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  • Opening in December - Smoque BBQ

    Post #1 - December 4th, 2006, 7:16 pm
    Post #1 - December 4th, 2006, 7:16 pm Post #1 - December 4th, 2006, 7:16 pm
    Sometime in mid-December, a new BBQ place is set to open in the Old Irving Park area. The name is Smoque BBQ and the location is on Pulaski, just south of the Kennedy Expy (about 2 blocks south of Irving Park Road).

    I met the owners, at a community meeting, around the beginning of the summer when they made a presentation of their plans to the neighborhood residents. Although my conversation with them was short, what has stayed with me was the feeling they really love BBQ. On the downside...they won't be smoking their ribs (like Honey 1) but will be using what I remember them describing as a gas fueled cooker that takes one log of wood (for some smoke flavor). I think this may be a Southern Pride - but I'll leave it to more savvy people than I to suss out their technique.

    On the other hand, according to their web page, they might also be doing some low n slow cooking, too. Their web menu mentions brisket and pulled pork with 12 to 14 hours of cooking time. This is also mentioned in the "Manifesto" they have posted somewhere on their site.

    Although it would probably be too much to hope for GREAT ribs, I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed that it will be GOOD ribs. I really need a place to get some BBQ when the urge strikes and I don't want to wait for several hours to pass while my Smokey Mountain does its thing. I'm not a big fan of Gale Street Inn and, because my personal choice is baby backs, Honey 1 doesn't see me as often as it might have. Plus, Smoque is less than half a mile from home.

    Smoque BBQ

    Smoque BBQ
    3800 N. Pulaski
    Chicago
    773-545-RIBS

    Ken
  • Post #2 - December 4th, 2006, 8:06 pm
    Post #2 - December 4th, 2006, 8:06 pm Post #2 - December 4th, 2006, 8:06 pm
    I just read the website and am now VERY HUNGRY! Please tell us when it opens and if it is good. That is WAY closer to me than Honey 1 or Sweet Baby Rays.
    The clown is down!
  • Post #3 - December 8th, 2006, 5:51 pm
    Post #3 - December 8th, 2006, 5:51 pm Post #3 - December 8th, 2006, 5:51 pm
    I looked over the website and their downloadable manifesto, and was intrigued. I emailed one of the owners, and he promptly replied, saying his business will be open on December 18.
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live. --Mark Twain
  • Post #4 - December 8th, 2006, 6:25 pm
    Post #4 - December 8th, 2006, 6:25 pm Post #4 - December 8th, 2006, 6:25 pm
    Sal Monilla wrote:I looked over the website and their downloadable manifesto, and was intrigued. I emailed one of the owners, and he promptly replied, saying his business will be open on December 18.


    I read the manefesto, too. They certainly can talk the talk. Opening day is soon. I'll hope for the best until then.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - December 8th, 2006, 8:51 pm
    Post #5 - December 8th, 2006, 8:51 pm Post #5 - December 8th, 2006, 8:51 pm
    We all wish them the best. However, they lose two points for the name alone. Smoque? What is this? Highland Park? Lincoln Park? Rodeo Drive? Yes, yes: Smoke and Que. But really.
  • Post #6 - December 8th, 2006, 9:05 pm
    Post #6 - December 8th, 2006, 9:05 pm Post #6 - December 8th, 2006, 9:05 pm
    I think it's quite imaginative, and more importantly, memorable. YMMV.

    And what's wrong with Highland Park? 8)
  • Post #7 - December 8th, 2006, 9:50 pm
    Post #7 - December 8th, 2006, 9:50 pm Post #7 - December 8th, 2006, 9:50 pm
    stevez wrote:I read the manefesto, too. They certainly can talk the talk.

    Steve,

    I read Smoque's manifesto as well, found myself nodding along in agreement (mostly).

    I'll give them a week or so to settle in then give them a try. High hopes tempered with realistic expectations comes to mind.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - December 9th, 2006, 12:17 am
    Post #8 - December 9th, 2006, 12:17 am Post #8 - December 9th, 2006, 12:17 am
    GAF wrote:We all wish them the best. However, they lose two points for the name alone. Smoque? What is this? Highland Park? Lincoln Park? Rodeo Drive? Yes, yes: Smoke and Que. But really.


    I love the name. And what - it's too smart for Irving Park? :wink:
  • Post #9 - December 9th, 2006, 8:40 am
    Post #9 - December 9th, 2006, 8:40 am Post #9 - December 9th, 2006, 8:40 am
    Louisa Chu wrote:
    GAF wrote:We all wish them the best. However, they lose two points for the name alone. Smoque? What is this? Highland Park? Lincoln Park? Rodeo Drive? Yes, yes: Smoke and Que. But really.


