Photo Credit: Photo by Reema Desai
Get Your BBQ Fix At This Black-Owned Maryland Food Truck
Money Muscle BBQ is one of Silver Spring, Maryland’s newest food truck sensations. The truck, a brainchild of Chef Ed Reavis and his wife, Jennifer Meltzer, officially hit the streets in September and has been receiving rave reviews.
Ed was born in Emporia, Virginia, a small town close to the North Carolina border. He was raised on sweet potato pie and smoked Carolina-style barbecue from his grandmother’s kitchen.
He grew up working in restaurants, starting as a dishwasher and gradually working his way up to line cook during high school and college to make money.
“I loved working in restaurants but also loved physical education and saw that food can really fuel your body and that certain diets can turn your life around if you are struggling with chronic illness,” he told Travel Noire. “Even before all that, I loved to be in the kitchen when my family was cooking— I still use my grandmother’s sweet potato pie recipe.”
Despite his background and experience working in restaurants, Ed never envisioned a life as a restaurateur. However, the more he learned about fitness, the more he soon realized that food was growing more and more important to him. He left college in his junior year and enrolled in the Baltimore International Culinary School.
“I worked in acclaimed kitchens of top restaurants and steakhouses across the Washington, D.C. region. Then I joined the opening team at The Capital Grille, where I met my future business partner and now wife, Jennifer. We started All Set Restaurant & Bar (our New England coastal inspired full-service concept also in downtown Silver Spring) in April 2015.”
After running All Set for three years and dating on and off for ten years, Ed and Jennifer married in October 2017. Shortly after, the couple had their son, Stellar, in August 2018.
When Ed and Jennifer began their initial conceptualizing for Money Muscle BBQ, they did not originally imagine it as a food truck.
“The idea was initially to create it as a ghost kitchen in All Set Restaurant & Bar as a way to expand our operations, and bring my childhood food memories to our current patrons.”
“After being open for five years in our full-service restaurant, we played with a number of concepts for expansion, and after hearing an Eater podcast that discussed the growth of UberEats and the ghost restaurant concept, we felt like BBQ was an awesome idea to try. We were considering altering our current space to accommodate Money Muscle BBQ as a quick serve restaurant.”
“When the pandemic hit, we didn’t know what the future would look like for brick-and-mortar spaces, so we thought if patrons can’t come to us, we could go to them. We began to brand the Money Muscle concept, work on menu recipes, and started to look for a food truck. After about six months we were ready to go and have been super excited and grateful for the warm welcome we have received.”
As for the Money Muscle style, Chef Ed says the truck doesn’t cook just one kind of BBQ.
“The argument about what’s the best kind of BBQ will never end. So, instead of focusing on one type, we incorporate different variations, including Carolina pork, Texas brisket, and even a nod to the renaissance festival with our turkey legs.”
Ed says Money Muscle’s Texas Style Brisket is one of his favorites and also one of their more popular items.
“There is something so awesome about the pure flavors of the beef when you use simple salt and pepper and smoke it low and slow. Every time I cut into one of our briskets and see that smoke ring, I smile. It’s awesome on its own, chopped up for a sandwich, or even folded into warm, comforting pasta dishes.”
“Some of my other favorites are the turkey leg and bone-in short rib. Anytime you cook something on the bone, you get so much flavor, and there is just something so fun about picking up a bone and taking a bite.”
Looking to have a taste of one of Money Muscle BBQ’s delicious dishes? You can place your order at www.moneymusclebbq.com for pick-up or delivery from their Pit Crew Headquarters on Silver Spring’s Fenton Street (All Set Restaurant & Bar). You can also catch their truck out around town for service or neighborhood food drops.
Money Muscle BBQ is available for outdoor parties and BBQs as well as catering, and their team is looking forward to the months ahead.
“We just got a huge new custom-built smoker and are super excited for the spring when we can do whole pig roasts and some larger cuts of meat. We have some cool March Madness specials coming out soon and are thinking about some lamb specials for Easter and Mother’s Day, so definitely follow us at @moneymusclebbq on Instagram and Twitter for updates.”