Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: Steak Sandwich at Pork Shoppe
As a smoking enthusiast, I often wonder why you don't see more smoked steak on menus. I get that most smoked meats are pretty tough hunks, full of connective tissue that the smoking process helps break down, the fat helps them self-baste, stay moist. All fine and good. But I feel like steak is like a little F-1 car, just trying to make a run at the Nascar chase. Sure, it's not quite the right vehicle for the Indy Smoke Hundred, but does that not mean it should not get a run at the big boys? A couple places have given steak the old checkered flag; Smokin' Woody's has a great one, and now the chase has led me back to the Pork Shoppe for their steak sandwich ($6.95 combo with two sides).
"Quick-smoked," the steak here is thinly-sliced and piled high with only a thin, tomato-based sauce to keep it company. It's not really fair to compare the sandwiches, since Woody's came with some extras, but the meats themselves are fair game. And Pork Shoppe's steak is more tender, sliced thinner, but with less smoke flavor coming through. A nice medium rare, with hints of garlic and Worcestershire, it is hearty, without being heavy. The bun is kind of like a used tire on this chassis; it's functional, but the odds of it making it seeing the white flag are about fifty-fifty; mine blew out a couple laps early. But the sandwich comes with two sizable sides (creamed corn is a winner) for under seven bucks, and the $2 PBRs are always cold.
Josh Conley is single-handedly trying to re-introduce the verb beget into the everyday lexicon. He traveled to Easter Island one Christmas out of sheer irony. He excises a hefty syntax, and shamelessly promotes the color orange. His wife begat him two small children that he regularly belittles HERE.