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  Opening in December - Smoque BBQ

  Opening in December - Smoque BBQ
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  • Post #31 - December 19th, 2006, 9:06 am
    Post #31 - December 19th, 2006, 9:06 am Post #31 - December 19th, 2006, 9:06 am
    Those pictures sure look good!
  • Post #32 - December 19th, 2006, 11:21 am
    Post #32 - December 19th, 2006, 11:21 am Post #32 - December 19th, 2006, 11:21 am
    . . . as requested (edited to replace faulty pdf download):

    Image

    Cheers,
    Wade
    "Remember the Alamo? I do, with the very last swallow."
  • Post #33 - December 19th, 2006, 12:12 pm
    Post #33 - December 19th, 2006, 12:12 pm Post #33 - December 19th, 2006, 12:12 pm
    waderoberts wrote:(BTW3: "Southern" Pride's HQ is in Marion, IL!?)


    If you've ever been to Marion, you would not find it odd at all. It's Southern, all right, and also in the middle of a very robust part of the BBQ belt that includes Owensboro, KY, to the Northeast.
  • Post #34 - December 19th, 2006, 12:21 pm
    Post #34 - December 19th, 2006, 12:21 pm Post #34 - December 19th, 2006, 12:21 pm
    I just got back from lunch at Smoque. Verdict?


    Delicious. I got the pulled pork sandwhich a la cart. Very tender with enough bits of crust to make it bitier (if there is such a word). Very good vinegar based tomato sauce (very thin and peppery like I like it) that came on the side. It came on a big, thick bun which put me off at first. I always thought a thin bun was better because it did not interfere with the porky goodness. The big bun held together nicely so I may rethink this one. The cole slaw came on the side which I like because I usually do not eat cole slaw because it is gross. This one came mayo-free with a vinegar and pepper sauce. It was extremely fresh.

    As a side I got a 1/4 slab of baby back ribs. I ordered St. Louis but they were not done yet. Baby backs substituted no charge. Ribs were amongst the best I ever had. Perfectly done and very smoky. They also came with a little thicker memphis style sauce. Perfect.

    I am happy.
    I'm not Angry, I'm hungry.
  • Post #35 - December 19th, 2006, 12:49 pm
    Post #35 - December 19th, 2006, 12:49 pm Post #35 - December 19th, 2006, 12:49 pm
    All day yesterday I was planning on picking up some Honey 1 before heading over to a friend's for MNF. Around 4 pm, we realized that Honey 1 was closed on Mondays. By that point, the craving for BBQ had taken root and no other food would be acceptable. What to do?

    I briefly considered Calvin's and them remembered reading the post earlier in the day stating that Smoque was opening on the 18th. I figured with the highway friendly location I could get my BBQ to go and arrive at my destination back near Fullerton & Ashland fairly quickly.

    Parking was easy as wade already stated. There was a bit of a line, and a number of customers already eating. The space itself is pretty nice- bright colors, high ceiling with exposed ventilation pipes, large menu chalkboard, attractive chairs & tables, and a self-service Coke machine tucked into the corner. I took a few shots with my camera phone, will try to get those up later if they're any good.

    I ordered a 1/2 slab of the St Louis style w/ slaw & 2 sides (fries & mac n cheese). 15 minutes later I out the door with my food, the delicious scents of BBQ emanating from the plastic bag.

    Another 15 minutes later and I was finally parked in front of my friend's TV, ready to dig in. The mac and cheese, slaw, and extra sauce had been packaged in a paper bag...the ribs & fries in a separate box, which I opened immediately.

    To my surprise, the slab had been cut up already. As in there were about 5 separate bone/meat segments rather than an still-attached 1/2 slab Very odd. Didn't appear that there was sauce on the ribs (or if it was it had dried), so i poured a little on and went to work. Apparently, there were more surprises in store...first flavors were a zesty spiciness from an aggressive rub (it reminded me considerably of the pork chops at Skrine Chops)...the sauce served to calm the palate as it was downright mild in comparison to the rub...and finally, some smoke flavor managed to come through. The meat was looser than I expected as well...it wasn't meat jello, but it didn't put up much of a fight either. All-in-all, a decent set of ribs, although I'd prefer the rub aggressiveness be dialed down a bit and that I be the one that cuts up the slab.

