4100 Northpoint Blvd.
Baltimore, Maryland 21222

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Pit Beef: Where Does It Get its Name?

Pit Beef: Where Does it Get its Name?

Much like blue crabs and Berger cookies, pit beef is synonymous with Baltimore and Maryland pride.

Much like blue crabs and Berger cookies, pit beef is synonymous with Baltimore and Maryland pride. Every Maryland resident prefers their pit beef differently. While some order their sandwiches on a brioche roll with horseradish, others take their pit beef on white bread with barbeque sauce. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy pit beef in Maryland, but how did the delicacy get its particular name? Learn more about the origins of pit beef’s curious moniker, and try our version of the Maryland staple at Costas Inn

Baltimore’s Barbeque 

When one thinks of barbeque, their mind often turns to classic states such as Tennessee or Texas. The rest of the country associates Maryland with blue crabs and Old Bay, but Maryland is also the proud creator of its own kind of barbeque. Pit beef is made from top round roast grilled over charcoal or hardwood. Once cooked, it’s sliced thin and piled high on bread or a roll and finished with horseradish, a few onions, and (sometimes) barbeque sauce. The dish is typically served with a side of thick, boardwalk-style french fries with gravy. 

A Little Bit of History 

The origin of pit beef dates back to the 1970s, along Pulaski Highway on the east side of Baltimore. Pit beef was first sold out of roadside stands and trailers, and some of which later developed into restaurants! Pit beef was perfect for these small locations because it required only a bed of hot charcoal to create the dish! Pit beef originally catered to the working class, but it is now sold in stands and restaurants throughout Maryland. You can even find artisan versions of this Maryland staple in high-end restaurants! 

It’s All in The Name 

So where exactly did the term “pit beef” come from? No one knows for sure, but Maryland residents speculate that it has to do with the dish itself! To achieve the signature flavor, the top round roast must be cooked over an open charcoal flame. Today’s chefs have steered away from cooking their meat over an open pit, but the name remains today! 


Costas Inn has been a Baltimore tradition since 1971. You may recognize our restaurant, which was recently featured on the Food Network with Michael Symon on Burgers, Brew, and ‘Que! We were also voted the2015 #1 Baltimore Seafood Restaurant by USA Today, as well as #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal. You may have also spotted Costas Inn during one of our 9 appearances on the Today Show or heard one of our many interviews on WJZ TV Channel 13 with Ron Matz and Marty Bass.

You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for any time eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube!


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Costas Inn
5 stars - based on 699 reviews
4100 Northpoint Blvd. Baltimore , Maryland
410-477-1975 URL of Map Categories: Seafood Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: yes
Costas Inn
5 stars - based on 695 reviews
4100 North Point Boulevard Baltimore , Maryland 21222
(410) 477-1975 URL of Map Categories: Seafood & Crabs Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: yes