    I love the name. And what - it's too smart for Irving Park? :wink:


    Yes, clever indeed, because clearly the name is Latin for "And Smo." Which is good marketing, if you ask me.

    But how is it really pronounced? Surely not a Vergilian "Smo-kway." Possibly meant to just hear "smoke" or (better) like "smoe-cue?" Regardless of the answer, I really favor the last of these.
    JiLS
  • Post #10 - December 9th, 2006, 9:38 am
    Post #10 - December 9th, 2006, 9:38 am Post #10 - December 9th, 2006, 9:38 am
    And if Robert ever decides to change the name of his establishment to compete, how about Miel Un Wheels?

    :wink:
  • Post #11 - December 9th, 2006, 12:57 pm
    Post #11 - December 9th, 2006, 12:57 pm Post #11 - December 9th, 2006, 12:57 pm
    JimInLoganSquare wrote:But how is it really pronounced? Surely not a Vergilian "Smo-kway." Possibly meant to just hear "smoke" or (better) like "smoe-cue?" Regardless of the answer, I really favor the last of these.


    I'm hoping they're canadians and they pronounce it "smook" while wearing their toques.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #12 - December 9th, 2006, 1:29 pm
    Post #12 - December 9th, 2006, 1:29 pm Post #12 - December 9th, 2006, 1:29 pm
    About three years ago I noticed the empty restaurant with a for sale sign in the window that I assume is to be Smoque's new location. It looked like an ordinary hot dog stand grafted onto the front of a house and I probably never would have noticed the place if it wasn't for the awining over the front window advertising "smoked brisket".

    Obviously this location is no stranger to 'que. Perhaps they should change the name to Deja Que :roll:
  • Post #13 - December 9th, 2006, 1:29 pm
    Post #13 - December 9th, 2006, 1:29 pm Post #13 - December 9th, 2006, 1:29 pm
    I'm a little put off by the whole manifesto thing. BBQ and detailed intellectual analysis don't really mix that well IMO. When I think back over the best barbecue I've had over the years, I can't recall any of it coming from a place likely to have generated such a document. Cautious optimism with realistic expectations sounds right to me.
    Last edited by kuhdo on December 9th, 2006, 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #14 - December 9th, 2006, 1:48 pm
    Post #14 - December 9th, 2006, 1:48 pm Post #14 - December 9th, 2006, 1:48 pm
    kuhdo wrote:I'm a little put noff by the whole manifesto thing. BBQ and detailed intellectual analysis don't really mix that well IMO. When I think back over the best barbecue I've had over the years, I can't recall any of it coming from a place likely to have generated such a document. Cautious optimism with realistic expectations sounds right to me.


    Interesting comment on a board where hundreds of thousands of words have been used to describe, basically, hot dogs.
  • Post #15 - December 9th, 2006, 2:10 pm
    Post #15 - December 9th, 2006, 2:10 pm Post #15 - December 9th, 2006, 2:10 pm
    DMChicago wrote:
    Interesting comment on a board where hundreds of thousands of words have been used to describe, basically, hot dogs.


    And BBQ.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - December 9th, 2006, 3:00 pm
    Post #16 - December 9th, 2006, 3:00 pm Post #16 - December 9th, 2006, 3:00 pm
    I have no problem with detailed discussions regarding the qualities of hot dogs, Italian beef, pizza bbq and any number of other simple culinary pleasures. In fact, I often enjoy participating in such exchanges on this very board myself. What I meant to point out was that the people who make the best versions of such foods are usually not the same as those who generate the analysis. I doubt Johnnie, Chickie or Al would ever write an "Italian Beef Manifesto". Not because they couldn't. Certainly not because they don't understand what goes into making a great beef.... just because they aren't approaching the process from that perspective. It's not primarily a cerebral endeavor for them. The same is true in music. The greatest artists and the best critics/analysts are almost never the same.

    I suppose that exceptions to this principle exist, and I can't think of a compelling reason why things should have to be this way, but in my experience that seems to be how it usually works out. When Herm , Lem ,Poochie, Mack and Robert Adams publish their manifestos I'll eat my words.
    Last edited by kuhdo on December 10th, 2006, 11:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #17 - December 9th, 2006, 3:48 pm
    Post #17 - December 9th, 2006, 3:48 pm Post #17 - December 9th, 2006, 3:48 pm
    kuhdo wrote:I have no problem with detailed discussions regarding the qualities of hot dogs, Italian beef, pizza bbq and any number of other simple culinary pleasures. In fact, I often enjoy participating in such exchanges on this very board myself. What I meant to point out was that the people who make the best versions of such foods are usually not the same as those who generate the analysis. I doubt Johnnie, Chickie or Al would ever write an "Italian Beef Manifesto". Not because they couldn't. Certainly not because they don't understand what goes into making a great beef.... just because they aren't approaching the process from that perspective. It's not primarily a cerebral endeavor for them. The same is true in music. The greatest artists and the best critics/analysts are almost never the same.