    Onto the sides. Fries, though they obviously suffered a bit from the drive, were excellent...they reminded me of Wiener's Circle- similar in size and taste, with a little skin on them. Slaw was bad...it appeared to be just some dry cabbage in a bowl...with little to no dressing/oil/mayo/anything. The mac n cheese was also dry. It appeared overcooked, there was no gloppiness or gooeyness- a shame since the cheese itself was tasty.

    So...a bit of a mixed review on the first-day experience. I'm sure I'll return to sample further from the menu, but I don't forsee it supplanting Honey 1 as my preferred BBQ establishment.
    "Ah, lamentably no, my gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety" - Homer J. Simpson
  • Post #36 - December 19th, 2006, 1:14 pm
    Post #36 - December 19th, 2006, 1:14 pm Post #36 - December 19th, 2006, 1:14 pm
    BBQ beans, Mac & cheese, cornbread, peach cobbler. Let this be a call to arms for Honey 1!
  • Post #37 - December 19th, 2006, 1:25 pm
    Post #37 - December 19th, 2006, 1:25 pm Post #37 - December 19th, 2006, 1:25 pm
    JeffB wrote:
    waderoberts wrote:(BTW3: "Southern" Pride's HQ is in Marion, IL!?)


    If you've ever been to Marion, you would not find it odd at all. It's Southern, all right, and also in the middle of a very robust part of the BBQ belt that includes Owensboro, KY, to the Northeast.
    Bill Rice, the old editor of the Chicago Tribune (then called) Food Guide, did an article back in October of 1993 about his journey around southern Illinois' Barbecue Belt.

    I saved the article and, nearly ten years later, Mrs. Roadhouse and I decided to retrace his steps as much as possible coupled with a camping trip in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest (the restuarants in the article, with a few exceptions, create a virtual ring around the forest). We had five days of 'Que at both lunch and dinner with hours of hiking and driving around some of the best scenery our state has to offer filling in the non eating hours.

    We started our trip in Marion with Pulley's BBQ on old Route 13 (quite possibly the least memorable of the trip) and Triple E Bar-B-Que on Route 13 East (the best we had on our trip, and the only spot we visited more than once). By the way these are the full addresses offered both in the article and on the restaurant's carry-out menu.

    Over the course of the next few days, we sampled grease in Murphysboro at the reknowned 17th Street Bar and Grill (three time Grand Champions at Memphis in May; the 'Que was good but not great-certainly not Grand Champion Great), and at Brown's BBQ House (better than 17th Street but not nearly as well known) on the outskirts of town on the way in from Carbondale.

    We went south and followed the trail along the Ohio River, chowing down lunch in an umremembered joint in Metropolis, followed by a late aftenoon snack at Darrell Shemwell's Barbecue in Cairo.

    We worked our way up north to Jonesboro where we dined at the frozen in time Dixie Bar-B-Que. Next up was a trip to Vienna (that' VIE-as-in-"eye"-enna, y'all) for some pulled pork at Southern Bar-B-Que Restaurant.

    We finished up the trip by stopping in Mt. Vernon on our way back to Chicago for a bite at Buddy's B-B-Q (never could find it and folks around town seemed to think it was closed) and King Barbacoa.

    The King had recently died and the store was being run by his Queen and two Princesses. We explained how we came to be in their neck of the woods and they remembered Bill Rice and the interview he had done with their father. We showed them the saved article which included a picture of the King standing proudly, hands on hips in front of his domain. At the sight of their Dad, the girls all laughed that laugh that is amusement, sadness and fond memory all rolled into one. They thanked us for sharing the picture and for taking the time to visit.

    We headed back home via a slight detour through Olney, Illinois to visit the white squirrels (Mrs. Roadhouse is a nature nut and a cute animal freak).

    We managed to visit only about half of the places mentioned in the article; time and our full bellies were limiting factors. If you are of an outdoors, adventuresome nature this is a great trip full of excellent Barbecue you otherwise wouldn't even know existed in our state and some amazing scenery. Oh, did I mention we went in mid October as the leaves were turning? Beautiful stuff!

    Buddy
  • Post #38 - December 19th, 2006, 1:35 pm
    Post #38 - December 19th, 2006, 1:35 pm Post #38 - December 19th, 2006, 1:35 pm
    I don't think anyone mentioned it, i called and checked. They are BYO. We'll be there for dinner tonight!

