We try to maintain active social lives, and even though the O6 are a busy family, we usually are able to cram all of our family commitments in and still have time for the occasional show at First Ave. , movie with the gang, or random gathering at a local dining establishment. This was not the case last week. We were invited to a happy hour at The Lyndale Tap House, a bar in Uptown Minneapolis which specializes in a classic Baltimore cuisine (yeah, I know, that sounds like an oxymoron) – pit beef.
Sadly we had to bow out. The schedule was full. A request for the event to be moved to the following week produced the following terse email “Pit beef waits for no Scandinavian”. Fair enough. So, in the true spirit of the O6 I decided that if I can’t go to pit beef, I’d just have to bring pit beef to me.
A quick side note. Some of you may not be familiar with pit beef. I wasn’t either until I caught an episode of Diners Drive-ins and Dives featuring this delicacy. The Lyndale Tap House sums it up as well as I can: “This preparation involves rubbing a high-quality piece of meat with a special spice mixture and allowing the meat to marinate. The meat is then seared on a specially installed pit grill which chars the meat on the outside and cooks it juicy and tender on the inside. Finally it is sliced paper thin and served on a kaiser roll.”
That is all I need to get started. I’ve seen the video, read a few recipes, and am now ready to share my experience with you.
First, I’m throwing out fancy marinades and special grills. We’re going back to basics with this one. In my opinion, all beef needs is salt and pepper, and as far as grills go – a basic charcoal number is the perfect hardware.
Step one: Light your coals. Charcoal is fine, but over the last year I’ve been turning into a coal snob. I’ve switched to lump coal – an all wood charcoal. The flavor is better and there’s less clean up, but it burns faster and hotter than regular charcoal, so it does need a little more attention.
Step two: Season your meat. I rubbed this cut (2.5 lb sirloin tip roast) with around one tablespoon of kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
Step three: Prepare your coals. Add the hot coals to an even bed of new coals and allow them all to heat up.
Step 4: Lay the meat on the grill.
Step 5: Tend the meat. Give it a flip every five or eight minutes. You are looking for an even sear/char but not a burn (obviously).
Step 6: When it’s done (looking for a medium rare core about 135F) loosely wrap it in foil and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes.
Step 7: Slice and serve. An industrial meat slicer would be perfect for this, but last time I checked, I wasn’t on Iron Chef, so a carefully guided large knife would have to do. Slice as thin as you can.
Pile the result onto a Kaiser roll, top with raw onion and horseradish and be transported to a Baltimore parking lot, where apparently, all of the best pit beef is served.