Four concentrated hours of barbecue later, I can safely say that the pilgrimage to Uncle John's Barbecue in Richton Park is worth the trek, though Uncle J's is your place if you're looking for a straight up taste of the original.
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Where do Ben's tips and links fall in the Chicago barbecue pantheon? That depends. Do you like the finer chopped style of Honey 1 but prefer instead to seek out the next big thing? This might be your place.
Uncle John's is closed, but you have to move on, right? So instead of sulking, I visited four new barbecue joints, searching for something to get excited about.
There are people who, when you ask them about something, say "Oh, that's one of my favorite things to eat in Chicago," and if you tallied up everything they said that of, it would amount to a small town phone book's worth of dishes. So let me be clear about the chicken boti at Khan B.B.Q.: it's one of my favorite things to eat in Chicago, as in three.
I've never gotten choked up about a restaurant closing—until today, when I learned that Uncle John's BBQ on 69th closed its doors for good.
All you really need to know about Smalls is that any time spent reading this post is time away from one of the best new concepts to open up in a while. So bus, bike, drive, or walk your way up California Avenue- because if the lines haven't started forming yet, it's only a matter of time.
Blackwood BBQ is the first barbecue joint to show up in the Loop, and they're serving some of the best lunch downtown, especially since the prices are so reasonable.
Unlike just about every other barbecue restaurant I've been to, everything on Smoque BBQ's menu, from the ribs and brisket to the beans and corn bread, is worth ordering. And that's exactly what a group of us did.
If it can be smoked and doesn't have bones (sorry rib tips), it can probably be stuffed between two slices of bread, slathered in sauce, and devoured. We covered pulled pork on Monday, but here are some of our other favorite barbecue sandwiches in Chicago.
Pulled pork is the most ubiquitous barbecue in Chicago, but it's not always the best. While it took some effort to track down, there is pulled pork worth celebrating here.
Uncle Bub's BBQ in Westmont dishes up tasty smoked meats and superior sides.
What do you need to know about Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed in Lakeview? As the only Kosher barbecue restaurant in the city, it is perpetually packed, even if you decide to go at 5:30 p.m. on a weekday. But does the barbecue actually hold up?
Captain Porky's in Wadsworth goes to great pains to source and serve some of the area's best barbecue and seafood, all under one wood-trimmed roof.
A nice medium rare, with hints of garlic and Worcestershire, the steak sandwich at Pork Shoppe is hearty, without being heavy.
It's a brisket sandwich's birthright to be a meaty mess, with juicy smoke-laden meat punctuated by crunchy burnt ends. Fortunately, chef Kevin Hickey knows this.
Is it distressing that the best thing about the pulled chicken sandwich ($8, small) at Fat Willy's Rib Shack has nothing to do with the meat in the middle?
Doesn't matter if I'm at an Irish pub or a barbecue restaurant, if I see a taco on the menu I have to order it, which explained why I was at Brand BBQ Market in Logan Square with a plate of pulled pork tacos in front of me.
The tender, moist pork is pulled chunky, not stringy, with plenty of chew to it, and the homemade apple chutney provides just enough sweetness.
Unlike most barbecue joints using aquarium-style smokers, Mary Lee's location in the South Loop near Chinatown and McCormick Place is downright convenient. But how does it hold up to the Uncle John's of the world?
When it comes to great barbecue, Chicago does things a little differently. Perhaps nobody in the city does it better than Uncle John's, where the links are flecked with red pepper flakes and taste deeply of sage and pork fat.