9319 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042
So this is how dedicated I am to my pit beef census. I picked up a couple sandwiches on my way back from CarterQue, my belly heavy with pig meat. It wasn’t easy stopping to get yet more meat, further delaying a much-needed itis-induced nap. The Canopy has been around for a looong time, but I hadn’t been in a couple years. They bill themselves as a ” barbecue restaurant”, which it really isn’t – unless you count pit beef as Baltimore’s native variant of bbq, and there is a valid argument for that. Well, I’m on the fence about this
place. The pit beef had decent char but not a real crust to speak of, and the pit beef itself was very tender but lacked that slightly metallic, bloody note and slight chewiness that to me denotes “real” pit beef. I’ve surmised that other places, notably the much ballyhooed and disappointing Chaps, don’t actually start with raw top round, but rather use a pre-cooked, brined roast beef and simply char the exterior. I know of at least one place that does this for sure, and I’m about 95% sure about Chaps (the place is set to appear on Food Network next week, which should shed light on the subject). I fear that The Canopy too falls in this dubious category. You can’t really tell by this shot, but in addition to the suspect flavor and tenderness, the slices were all nearly perfectly ovoid, a la deli meat:
Also, the “blood” soaked into the roll wasn’t bloody at all, but had a slight brine flavor, another telltale sign:
All in all a good sandwich, a grilled roast beef sandwich to be precise. That’s my determination at least. Now I could be dead wrong about The Canopy and Chaps for that matter, but if they do start from raw beef, I don’t know what they;’re doing to make it so tender, but whatever it is it’s also detracting from the natural beef flavor.