    Friendly warning, Parking on Pulaski is open, but on Grace, past the alley, it is all permit all the time.

    I hope it's as good as it looks, I see walks there this summer and picnics on the playground!
  • Post #39 - December 19th, 2006, 2:10 pm
    Post #39 - December 19th, 2006, 2:10 pm Post #39 - December 19th, 2006, 2:10 pm
    Thanks kindly, JeffB and BuddyRoadhouse.

    On trips to see my mom back in Houston, I've driven through Marion (and the rest of downstate IL) dozens of times on I-57 and then I-55, usually like a bat-out-of-hell (facilitated by a radar detector), trying to get to the half-way dog-friendly motel outside of Memphis where I snatch up some ribs and stay the night, before hitting the road again, fueled by thoughts, depending upon the route, of AR catfish and East TX bbq or MS delta tamales and Cajun boudin.

    If I've stopped in Marion and other points along the interstate, it was, alas, only to fuel up the car, not me.

    I've eaten my way through TN, KY, MS, AR, AL, LA, GA, VA, NC and SC, but downstate IL along the I-57/I-55 corridor is, sadly, unnotched in my personal road-food belt. I did a search for Marion IL, and didn't turn up much.

    Suggestions to get me off of the Interstate would be thoroughly appreciated; I am making the drive again this coming weekend.

    I am starting a new thread on "Beyond Chicagoland" (The Downstate IL I-57/I-55 Corridor) for tips.

    Cheers,
    Wade

    P.S. Explanation: to a native Texan "educated" in public schools, the border between the North and South is the Mason-Dixon Line, which was why I was always surprised that the Southern Pride smokers HQ was in IL, even if it is southern IL.
    "Remember the Alamo? I do, with the very last swallow."
  • Post #40 - December 19th, 2006, 2:40 pm
    Post #40 - December 19th, 2006, 2:40 pm Post #40 - December 19th, 2006, 2:40 pm
    waderoberts wrote:
    P.S. Explanation: to a native Texan "educated" in public schools, the border between the North and South is the Mason-Dixon Line, which was why I was always surprised that the Southern Pride smokers HQ was in IL, even if it is southern IL.


    Not to debate the issue, :wink:, but if you go by the true Mason-Dixon Line (the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland), purely on longitude it would run almost directly through the center of Illinois. Thus, justifying Southern Pride's location. Although most individuals incorrectly use the term Mason-Dixon line to show distinction between free and slave states during the Civil War era.

    Flip
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #41 - December 19th, 2006, 3:12 pm
    Post #41 - December 19th, 2006, 3:12 pm Post #41 - December 19th, 2006, 3:12 pm
    Buddy, that's great. I can't believe you didn't note your trip sooner. 17th St. and the Little Egypt area in general comes up here from time to time, and I usually say something about it. I spent a lot of time there several years back, ate at 17th Street probably 30-50 times, ate at Pulley's many, many times, and had lunch catered to our "office" from Triple E most days over the course of several months. Pulley's has tremendous pies and white bread sliced pork BBQ that's ok. 17th Street and Triple E are great, and having sampled both a statistically very significant number of times, I'd say you caught 17th on a bad day or stretch. Over many meals, 17th Street is clearly the best, in my humble opinion. I've also enjoyed (fewer) meals at Southern, Brown's, Shemwell's (caterer to a wedding I attended in Cairo-- a place everyone should stop and see), and King Barbacoa, which I figured was a Mexican place at first. Work takes me to Marion and Mt Vernon (esteemed seat of the 5th District Court of Appeals) less often now that tort reform has taken hold Downstate. I miss the BBQ, hills, and Carbondale sometimes. Did you ever make it to any of the great steak-oriented roadhouses, such as Farris (closed, of Johnson City) or Tony's in Marion? Very cool places.

