I grew up hearing about bull roasts. To my younger self, it seemed like my parents were always going to one. But I didn’t know that bull roasts are a distinctively Maryland event until I had to explain them to Kenny, a native New Yorker. It took a while. Marylanders (or my family at least) pronounce “bull” like “bool” (rhyming with “pool”) making it hard for Kenny to understand what I was saying.
But once we got past local dialect differences, I realized that New Yorkers do not have bull roasts. Which made me wonder, does the bull roast have a decorated history, some tale of culinary lore in Maryland?
Before we go there though, here’s a bit of explanation about bull roasts for those who aren’t familiar with them. (I just went to my first one on Saturday, which, like my distaste for picking crabs, makes me feel like a crappy Marylander.) As you might expect, the bull roast is all about eating a lot of meat. At Saturday’s roast, there was turkey, ham, and roast beef, potato rolls, and condiments like barbeque sauce and mayonnaise. My table ate their sandwiches straight up: just meat and condiments on bread.
What’s interesting is that this all-you-can-eat meat fest is the ultimate way to raise money in Maryland. Nonprofits, schools, the Teamster Horsemen – they all hold bull roasts. So why do Marylanders love the bull roast so much?
The answer is that I don’t know. At least not yet. I haven’t been able to find any research on the subject, even in my school’s database. But I’m curious about this event. So I plan to go to the Maryland Historical Society this week to see if they can help me unearth the history of the bull roast.
But I would be most grateful to hear about your bull roast experiences too. Do you go to many bull roasts? Do you know anything about the history of the bull roast in Maryland, or any ideas where I could do some research?