A Sandwich a Day: The Brisket Melt at Barn and Company

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.


[Photograph: Josh Conley]

Gary Wiviott is one voice in the barbecue choir that you can and should single out. Author, critic, general barbecue savant, I followed that voice through the hickory smoke wisps to Barn and Company, where he serves as Consulting Pit Master. While I have somewhat mixed feelings about cheese-on-beef endeavors, I ordered the Brisket Melt ($13 with fries) with high hopes. Unfortunately, it didn't quite measure up.

Hickory-smoked, sliced (not chopped) brisket, cheddar cheese, smoked onions, and bacon barbecue sauce sit between some hearty, toasted bread. The brisket has a nice smoke ring and good bark, but also sports a hefty fat cap. I'm certainly no fatophobe, but this was a good 1/3-inch thick after smoking; just enough to make you notice you're eating fat. Still, it had a lot of flavor.

What did not was the bacon barbecue sauce, so indistinguishable here, I had to ask if it was even on there ("I think," I was told). The cheddar was pretty neutral, but the smoked onions are so dominant, I had to take some off. Basically, if you could somehow make French onion soup in sandwich form, it would taste a lot like this. I still prefer mine in liquid form, and my brisket a bit more dressed down.

Barn and Company

950 West Wrightwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map)

Josh Conley once went to Antarctica. But not for the food. He ridicules his two small children HERE, because they can't read yet.