As great of a barbecue town as Chicago is, we do come up short when it comes to brisket. With the exception of Smoque (reviewed here), I've yet to experience a place within city limits that puts out a great version (most places don't offer brisket at all). So I was excited to add a brisket sandwich to my order during my first and definitely not last visit to Big Ed's BBQ in North Chicago. The slow-cooked smoked beef is tender and gets an extra flavor from the housemade dry rub that surrounds it. The sauce poured on top, which is the one served on Big Ed's stellar ribs, gives the sandwich a great tangy punch.
By all accounts, Big Ed (yes, there's actually a Big Ed) has continuously developed his skills as a pitmaster in the three years his restaurant has been open. I would like to see him use a packer cut brisket rather than just the flat and cut the meat into thicker pieces, but even without those changes, this is one very good sandwich. On a related note, if you do make the trip up to Big Ed's, do not miss out on the ribs or the housemade hot links.
Big Ed's BBQ
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.