Today is National Maryland Day. Before we get into all the contradictions that are Maryland, let me first acknowledge that today is the Feast Day of Saint Bartholomew, the Apostle. Perhaps we’ll celebrate his Feast Day in detail another time. Today is about Maryland.
Maryland was originally established as a safe haven for Catholics in the new world. George Calvert, the Baron of Baltimore, petitioned King Charles I for a charter for the territory of Maryland. It was with the hope that Maryland would be a safe place for the often persecuted followers of the Catholic Church. His request wasn’t grated before his death in 1632. The charter was granted to his son, Cecil Calvert. In 1649 the Maryland Toleration Act was passed. Protestants were to practice religious tolerance, Catholics to avoid expressions of faith that antagonized Protestants. This did not last, as you can imagine. Eventually it became illegal to be a Catholic in Maryland. Today there are fewer Catholics in Maryland than any other state. Yet the first American Saint, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, called Maryland home.
Maryland remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War, earning the nickname The Free State. However; the state was very much divided. The residents of Maryland were, for the most part, involved in the plantation industries and therefore favored the Confederates. The business holders and merchants favored the Union. Due to Maryland’s close proximity to Washington DC, Union forces took up positions in Baltimore and threatened to obliterate the city, should Maryland take any other side but the Union.
The Free State took on a whole new meaning during Prohibition. When the rest of the country ran dry, Maryland refused. Under the National Prohibition Act, both federal and state agencies shared the responsibility of enforcing alcohol laws. Maryland was the only state that refused to pass a law enforcing Prohibition. Their citizens were free to buy, sell and consume liquor, providing they stayed clear of Federal agents.
Finally (and don’t ask why) the official state sport of Maryland is jousting. During an age when chivalry reined, knights roamed about, saving fair maidens from dragons and engaging in fierce and bloody battles. While modern jousting is just as competitive, the competition is friendly and rarely is there bloodshed.
When it comes to food, Maryland is a southern state, but with its own take on a Southern Barbecued Sandwich. The rub must contain Old Bay, the sauce gets a kick from horseradish, and the meat is always slow cooked. Yeah, it’s all good stuff.
Maryland Style Pit Beef Sandwiches
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Black Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon crushed Dried Oregano
2 lb Top Round Roast
In a small bowl, mix Old Bay, paprika, garlic powder and pepper to taste. Crush oregano, add to the rub mix.
Deeply massage the dry rub into the beef. Place roast in a container and let sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator for several days. When ready to grill, make the Tiger Sauce and prepare the sandwich fixings.
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Sour Cream
1/4 cup Prepared Horseradish
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste.
In a bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cram and horseradish together. Season with dry mustard, last and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling. Remove roast from the refrigerator, let stand on the counter for about 45 minutes. Place directly over the hot coals just long enough to sear the outside and form a nice crust. Move to the cool side of the grill Let cook about 30 to 45 minutes, to an internal temperature of 120 degrees.
Remove roast from the grill, cover and let rest for about 20 minutes. While Pit Beef rests, prepare the finishing touches.
1 small White Onion
6 Sesame Buns
Peel and slice onion into rings. Break apart, set aside. Split buns, brush with oil and toast on the grill. Keep buns warm until ready to serve.
Thinly slice roast against the grain. Spread some Tiger sauce on the bottom bun. Stack on the beef, then onions and another slathering of sauce on the top bun. Serve and enjoy.