    I suppose that exceptions to this principle exist, and I can't think of a compelling reason why things should have to be this way, but in my experience that seems to be how it usually works out. When Herm , Lem and Poochie publish their manifestos I'll eat my words.


    I don't think I can agree. It would be considered somewhat arrogant and counter productive for someone to publish a hot dog or Italian beef manifesto because these foods are in the DNA of all Chicagoans. We all know a good one when we eat one, though opinions differ as to what "good" is in some cases. It's completely different in the case of BBQ. Chicago is not a BBQ town. For decades, meat Jello has been considered by the average Chicagoan to be what BBQ is. Fall-off-the-bone-flavored-with-liquid-smoke ribs were/are the pitiful norm. Even on this board, there are still a few misguided individuals who consider this abomination to be BBQ. Until recently, with the opening of Honey 1 on the North side, there just hasn't been any "real" BBQ to speak of for most Chicagoans*. I think the manifesto is a great way for Smoque to differentiate themselves from Twin Anchors, Gale Street Inn and their ilk. It's a great way for them to educate and reach their target market...even before they are open for business. It's a great marketing move. If they can deliver on what they promise, they'll have a line out the door once they open. Time will tell.

    * Sometimes it's easy to forget that we LTH'ers will travel to any part of the area regardless of "urban ambience" to get a good meal. BBQ, in particular, entices us to parts of the city that many might find "challenging".
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #18 - December 9th, 2006, 7:51 pm
    Post #18 - December 9th, 2006, 7:51 pm Post #18 - December 9th, 2006, 7:51 pm
    For JiLS, the first sentence from the "About" section of the Smoque website:

    Smoque (smōk) BBQ is a neighborhood kind of place that cooks up BBQ good enough to make it a true destination.


    Seems pretty straightforward.

    Personally, I am more excited about the prospect of mesquite-smoked brisket than I am about the manifesto.


  • Post #19 - December 10th, 2006, 2:14 am
    Post #19 - December 10th, 2006, 2:14 am Post #19 - December 10th, 2006, 2:14 am
    JSM wrote:About three years ago I noticed the empty restaurant with a for sale sign in the window that I assume is to be Smoque's new location. It looked like an ordinary hot dog stand grafted onto the front of a house and I probably never would have noticed the place if it wasn't for the awining over the front window advertising "smoked brisket".


    The place you're referring to is just north of the Kennedy Expressway and you're correct, there have been a couple ill-fated attempts to sell food there.

    Smoque, however, is located just south of the Kennedy in what was (of all things) an auto parts store.

    Ken
  • Post #20 - December 13th, 2006, 11:45 pm
    Post #20 - December 13th, 2006, 11:45 pm Post #20 - December 13th, 2006, 11:45 pm
    Opening Monday the 18th according to Time Out Chicago.
  • Post #21 - December 14th, 2006, 6:40 am
    Post #21 - December 14th, 2006, 6:40 am Post #21 - December 14th, 2006, 6:40 am
    stevez wrote:

    "meat Jello has been considered by the average Chicagoan to be what BBQ is"

    if by average Chicagoan you mean white northsider, then perhaps yes.
  • Post #22 - December 14th, 2006, 9:14 am
    Post #22 - December 14th, 2006, 9:14 am Post #22 - December 14th, 2006, 9:14 am
    amscrap wrote:The place you're referring to is just north of the Kennedy Expressway and you're correct, there have been a couple ill-fated attempts to sell food there.


    Ken,
    Thanks for the correction. It looks like anything in that location would be hobbled by the lack of approach and parking.

    JSM
  • Post #23 - December 14th, 2006, 10:39 am
    Post #23 - December 14th, 2006, 10:39 am Post #23 - December 14th, 2006, 10:39 am
    annieb wrote:stevez wrote:

    "meat Jello has been considered by the average Chicagoan to be what BBQ is"

    if by average Chicagoan you mean white northsider, then perhaps yes.


