I hadn't planned on eating barbecue in Indianapolis but things just worked out that way. Last visit I took a different route to Workingman's Friend and found myself at the corner of Michigan & Belmont, almost in front of Judge's BBQ. It didn't look terribly promising, a fine old brick storefront but too nice and new.
Then I got a whiff of smoke. I couldn't tell where it was coming from, as there was no chimney I could see. Walking around to the back I saw a converted shipping container filled with large kettle grills smoking away (I later learned Judge Smith uses a mix of hickory and charcoal).
Deciding this required further investigation, I went inside the restaurant. Shiny and new but pleasant and, most importantly, the food on people's plates looked pretty good.
Then I noticed brisket and corn casserole—two of my favorites—on the menu and that clinched it. I ordered a small brisket sandwich, a sampler of tips, and corn casserole.
The brisket was pretty good, very tender with good smoke flavor (and distinct smoke ring). I thought the tips were less successful but certainly edible. These had probably been cooked more quickly as they had a fair amount of unrendered fat and not as much smoke. The casserole was very good and got me to wishing it was more common in Chicago. I wouldn't say this was world-class barbecue but it was a respectable effort. I'd happily return to try more of the menu (the chicken looked especially good).
2104 W Michigan St