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There’s so much great food to try in DC, so we’ve decided to take a deep dive into some of the city’s best dishes! We kicked off the Behind the Dish series yesterday with Immigrant Food’s Mumbai Mariachi Bowl, and today we’re taking a look at Money Muscle BBQ’s incredible Texas Style Brisket! Here’s the lowdown via Chef Ed Reavis:

For starters, when and where did the inspiration for this dish come from?

I grew up in Emporia, VA right over the border from North Carolina, so a lot of my BBQ background centered around pig & pork.  While researching BBQ, we (my wife Jennifer and I) took a couple of trips to Texas and tried this amazing salt & pepper brisket – a dish that was so simple with ingredients but had so much flavor.  We’ve found that the low & slow cooking method with smoke and simple seasoning truly sets this cut of meat apart.

What was the recipe development process like? Any notable trial and error moments resulting in either “AHA!” or “OH NO” breakthroughs?

When developing the recipe, there was a lot of debate around the fat cap. You have to know the right amount of fat to trim because you want to make sure you leave enough of fat cap on the brisket so the meat builds a nice bark, insulates the meat and the fat renders into the meat. If there’s too much fat left, it doesn’t render properly and leaves you with a poor mouthfeel. We also had to decide if wanted to cook the brisket with the fat cap up or down. This is a big debate amongst BBQ enthusiasts-people who prefer fat down do so to protect the meat. At Money Muscle BBQ, we cook with the fat cap up because we want the fat to render and drip down into the meat. With our type of smoker and controlling the fire, fat side up is the way to go.

Obviously all of the elements of the dish are important, but is there one in particular (whether it’s an ingredient or technique) that stands out as especially crucial?

When cooking brisket, you cannot have too much moisture during the cooking process.  We spray the meat every hour with an apple cider/water blend to help keep the crust soft. You also have to wrap the meat at the right moment; you want to wrap once the internal temperature hits 170 degrees and the bark is built. That allows the brisket to cook internally without losing any flavor, juiciness or over doing the exterior.

It’s one thing to roll out a menu item and another to know for sure it’s a keeper. What for you solidified it as the latter?

Once we felt ready to take Money Muscle BBQ public, we asked friends, family and guests at our other restaurant All Set Restaurant & Bar for feedback. The Texas Brisket was immediately the number 1 seller and we started selling out daily! Since then, we’ve upped our orders and now use it in a Brisket Ragu, Brisket Sandwich and sometimes on the weekends, a Brisket Hash.

And if someone were to order this, what are some good additional pairings (food or drink) to go with it?

We recommend ordering a side of Skillet Cornbread and Mac & Cheese with your Texas Brisket. The cornbread gives a sweet boost to the brisket to balance out the crunchy salt & pepper crust and smoke and the mac & cheese is creamy and offers a contrasting mouthfeel to the brisket. If you’re looking to pair your meal with a drink at home, we recommend Syrah – Idle Cellar in Sonoma has a great one or something big and juicy like a Australian Shiraz.


Snag some Texas Style Brisket from Money Muscle BBQ!

8630 Fenton Street, Plaza 5
Silver Spring, MD 20910
TUESDAY – FRIDAY: 11:30AM – 2PM; 4PM – 9PM
SUNDAY: 11:30AM – 9PM