Is It Any Good?

The gold standard for Pit Beef Barbecue in Baltimore.

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Chaps Pit Beef on Foodio54

Whether it be a great food town or a singular great food item that’s done up right across a region, asking which place serves it the best is going to start an argument.

Or, you can look at it the other way, and decided that settling that argument for yourself will involve lots and lots of good eating along the way.IMG_0499-Edit

Chaps Pit Beef is not in what you’d call the most attractive part of East Baltimore. See, now right there, that should have been a clue. East Baltimore. East Baltimore isn’t dangerous or anything. It’s just industrial. It’s just were the working folks live and work. It’s not part of the tourist trail in Baltimore. And yes, there is a tourist trail for Baltimore.

Sharing a parking lot with a manufacturer and a Strip Club won’t make you feel too good about this choice. Seeing the line out the door should.

And yes, there is always a line.

Decked out in Ravens purple, this is a walk up to the counter, place your order and wait for your number to be called. Simple as that.

Finding a seat? Not so simple, but with enough patience, you will. At least the day I was there, most of the business was for To-Go orders heading out the door. (It was also Playoff Saturday, and the Ravens were playing their arch rivals the Steelers that day, too.)

The smell of that pit roaring should be enough to get your mouth watering, but if it’s not, the sandwich will take you the rest of the way home.

In the end, Chaps Pit Beef is a bit harder to get to than most. It may take you on a tour of a part of Baltimore you weren’t anxious to see, but then again…that’s kind of the point. Chaps is for Baltimore, and having had their sandwich…Chaps is Baltimore.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: We’re not arguing here. You’re having the Beef Sandwich.IMG_0500-Edit

Yeah, I don’t care if you’re Vegetarian. You’re having the Beef Sandwich.

I will say that, for me, there is very little vital difference between Pioneer Pit Beef and Chaps. There are differences to be sure, but here goes:

The meat is juicier at Pioneer, but you get the taste and smoky, fresh from the flame flavor at Chaps.

The buns are a little better at Pioneer, but they’re toasted at Chaps.

There’s Fixin’s Bar (see, I just dated myself) where you can add as much of what you want at Chaps, where there is only a Ketchup and Old Bay at Pioneer.

But Sandwich wise? Each to his own taste. I’d be happy with either.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: The one thing they ask is that you shut off your cell phone before ordering. A reasonable request, in that I can see some jackass with his or her phone to their ear, getting in just one more order, and stalling the line.

Oh, a second thing they ask on cold days…keep the door closed. They want you in, but don’t hold the door open as you wait in line on cold days. They want your money. They want you well fed, and they want you warm.

Also try to have a plan before you order. You have enough time. Look at the menu. Think about how bit you want everything, then get to the window and make it happen.

Oh, and one more thing. Gotta tell you, the large fries at Chaps are seriously, seriously large. As in: enough to feed two people, and maybe more than that large.


PARKING: Plentiful and free. When I visited, I wasn’t quite sure where the (property) lines for the Strip Club, Manufacturing Company and Chaps began, and where they all ended. I’m decently sure the hours for Chaps and the Strip Club don’t intersect, so…you’re good there. As long as the company doesn’t mind, and you don’t mind an extra fifty foot walk, you’re good.


Chaps Pit Beef
5801 Pulaski Highway
Baltimore, MD 21205

Tel: (410) 483-2379

Sunday-Thursday: 10:30 am – 10:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 10:30 am – 12:00 am