Don’t doubt Jarrad Silver’s dedication to his budding Silver and Sons Barbecue business. The chef personally schlepped the 1,600-pound smoker he bought off Facebook from New Jersey to his home in Kensington by attaching a tow-hitch to the back of his car. He also hauls in the oak and hickory wood he feeds the smoker from his in-laws’ farm in Red House, Virginia, after he chops and cures it himself. If you need any further proof that Silver has found his calling, he named the puppy he adopted during the pandemic Brisket.
Before setting out to launch two of his own ventures in the D.C. area, Silver was a fixture in the local restaurant scene. He was the executive chef at Birch & Barley and helped open all of the Kapnos restaurants. Each career stop shaped his future plans. First, Silver will launch a barbecue food truck that could grow into a brick-and-mortar business down the line.
The Silver and Sons Barbecue truck will roam the Maryland suburbs starting in mid-October. Silver’s father wants to get involved in the business once he retires and Silver has a young son of his own, hence the name. People can track Silver and Sons’ progress by signing up for updates here or by emailing email@example.com.
“I’m trying to do more of Jewish, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern type of barbecue,” Silver says. You’ll find pulled lamb shoulder instead of pulled pork, for example. “Every country and culture has some sort of live-fire cooking. It’s not like American barbecue was the first time someone was like, ‘Let’s cook meat over fire slowly,’” he says.
In addition to the pulled lamb shoulder flavored with ginger, garlic, fennel seed, cumin, and coriander, customers will be able to try brisket, chicken, merguez sausage, short rib pastrami, and baby back beef ribs. Silver makes three sauces: a Carolina-style vinegar sauce; a bulldog sauce that has a ketchup and Worcestershire sauce base, but benefits from the addition of soy and mirin; and a baharat mustard sauce with add-ins like mace, dehydrated lime zest, and ginger.
Orders come with house-baked challah rolls and sides that skip the mayo. “I want people to fill up on meats and have the sides be refreshing,” Silver says. Think Brussels sprouts tabbouleh instead of coleslaw and a coal roasted beet salad with pumpkin seed crumble and pomegranate vinaigrette. Don’t skip the lemon schmaltz potatoes or Southern-style mac and cheese with garlic breadcrumbs. Components of the desserts such as walnut baklava see the smoker too.
Silver’s mission is to feed as many people as possible. “There’s nothing about being a chef downtown that I disliked except for the amount of people I fed,” he says. “I wanted to find a way to get the price point down at the same quality I was cooking before so more than a small percentage of people can afford to eat it.”
He keeps some of his costs down by getting creative with leftovers. Chicken goes into pot pies and lamb goes into shepherd’s pies, both of which Silver can sell frozen. “This is where the market comes into play,” Silver says.
Part two of Silver’s plan is Mensch’s Market, a one-stop shop and sandwich counter for people who appreciate scratch-made foods and local sourcing. Silver and his silent business partner are currently looking at spaces in neighborhoods like Takoma, Friendship Heights, Kensington, and both sides of Chevy Chase. They hope to open in summer or fall of 2022 and serve busy families. The market will house an outpost of Silver and Sons Barbecue and the smoked meats will make their way into sandwiches.
“As many grocery items we can make in house, we’re going to do it,” Silver says. That means pasta, croutons, salad dressings, scoop-and-serve sides and salads, and many more things beyond that. He’s also envisioning a produce section, a small butcher case, and a selection of local beer and wine.
Mensch is a yiddish word that means a person of integrity. “We want to run our business with integrity whether it’s how we’re sourcing, how we’re hiring and treating staff, or how we’re giving back to the community,” Silver says. He’s looking to emulate the restaurant he worked at in his teens—Pie-tanza in Arlington.
“Every school in the area would call them for every silent auction,” he says. “They never said no to a gift certificate. I want to be that. I want to be able to support the local T-ball teams and schools.”
Once his food truck arrives, Silver plans to park it in neighborhoods he’s targeting for the market to build brand recognition. “There’s a big difference between a restaurant that calls itself a neighborhood restaurant because they’re in a neighborhood and a restaurant that is in a symbiotic relationship in a neighborhood. That’s at the forefront of how I want this place to be run.”
Silver and Sons Barbecue, silverandsonsbbq.com