    Crap. Just read in the Wikpedia entry that Tony's and Pulley's are now closed. I think I might starve in Marion proper today.
  • Post #42 - December 19th, 2006, 3:30 pm
    Post #42 - December 19th, 2006, 3:30 pm Post #42 - December 19th, 2006, 3:30 pm
    Wade, for a change of pace, I'd suggest an early stop in Marion or Carbondale (about 20-30 min west of the exit) with dinner at 17th Street in Murphysboro, the next town west. In addition to the awards and reputation, 17th St. is a pleasant place to have a beer. Not true/possible for some of the other spots mentioned. Carbondale is home of SIU, a campus of ugly buildings in a gorgeous natural setting. Decent college town downtown with some fun bars where the young and the older mix well. About 10-20 miles south are some really nice glacial rock formations and cliffs. http://www.verticalheartland.com/ During daylight, it's worth a short drive off of 57 to look. And Cairo, a once-booming ghost town filled with Tiffany and Sullivan downtown and plantation houses on the outskirts is an eerily cool place to pull over, also.
  • Post #43 - December 19th, 2006, 4:20 pm
    Post #43 - December 19th, 2006, 4:20 pm Post #43 - December 19th, 2006, 4:20 pm
    Flip,

    You must note that I took great care to put the word educated in quotation marks, with all the punctuationary suggestions that may be implied and inferred.

    Cheers,
    Wade
    "Remember the Alamo? I do, with the very last swallow."
  • Post #44 - December 19th, 2006, 4:33 pm
    Post #44 - December 19th, 2006, 4:33 pm Post #44 - December 19th, 2006, 4:33 pm
    waderoberts wrote:Flip,

    You must note that I took great care to put the word educated in quotation marks, with all the punctuationary suggestions that may be implied and inferred.

    Cheers,
    Wade


    Wade,

    It's duly noted. Besides I only remember this factoid because of a class project during my edjumication here in IL.

    Flip
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #45 - December 19th, 2006, 5:31 pm
    Post #45 - December 19th, 2006, 5:31 pm Post #45 - December 19th, 2006, 5:31 pm
    waderoberts wrote:Flip,

    You must note that I took great care to put the word educated in quotation marks, with all the punctuationary suggestions that may be implied and inferred.

    Cheers,
    Wade


    Never, ever look askance at 7th grade Texas history class.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #46 - December 19th, 2006, 7:55 pm
    Post #46 - December 19th, 2006, 7:55 pm Post #46 - December 19th, 2006, 7:55 pm
    JeffB wrote:Buddy, that's great. I can't believe you didn't note your trip sooner....Pulley's has tremendous pies and white bread sliced pork BBQ that's ok. 17th Street and Triple E are great, and having sampled both a statistically very significant number of times, I'd say you caught 17th on a bad day or stretch. Over many meals, 17th Street is clearly the best, in my humble opinion. I've also enjoyed (fewer) meals at Southern, Brown's, Shemwell's (caterer to a wedding I attended in Cairo-- a place everyone should stop and see), and King Barbacoa, which I figured was a Mexican place at first.
    I'm not sure when LTH was founded but I think our trip into the Land of Lincoln's nether regions predated its existence by at least a year. I have posted further information over at Roadfood.com where I've been a member quite a bit longer.

    As for your assessments of the places we've both visited, I would probably agree with most of what you've said. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm for 17th Street B&G stems from the fact that when a place hangs its hat on three Grand Championships at Memphis in May, you walk in with certain high expectations. Perhaps higher than reasonable expectations, but high expectations nonetheless. When said place fails to meet those expectations, even if they serve an excellent product, you walk out slightly disappointed. As I recall we tried the pulled pork which was served with the sauce on. It was rather soupy, leaving the bun a soggy, unmanageable mess.

    Shemwell's is, as you say, a place that must be visited. It is a wonderful depression era lunch counter that is unchanged since it's construction. The 'Que was good; made better by our surroundings.

    I write all of this as I sit here eating my first take away from Smoque. I went with the Sliced Brisket Platter (they also have chopped Brisket as an option). I opted for the platter because, for an extra fifty cents, it comes with more meat than the sandwich and two sides versus one. Besides, who needs the bread?

    The brisket is plentiful, moist, tender and delicious. These guys recognize that beef is less forgiving than pork when it comes to smoke absorption. Too much smoke makes beef go bitter. Not a problem with Smoque's brisket.

    The slaw that comes with everything is outstanding: fresh and crisp with a remarkably refreshing sweet/tangy vinegar based dressing that will not result in soggy cabbage no matter how long it sits. Nice touch: slivered red onion color compliments the cabbage beautifully and adds an extra flavor punch as well.

    Mac & cheese is creamy and rich without being too starchy or pasty. Very good flavor.

