Sunday, December 29, 2013

Good BBQ?

Fictionalized adaptation of a real conversation.

Hello, Randy, oh guru of smoked foods! New folks at work have moved recently from the South and are wondering about good smokehouses in the city. Any recommendations you'd care to share?
Dec 6, 9:51 AM
Hi there,
Are they wanting sausage or BBQ?
Dec 6, 9:53 AM

Hmm they did mention sausages specifically yesterday so I'd guess the former
Dec 6, 9:53 AM
Smoked beef sausage is very iffy.  A wealth of pork sausage can be found at both Gene's locations. at Paulina Meat Market and at Butcher and Larder.

Dec 6, 9:58 AM

Can you eat in at those places or is it all sausage for home?
Dec 6, 9:58 AM
Those are sausage for home.  Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen and Smoque on Pulaski are both very nice BBQ places.
Dec 6, 10:00 AM

Honky Tonk, slipped my mind. I have been there only once, arriving there after midnight, and the place was jamming. The candied bacon was a delight.
Dec 6, 10:00 AM
Hickory River if they get out to Schaumburg or Bloomingdale is even better.
The Candied Bacon?  With or without Bourbon?
Dec 6, 10:02 AM

Oh, I don't recall.
It has been too long, I think I should revisit it.
Dec 6, 10:02 AM
Honky Tonk brisket was passable and of course I only say that because I prefer my own, cooked low and slow with all the fat on it and taken off in sections as it is ready.  I then have the choice of removing or eating any fat that has not melted to flavor the meat.
Dec 6, 10:02 AM

We were with a Chef, and we got to meet the proprietor of Honky Tonk. They were very down to earth.
Dec 6, 10:03 AM
Easy to get to from the loop as well.
Dec 6, 10:04 AM
This is an outstanding list, thank you for sharing your experience!


  1. Everyone loves links!

    After our semi-fictional talk, I sent these links to the internal mailing list where I work:
    Randy said that the Lincoln Park location is friendliest.

    As for eat-in BBQ, Randy recommends:
    I can also recommend Honky Tonk. I have been there only once, arriving after midnight, and the place was bumpin'. The candied bacon is a marriage made in heaven.
    This one is out in the NW burbs but Randy says it's even better than Smoque and Honky Tonk.

    1. Thank you, Nick. I have not really met a brisket or sausage I do not like either. I have only met brisket that was not what I expected. Someone will like it. The most surprising to me was at Popeye's in Lake Geneva. I had seen the smokehouse when I went in so was totally amazed when served brisket that somehow had been transformed into boil-in-bag roast beef. I like chorizo but it does not like me. Likely Spanish saffron. I have encountered the same problems with high dollar Indian food. I use tumeric as my sub which I learned from a book "I Hear America Cooking" which is a fun read as well as having some great recipes.

  2. I've been to Honky Tonk a few times. Love their ribs and atmosphere. Now I'll have to go back and try their brisket.