Pit Beef – The Canopy – Ellicotty City, MD

My morning started out successfully. My goal was to get a pit beef sandwich from The Canopy for lunch and get home in time to watch the game, which I was able to do.

The Canopy is a small restaurant right off of Route 40 in Ellicott City, MD. When I lived in Ellicott City, I would go there every month or so. Now that I’m a bit farther away, I don’t get there as often, so I was happy to plan my day to include this place. This place has been open since 1983, and it’s easy to see why it’s still around and still bringing in the customers.

One of the nice things about the Pit Beef restaurants that I’ve visited is the meat is right behind the counter. You order your meat and your desired doneness (if beef), and they take it off the pit and start slicing right there. The meat is fresh. The sandwich is made right there while you’re saying what you want on it.

When it was my turn to order, I opted for a pit beef sandwich with the meat cooked rare. I then asked for tiger sauce and BBQ sauce. And requested potato salad on the side. Their version of tiger sauce is mayonnaise and horseradish. A perfect blend that goes well with beef. The barbecue sauce gives it that extra little touch. The potato salad uses red skin potatoes and onions. There was a nice proportion of mayonnaise on this, and the onions added a nice little crunch. The Canopy has Birch Beer as a fountain drink, so that also puts me in a happy place.

The sandwich itself is fantastic. The meat was cooked to perfection. I like it very rare, so it was good to have those bites that had the perfect flavor of the extra rare meat. Since the meat is thin-sliced, you can have some variety in terms of texture. This sandwich takes some work to bite through, but not too much. The meat had a tender bite through, which made it easier to eat. The kaiser roll held up well. Not soggy, not falling apart. The tiger sauce had a nice kick to it. It wasn’t overbearing, it was just enough to let you know it was there without making your sinuses go crazy.

When I first started ordering, I was thinking about getting Cole slaw as a side dish. But, I tend to think of Cole slaw as accompanying pork, so I decided against it. Potatoes seem to pair well with beef, which is why I went for the potato salad. I don’t remember having ordered the potato salad before, but I’m glad that I did. It was nicely seasoned and had really good flavor. The coolness of the potato salad worked well with the sandwich. And having Birch Beer on tap made it even more special. You can usually find Root Beer, but Birch Beer is tougher to find. So having a good meal at a familiar place helps make for a better day, and makes it easy to stay positive.

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