    The BBQ beans are sweet and tangy with nice chunks of meat throughout.

    I asked for extra sauce not knowing that there was already a generous cup enclosed in the clam shell with the brisket. They asked if I wanted "rib" or "brisket" sauce, insisting that it made a difference. I politely asked if I could try both and they were happy to comply. They even marked the cups so I would be able to tell the difference.

    The bad news is that there is far less difference between the two sauces than these guys think. The good news is that it doesn't matter because both sauces were quite good and will compliment either pork or beef just fine.

    The verdict from this precinct is that as long as Smoque maintains the quality and doesn't cheap out or cut corners they will become a barbecue icon in Chicago.

    Now all we need is another 200 or so places of this caliber scattered around the city and 'burbs and we can officially call Chicago a "Barbecue Town".

    Buddy
  • Post #47 - December 19th, 2006, 8:23 pm
    Post #47 - December 19th, 2006, 8:23 pm Post #47 - December 19th, 2006, 8:23 pm
    The Mrs. and I just got back from Smoque. The place already seems to be getting a lot of business as all the tables were occupied when we left, and there were a few people waiting for takeout orders.

    Mrs. Fujisan went for the pulled pork sandwich, while I tried a 1/2 rack of the St. Louis ribs. The pulled pork sandwich was the clear winner as it contained a generous helping of nicely smoked pulled pork - it probably had twice the pulled pork as Honey-1's version. The ribs were so-so. I thought the rub didn't have much flavor to it, but the vinegar sauce was nice and tangy. The ribs only had a hint of smoke to them, and the meat had almost a mushy texture to it.

    The mac & cheese was nice and creamy, with a hint of mustard. The BBQ beans were also very good. The fries were fresh cut and double fried, making them the best fries I have had at a BBQ joint in Chicago. The peach cobbler was a bit of a disappointment; the topping was soggy and the filling wasn't sweet enough for me.

    Those criticisms aside, I'm glad Smoque has opened up in my neighborhood so I can satisfy my craving for a good pulled pork sandwich. However, I will still trek over to Honey-1 whenever I have an urge for some ribs (and tips and hot links)!
    When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!
  • Post #48 - December 19th, 2006, 8:43 pm
    Post #48 - December 19th, 2006, 8:43 pm Post #48 - December 19th, 2006, 8:43 pm
    Stopped in for takeout last night. Upon arrival, Mrs. Johnny and I were graciously welcomed - even though it was a mere fifteen minutes before closing time on their first day. As a result, they were out of beans and brisket. We managed to score the last of the fries - along with our 1/2 slab of St. Louis ribs.
    The rub had a nice spice to it. I appreciated the ribs were on the lean side, and not dry - which seems to occur if you order later in the evening from Honey 1.
    Sauce was a tangy vinegar mix - quite good, especially when ordered on the side.
    Cole slaw was unremarkable - which is fine since I'm not much of a fan. It seemed more like a small cabbage salad than slaw.
    We'll definitely return to sample more of the menu. As others have mentioned, it's nice to have a promising BBQ joint in the 'hood.
  • Post #49 - December 19th, 2006, 8:46 pm
    Post #49 - December 19th, 2006, 8:46 pm Post #49 - December 19th, 2006, 8:46 pm
    Whoah...two consecutive posts from two Portage Park residents - numbering 155!? (cue 'Twilight Zone' theme now).
  • Post #50 - December 19th, 2006, 10:06 pm
    Post #50 - December 19th, 2006, 10:06 pm Post #50 - December 19th, 2006, 10:06 pm
    I now work semi-close to Smoque (Ravenswood & Irving Park) and decided to take to the mean streets in search for smoked meat satiety. I HATE driving, so my mantra was "this better be worth it...this better be worth it..." I was able to park on the street off of Pulaski next to Smoque, then was pretty shocked to NOT smell those telltale wafts of smoky goodness that bastes proper BBQ joints both inside and out. So after a crap drive and no smokiness apparent, I was ready to be disappointed.

