dry rub all over. Let the roast rest at room temperature while you prepare the grill.

Grilling the roast over charcoal is crucial to getting the authentic pit beef flavor that you'd find at the Maryland State Fair or any of the popular local restaurants. Grilling a beef roast on your home grill involves two stages: direct-heat searing and finishing with indirect heat. Prepare one half of a charcoal grill for medium-high heat and leave the other half empty. You'll want to aim for a dome temperature of about 350-400 degrees. Sear all sides of the roast over direct heat for about 3 minutes each, then move the roast to indirect heat. Keeping the dome closed, cook the roast until the internal temperature reaches about 135 degrees. Remove the roast from the grill and let it rest for about 30 minutes in aluminum.

Slice the roast as thin as possible with an electric knife (a meat slicer is ideal) and place the slices back into the aluminum (with all the juices left over from the 30-minute rest). Cover and refrigerate until you leave for the tailgate.

When you arrive at the tailgate, preheat your grill to medium heat and place the aluminum with the sliced pit beef over direct heat. Using tongs, rotate the beef until it is heated throughout. Grill the rolls until lightly toasted and top with a generous portion of beef, sliced onions and horseradish sauce.

John Thomas is the author of the Baltimore-based grilling blog