Dish of the Week: Baltimore pit beef sandwich at the Brake Pad
Baltimore pit beef is one of those regional specialties that is very specifically defined in the minds of locals, but easily can be misinterpreted by outsiders. A common comparison is that pit beef is Maryland's version of barbecue. Search for Baltimore pit beef sandwiches in Atlanta online and you'll find a list of local barbecue joints. Look for it in real life, and you'll find a decent simulacrum at the Brake Pad in College Park.
Pit beef is much closer to roast beef than barbecued brisket, and the sandwich is closer to a French Dip without the jus, or a cheesesteak without the cheese. It's traditionally topped with horseradish, and the Brake Pad also adds a pile of pickled red onions that appear nearly neon pink.
Whether or not this is strictly traditional, it does make for a very solid sandwich. The rich, well-seasoned roast beef is nicely offset by the onions, and a large, pillowy roll makes for a substantial meal.
It's certainly easy to enjoy while sitting on the Brake Pad's patio in historic College Park on an early summer day.
Brake Pad Restaurant and Bar, 3403 Main St., College Park. 404-766-1515, brakepadatlanta.com.