    I got a brisket platter, with a "Bite" or Bit" (or some name) of an extra heaping of pulled pork. No sides, and the grand total was $10.50 or so. Not bad! However, I did have to ask for the sauces to be included; they almost forgot to provide them. Now I am not one to levy a verdict on a joint after only 2 days open, but ultimately, was pleasantly surprised! The smoke started leaking out of the bag soon after I got back in the car, and I couldn't resist opening the goods up and tearing in a bit. All in all, both brisket and pork were a touch dry (I did get there a little after 2 PM, though) but certainly tasty. The smoke ring was definitely apparent, but I'd like to taste a lot more smoke flavor--or maybe it's the matter of the wood (I've had my favorite BBQ smoked with Hickory rather than Mesquite).

    I'd definitely be in to a trip back, especially as recipes and service develop and improve. It's certainly, even at this stage, a welcome addition to our woefully lackluster BBQ scene. And the smoky flavor definitely seemed to intensify after I just dug into the leftovers that had been in the fridge for several hours.

    On another note, I am heading home to New Orleans on Friday, and begin a 5 day orgy of gluttony. One stop is definitely Hillbilly BBQ. Not only have I been jonesing for it for so long, but It will make for an interesting comparison/contrast to Smoque. This Kentuckian maniac who runs Hillbilly actually imports Kentucky Hickory for his smoker and lets his meats smoke for 24 hrs (I seem to recall) and he also has smoked boudin!!

    I think I need to go lie down....
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live. --Mark Twain
  • Post #51 - December 20th, 2006, 7:26 am
    Post #51 - December 20th, 2006, 7:26 am Post #51 - December 20th, 2006, 7:26 am
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:Now all we need is another 200 or so places of this caliber scattered around the city and 'burbs and we can officially call Chicago a "Barbecue Town".


    'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished!

    But anyway, in reading the Smoque manifesto, I noticed this:

    In recent years, however, a number of places have begun to reverse the trend and offer
    some legitimate BBQ, both inside and beyond the city limits. Smoke and meat have
    finally found each other in Chicago, and the city and the world are better for it. Smoque
    joins these establishments in the crusade to forge the Chicago BBQ tradition. In addition
    to bringing a great product to the market, we want to open the eyes of Chicagoans to what
    BBQ can be, celebrate BBQ as the American cuisine in all its variety and splendor, and
    help develop an indigenous BBQ tradition and style that can stand shoulder to shoulder
    with the proud traditions of places like KC, Memphis, NC, Austin and others.


    Lovely rhetoric, but is it possible? Plausible? Seriously, I'm curious if anyone thinks a city like Chicago could develop a distinctive "indigenous" BBQ tradition, and if it did, what might it look like? It seems to me that, coming late to the game, BBQ specialists are likely to be setting out to emulate the lauded indigenous traditions from other places.

    Perhaps we will need to suffer through a "La Maison de la Casa House"<sup>*</sup> phase and then Chicago BBQ will emerge from a cocoon into a thing of its own...?

    There are worse fates than to have a number of high quality "imitators".

    Aren't rib tips considered somewhat distinctive to Chicago?

    <sup>*</sup>cf. Calvin Trillin
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #52 - December 20th, 2006, 7:33 am
    Post #52 - December 20th, 2006, 7:33 am Post #52 - December 20th, 2006, 7:33 am
    I think it's pretty well established that Chicago has an indigenous BBQ tradition. Many, form Jonathan Gold to Kanye West have documented it, as have many here. Not sure why so many still consider a sliver of one side of Chicago to be the universe, but it happens. The same probably happens more in NY and LA, in fact... Tips and links, sweet potato pie, aquarium smoker and plexiglass, that's the Chicago tradition. I'm not saying how it stands up to other traditions, just that it should not be disregarded as a tradition for the sake of marketing.
  • Post #53 - December 20th, 2006, 7:45 am
    Post #53 - December 20th, 2006, 7:45 am Post #53 - December 20th, 2006, 7:45 am
    JeffB wrote:Tips and links, sweet potato pie, aquarium smoker and plexiglass, that's the Chicago tradition.

    Jeff,

    Absolutely!

    Chicago has a wealth of BBQ joints selling tips, links and the occasional 1/2 slab of spare ribs, some good, mostly mediocre, some outright bad. Though the vast majority of them are South of Madison or West of Halsted.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #54 - December 20th, 2006, 8:13 am
    Post #54 - December 20th, 2006, 8:13 am Post #54 - December 20th, 2006, 8:13 am
    JeffB wrote:Tips and links, sweet potato pie, aquarium smoker and plexiglass, that's the Chicago tradition.


