A waft of black smoke emerged from the center of East Main Street on Saturday
morning. If the scent wasn’t so intoxicating and inviting, someone might have thought that there was an evil fire. Instead, it was a fire for good. It was the luscious aroma of beef, turkey and ham slowly cooking in Giulianova’s pit at 11 East Main Street in downtown Westminster.
Research by this New York native about the origin of pit beef turned up nothing but ill-sourced legend, but all research appears to point directly to Baltimore as the birthplace of pit beef. The dry, smoked meat is grilled, rather than slathered with liquid during cooking for great flavor that is enhanced with sauces and the squishy bread it is, well, sandwiched between.
On Saturday, May 19, Billy Schroeder became Westminster’s latest Pit Boss when he established his steel smoker to grill meats right on the street. Billy arrived at Giulianova’s before 6am to prepare the meat and place it on the grill. Patience is a virtue, and it’s worth the wait -- the delectable meats cook at an agonizingly slow pace. About 4 hours later, the proteins are cooked and the event was ready to begin.
The inaugural Pit event on Saturday was filled with activity. Christopher James
played live blues, and Joe Tesci played his original music in addition to covers
of people’s favorite tunes. There was a cheese tasting, and patrons could
also sample great bar-b-que sauces.
The Pit Beef Stand will be operating every Saturday from now through October. Billy got the idea from catering events he has conducted, and thought it would translate well into a regular offering on Main Street. He wasn’t wrong – the event was a huge success. “We experienced over a 250% increase in visitors versus a usual Saturday,” said Billy. “It was terrific to see how many people came out and tried this great meal.”
Once the meats are cooked outside, they are taken inside to be sliced and sold. Of
course, no one can eat "just" pit meat – and Billy is happy to oblige by offering
irresistable sides like baked beans, string beans with ham hocks, potato and tortellini salad and more. While Billy sold all three meats, pit beef was the overwhelming favorite. “We offered all three to cater to people’s different tastes and preferences,” says Billy. “But the beef was definitely the runaway
Hosting a pit on the street in the middle of downtown is a novel idea for Westminster – and one in which Billy worked with many to make a reality. “We were so fortunate to work with the City, Mayor Utz, City Manager Marge Wolf, the police department and even the fire department,” says Billy. “Without their support we would not have been able to offer this great food every Saturday.”
The pit will be open every Saturday, and live entertainment will be provided the first Saturday of each month through October. We’ll see you around downtown, eating pit beef!
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