Posts Tagged ‘Chicago BBQ’
We had heard rumors of this place for some time and when Steve Dolinsky reported that “Chicago q is the city’s first “elegant” BBQ palace” we knew the time had come. We were delighted to hear that Lee Ann Whippen of BBQ Pitmasters fame was the Chef and Partner, we knew we had yet another special BBQ place in Chicago. Lee Ann has moved to Chicago to make this place something special and that speaks to the mix of authentic competition and Virginia BBQ. Combine that with an atmosphere that you can only find in the Chicago Gold Coast, they did a fantastic job. The decor is like a chic Southern Plantation meets modern casual restaurant space. It is wide open with a cool bar, great dining area and a couple of private rooms including flat screens for watching sports. They also do carry out which they said is a huge part of their business.
Staff was really knowledgeable and this was an important part of the experience. When we mentioned that we owned a BBQ store we were treated to visits from the General Manager as well as Lee Ann herself! Lee Ann was really friendly, shared some of her experience of Chicago and was happy to spend the time and energy needed to make the place a success. Our waiter was awesome too, he was very attentive and even got us a kitchen tour, complete with a look at the smoker! This place is the real deal, a gorgeous kitchen complete with a smoker that is gas fired, but real smoking wood stacked right next to it.
We had to try the Kobe beef brisket and went for the Competition Spare Ribs as well as baked beans, fries and mac and cheese for the sides. BBQ is served with the sauce on the side, one is a mild sauce and the other has a little spice to it. The Kobe Beef Brisket was a little dry for my tastes, but very tasty and had a great smoke flavor. The bark on the outside exposed the Lee Ann Whippen Family signature rub “Pig Powder”, which tells me that it was cooked right but needed sauce to make it delicious. The Competition style Spare’s were so damn moist and pink that they pulled right off the bone. They had a great glaze to them which was tasty and perfectly complimented the rub. When we took our kitchen tour we noticed that each rack is wrapped in foil, just like most do in competition and pulled out of the smoker just before serving to you.
The sides is where you could taste all the love. We have heard that their onion rings are not to be missed, sorry we missed them. The Mac and Cheese was special, not
your run of the mill side dish, and we loved it. Overall, it was great to have something this authentic and special in Chicago. It is a great atmosphere and the prices are reasonable based on the neighborhood and the level of service you receive. They have a balance of southern hospitality and fine dining. You could go there to watch a game in the bar, carry out, have a nice dining experience with friends or enjoy a large party in one of their signature private rooms. Exciting to see Modern BBQ hit Chicago, and to have a real BBQ Pitmaster and a high standard of service complete the experience.
You can book a reservation right from their site, I would recommend one as you never know in Chicago. They are kid friendly, casual dining and have more on the menu than just BBQ (The qBurger sounds out of this world).
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What makes a good rib? It starts with slow-and-low cooking over hardwood for just the right amount of time. That’s what gives the meat a hint, but not a wallop, of sultry smoke—the thin, pink smoke ring just below the crust of spices is your proof. The next test: A gentle tug should be all it takes to pull the meat from the bone. And finally, it should taste so good you can’t stop thinking about it. For daydream-worthy ribs, try these guys.
Uncle John’s We used to be in love with the hot links, then the tips, next the slab bacon and, recently, the fried chicken. Currently, the ribs have us swooning: firm but well-marbled meat and plenty of it, a solid smoke ring throughout the slab, and minimal seasoning with a tiny kick. 337 E 69th St (773-892-1233; half slab $9, full $14).
Smokin’ M’s You wouldn’t expect much from a strip-mall storefront, but this overlooked joint nails Southern staples (including down-home friendliness). The caramelized spice rub on the slabs of meaty St. Louis cuts (spareribs sans tips) gives them a slightly chewy crust. Underneath lurks a quarter-thin layer of smoke over a full inch of robust pork, and it takes just the right amount of effort to separate the meat from the bone. 7501 Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park (708-488-0123; half slab $11, full $18).
Big Ed’s You might expect a pit master like Big Ed to put up ribs that slam you with fat and smoke. After all, many of Ed’s customers are Chicago Bears, who practice nearby, and football players aren’t known for being nuanced. But while these ribs don’t skimp on the meat, overly fatty they’re not. And the smokiness comes second to the porkiness. Think of these ribs as tackling you with flavor—just, you know, gently. 2501 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, North Chicago (847-578-1901, bigedsllc.com; half slab $12, full $20).
Smoque The baby back and St. Louis ribs get a flavorful Memphis-style dry rub (we tasted paprika, garlic salt and plenty of black pepper) and slow smoke over both apple and oak wood. Delicate diners, go with the baby backs; cut closer to the backbone just under the loin, these deliver lean, but incredibly tender, meat. Ravenous carnivores, go with the St. Louis, the meatier of the two. No one will be disappointed. 3800 N Pulaski Rd (773-545-7427, smoquebbq.com; half slab $10–$11, full $17–$18).
Smokey’s BBQ How can a place execute solid ribs but bobble pulled pork and brisket? Let’s chalk it up to specialization. Menu options such as “Uncle Kenny’s Famous Mediterranean” might lure you, but original is the way to go. The caramelized spices get a glaze late in the game, moistening the exterior into a flavorful, slightly chewy crust. These meaty ribs stand up to the smoke well for good balance in every bite. 5481 N Northwest Hwy (773-763-2328, smokeysbbqchicago.com; half slab $11, full $19).