    Don't forget the slice of white bread.
  • Post #55 - December 20th, 2006, 8:16 am
    Post #55 - December 20th, 2006, 8:16 am Post #55 - December 20th, 2006, 8:16 am
    We also visited Smoque last night. I thought it was ok, but the ribs were no Honey 1. We shared the Rib combo (1/2 slab each of St.Louis and Baby Backs) and a brisket sandwhich alogn with fries, mac and cheese beans and slaw.

    The brisket sandwhich was the best of these, I really enjoyed the puffy egg bun. The charred ends of the brisket were the best part, the interior meat was a little dry.

    As for the ribs, the ST.Louis are the clear winner. The baby backs were dry and had an odd texture. The St.Louis had a more "normal" meat texture to them and a better flavor. We still weren't blown away. The sauce is tangy and peppery, but almost too much so (and I enjoy a strong vinegar flavor)

    The stand-out though was the mac and cheese. It's served in individual tin cups, baked with a buttery gratin on top. Very nice.

    We'll have to try the pulled pork down the line, I don't see us ordering the ribs here again though.
  • Post #56 - December 20th, 2006, 12:16 pm
    Post #56 - December 20th, 2006, 12:16 pm Post #56 - December 20th, 2006, 12:16 pm
    I think that there is a consensus opinion starting to emerge here. I visited Smoque last night and sampled the combo rib dinner with a side of sliced brisket. A few observations:

    1. Brisket was "spot on" perfect. Great smokiness, 1/2 inch (not too) lean slices had the proper texture both internally and externally---was delicious without the need for additional sauce. This dish was the highlight of the meal.

    2. Baked beans were quite tasty, fries better than most Q joints ( although they suffered some from the ride home )

    Now for the not so good:

    1. St. Louis ribs were grossly overcooked. The phrase "rib jerky" comes to mind.

    2. I will be the first to use the term "meat jello" to describe their baby back ribs. Although there was a distinct smoke ring present, I sensed that possibly another cooking process was used in addition to the smoking. As noted in prior posts, the baby backs were served in two rib segments and they were literally falling off the bone, no chewing required.
    I hope that this was some kind of an anomaly because I truly had the highest hopes for them.

    P.S. A big "shout out" to Buddy Roadhouse who happened to be there at the same time that I was. I guess LTH'ers give off some kind of vibe because he asked me if I was from LTH and I had sensed the same of him.

    I am awaiting detailed reports from more knowledgeable BBQ people than I to see if we're in synch.
  • Post #57 - December 20th, 2006, 12:40 pm
    Post #57 - December 20th, 2006, 12:40 pm Post #57 - December 20th, 2006, 12:40 pm
    cito wrote: Although there was a distinct smoke ring present, I sensed that possibly another cooking process was used in addition to the smoking.
    That may be the Southern Pride "self-basting rotisserie" at work. As the racks rotate, the upper racks drip hot juices on the lower racks. I don't think baby-backs stand up well to the process. On the other hand, it makes nice moist pork shoulders and brisket. Rib tips would probably do much better.
  • Post #58 - December 20th, 2006, 12:47 pm
    Post #58 - December 20th, 2006, 12:47 pm Post #58 - December 20th, 2006, 12:47 pm
    cito wrote:I think that there is a consensus opinion starting to emerge here.
    I agree; that opinion being that these guys, at least so far, are true their ideals and have fired a strong opening shot across the bow of the existing Chicago 'Que community. Imagine what genius awaits as they hit full stride in the weeks and months to come.

    cito wrote:Brisket was "spot on" perfect. Great smokiness, 1/2 inch (not too) lean slices had the proper texture both internally and externally---was delicious without the need for additional sauce. This dish was the highlight of the meal.
    I had the exact same experience. Excellent, fork tender, flavorful brisket, no dry spots on mine. Although in warming up the leftovers for lunch today they struck me as being just a tad too salty. Nothing a slight adjustment to their rub won't fix.

    cito wrote:A big "shout out" to Buddy Roadhouse who happened to be there at the same time that I was. I guess LTH'ers give off some kind of vibe because he asked me if I was from LTH and I had sensed the same of him.
    Shouting right back at you! Glad you had a positive experience at Smoque. Perhaps we'll run into each other again while waiting for a plate fo pulled pork (next visit).

    cito wrote:I am awaiting detailed reports from more knowledgeable BBQ people than I to see if we're in synch.
    Don't get too hung up on whether someone is "more knowledgeable" than you about the specifics and techniques of cooking Barbecue. There may be some who are more familiar with certain terms and what to look for in order to spot "True 'Que", but if you know what tastes good you're more than halfway home. So far Smoque gets the job done. If they keep it up and continue to improve as they get the hang of this crazy restaurant thing, they will be a first class greasehouse for years to come.

