I just had some great lamb barbecue. It had an excellent crust and a moist, tender interior with a solid smoky flavor. I haven’t had a lot of lamb barbecue, but this was the best.
The lamb came from Silver and Sons, a food truck that covers much of inner Montgomery County on Wednesday through Saturday. I saw an article about a place with Jewish and Mediterranean style barbecue, and I was excited. I grew up in Birmingham and the local Jewish community appreciated and celebrated barbecue.
Silver and Sons is part of the same tradition. It’s a food truck, a big ol’ food truck, with the smoker on board so that the food is fresh, vs. the too common practice of cooking off site and dragging the meat through DC area traffic. Nancy and I’d hustled out to Captin’s Market in Glen Echo, their usual Saturday stop, once before so I could try the lamb and the merguez sausage. Alas, I’d neglected to order ahead and they were out of both. I persevered, however, and returned for a lamb sandwich. Just look at it.
Doesn’t that look good? That’s a fresh challah roll graced with a lovely helping of smoked lamb, rich with the flavors of lamb, hickory, and oak. Succulent, that’s the word. I read that it’s marinated in garlic, which helps. And, yes, that’s an Aladdin plate. It was on top of the stack in the cabinet. I started to put it back and use another for the picture, but decided that it fit the Middle Eastern theme. The lamb came with a smoky baharat mustard sauce (my choice among the sauce offerings) with an assertive blend of spices that I can’t really identify. I thought the lamb was fine unadorned, and saved the sauce for later. The vegetable relish added a counterpoint to the lamb’s richness. What a great sandwich!
Back to our first visit. We ended up ordering the brisket (me) and smoked chicken (Nancy), along with three sides: Chickpea Napa Cabbage Slaw, Lemon Schmaltz Potatoes, and a smoked feta with jalapeño. It came with a couple of challah rolls and some of that good relish.
The brisket was moist and had a good beef flavor, but less smoke flavor than the lamb. Silver and Sons’ brisket was good, as good as you’re likely to find in Montgomery County, but now that Aaron Franklin has disclosed the Eleusinian mysteries of cooking truly great brisket every time to the folks at 2fifty and elsewhere around the country, merely good brisket pales by comparison. The chicken was dense, but not dry and rubbery the way chicken gets. It too had less smoke flavor than the lamb. Perhaps it had been an off day on the smoker, which happens in the best of barbecue places.
The slaw was very good, a mixture of chickpeas with red onion and cucumbers, and roasted red peppers for the win. It had been tossed, not drowned, in a lemony vinaigrette. We both liked it. We disagreed about the smoked feta, which Nancy considered too salty. I liked it — salty foods are right up my alley. I would have liked more jalapeño, but I was happy with the seasonings with which it had been topped. The potatoes were less successful. The flavors of schmaltz and lemon were there, but they had an odd texture, and weren’t hot by the time we got them home. We decided that our own version, in which we roast a chicken on a rack over the potatoes with onions and maybe carrots in an effort to reproduce the effect of those tall rotisseries you see in France, like these at a market in Lyon.
The chicken fat drips down so that the potatoes are luxuriating in a hot bath of chicken fat. You should try it. I mean the cooking method, not the luxuriating in a hot bath of chicken fat, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
While our initial visit to Silver and Sons was a mixed bag, my second visit was a triumph. I rejoice that I went back, and I definitely will return again for some more lamb and to try their merguez sausage. And I may give the brisket and chicken another try. As I said, it could have just been an off day, and the quality of the lamb makes me think it was.
Definitely check their website for their schedule for the location nearest you. It does change from week to week, and it’s a `good idea to order ahead. They do run out of things. Silver and Sons is the place to go for barbecue in Montgomery County, and I’m hoping for their success so they can start a brick and mortar operation. Silver and Sons deserves a bigger and better smoker than a truck can accommodate, and I really want to be able to eat that lamb indoors in the winter. So hurry over to Silver and Sons.
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