    Buddy

    P.S. We're off to Kansas City tomorrow, visiting Mrs. Roadhouse's family and many mutual friends for the Holidays. Last night's Smoque feast was a warm up for what is to come over the next ten days starting with a stop at a mobile Barbecue stand in Springfield. The Dr. of BBQ has his little yellow shack set up in a Kmart parking lot at the corner of Routes 4 & 54 just north of I-72. I've read many good things about his product. I just hope we can eat it successfully in the front seat of a Toyota Corolla.

    Perhaps a full trip report is in order upon our return. Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, A Joyful Kwanzaa and whatever else you got, along with a Happy New Year to all!

    B.
  • Post #59 - December 20th, 2006, 1:21 pm
    Post #59 - December 20th, 2006, 1:21 pm Post #59 - December 20th, 2006, 1:21 pm
    germuska wrote:Lovely rhetoric, but is it possible? Plausible? Seriously, I'm curious if anyone thinks a city like Chicago could develop a distinctive "indigenous" BBQ tradition, and if it did, what might it look like? It seems to me that, coming late to the game, BBQ specialists are likely to be setting out to emulate the lauded indigenous traditions from other places.

    Chicago has a longstanding barbecue tradition. I know when I arrived on the South Side in the mid 1970s, I enjoyed great ribs from those places (yes, with the white bread) where you bought them from folks behind bulletproof glass, carryout only of course, and open 24 hours. Carson's opened in Skokie around that time, with lots of flavor in their meaty ribs (with the sauce baked in, rather than slathered on as an afterthought). They've come and gone from various locations over the years, but I think Carson's still has excellent ribs!

    But your question is really whether Chicago could develop some sort of "Chicago style ribs" that is different from elsewhere. I don't know. I don't even know if our current rib offerings different from elsewhere. I can tell you that ribs in the Northeast, where I grew up, meant spare ribs; I never heard of baby back ribs till I got here. I still get confused by all the so-called "styles" of Memphis ribs, St Louis ribs, North Carolina ribs, etc. I wonder whether they really represent different styles, vs just different recipes for a dish that, as someone noted above, has a lot of different preparations, and different preferences among its devotees.

    It's as though you're asking to predict the future. We all know that the food biz has various trends, as well as restaurants that come along with a new recipe for this or that and create a new dish or a new style. Sure, someone could invent a new style of ribs. Ribs barbecued in mole, maybe? But, for obvious reasons, it's virtually impossible to predict a tradition or a trend until it's already underway.

    In the meantime, it's nice that we can enjoy our terrific local barbecue establishments, each of which has its fans (including Carson's, Honey 1, Hecky's, and others, as well as a hopefully-constant stream of new arrivals such as Smoque). Regardless of whether or not they represent a unique "Chicago style".
  • Post #60 - December 20th, 2006, 2:46 pm
    Post #60 - December 20th, 2006, 2:46 pm Post #60 - December 20th, 2006, 2:46 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:Chicago has a longstanding barbecue tradition.


    It has more than one, it would seem, if you include both Carson's and tips/links joints -- you couldn't talk about a (singular) indigenous Chicago style and include both. Not that you can't eat and enjoy both.

    But your question is really whether Chicago could develop some sort of "Chicago style ribs" that is different from elsewhere. I don't know. I don't even know if our current rib offerings different from elsewhere.


    Right; that's what Smoque is getting at in their manifesto, although whether they really meant it or if they were just on a roll is open to question.

    The question about whether tips are roughly indigenous to Chicago was an honest one. I know I've never seen 'em elsewhere, but I thought that might just be my own lack of experience... I don't think anyone has mentioned how Smoque does with tips or links, so I don't know what that says about their commitment to "indigenous chicago traditional barbecue" (not that I really care all that much; I'm just making conversation...)
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement

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