    Well, white Southsiders, too.
  • Post #24 - December 18th, 2006, 8:29 am
    Post #24 - December 18th, 2006, 8:29 am Post #24 - December 18th, 2006, 8:29 am
    Driving by last night on the way to see TMLMTBGB, they were painting over the "Opening Dec 18" on the outside wall with the words "Now Open".
    When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!
  • Post #25 - December 18th, 2006, 4:00 pm
    Post #25 - December 18th, 2006, 4:00 pm Post #25 - December 18th, 2006, 4:00 pm
    OK, what's the verdict?
  • Post #26 - December 18th, 2006, 4:08 pm
    Post #26 - December 18th, 2006, 4:08 pm Post #26 - December 18th, 2006, 4:08 pm
    they were featured in today's daily candy:
    http://www.dailycandy.com/article.jsp?ArticleId=28560&city=5
  • Post #27 - December 18th, 2006, 5:08 pm
    Post #27 - December 18th, 2006, 5:08 pm Post #27 - December 18th, 2006, 5:08 pm
    Since my partner has celiac disease and I used to live in Texas (oh, how I miss a good brisket) I emailed them after I heard about the opening. Many restaurants are unbelievably unhelpful to those with food allergies/intolerances. They were very helpful immediately. The owner has offered to send me list of ingredients so I can determine if there is something we can't have, then he'll tell me what we can have.

    So, in my book, he gets an A+ in customer service. Now, let's see if he follows through. And, if we can eat there.
  • Post #28 - December 18th, 2006, 6:46 pm
    Post #28 - December 18th, 2006, 6:46 pm Post #28 - December 18th, 2006, 6:46 pm
    Even though I'm driving back to TX in a few days for the holiday, I had the BBQ monkey on my back today while running a few errands near home. I arrived around noon, and Smoque seemed to be doing reasonable first-day lunch bidness.

    Dining is casual and self-busing. Parking is good on Pulaski and side streets. The CTA Blue line Irving Park stop and the Kennedy Irving Park/Pulaski exit are a block away to the north. It's easy to miss heading south on Pulaski. The location is on the west side of Pulaski.

    (BTW: It's pronounced "Smoke"; I inquired.)

    Sliced-brisket and pulled-pork sandwiches: smoky, nice smoke-ring, some nice burnt-ends, just enough fat, good dry rub. The sauce was subtle and very good, but the meat did not require it (a very good thing).

    On the next trip, I intend to see if they'll do all burnt-ends.

    . . . if they only had some hot links . . . .

    . . . and both types of NC pork sauces (vinegar- and mustard-based (but, then, I always have my own bottles at home) . . . .

    (BTW2: Unlike in NC, the pulled-pork sandwich DOES NOT automatically come with cole slaw as a condiment; on my next visit, I'll order a side.)

    I didn't see which model they use, but they had a Southern Pride smoker in sight. These can range from pretty damned authentic (log burning) to heretical (chips), but, unlike in TX and NC, I don't expect to see a Chicago bbq joint stoking outdoor pits (in the city and in the winter).

    (BTW3: "Southern" Pride's HQ is in Marion, IL!?)

    I won't stop taking those trips back to TX, NC, Kansas City, and Memphis, but it's surely nice to find some fine brisket in Chicago (the first I've discovered since the late and personally lamented (hmm, and, perhaps, awkwardly named) Old Plantation Smokehouse on Armitage. After long days at work, and during the 3-4 months a year in which I'm too much of a wuss to fire up my huge barrel-smoker for briskets and pork shoulders, I am comforted to know that Smoque is near.

    With Honey 1, and those divine ribs, tips, hot links, and pulled pork, the NW side is becoming an interesting BBQ belt.

    Image

    Brisket

    Image

    Pork

    Image

    Cheers,
    Wade

    Smoque BBQ
    3800 N. Pulaski
    Chicago
    773-545-RIBS
    http://www.smoquebbq.com/
    (Forgive me: I was in a rush to get back to my car and moist towelettes, and totally forgot to ask about days and hours)
    "Remember the Alamo? I do, with the very last swallow."
  • Post #29 - December 18th, 2006, 8:54 pm
    Post #29 - December 18th, 2006, 8:54 pm Post #29 - December 18th, 2006, 8:54 pm
    waderoberts wrote:Forgive me: I was in a rush to get back to my car and moist towelettes, and totally forgot to ask about days and hours


    I stopped by today, to check the place out, but was late for an appointment and didn't have to time to order any food. Which is maybe for the best because I prefer to give a new place a week or so in order to let them get used to being open before I get all critical on them.

    However, I did pick up a menu and asked about their hours:

    Sun-Thurs 11AM-9PM

    Fri & Sat 11AM-10PM

    Wade's right about the Southern Pride. However, I wouldn't know one model from the other even if I was reading the nameplate on the side! But one of the owners mentioned that it didn't use wood chips (in fact, I think I saw him sneer when the word "chips" passed his lips).

    One minor thing about the menu impressed me...the ability to try various items without have to order a complete meal of each thing. For example, a half slab of both the Backs and the St. Louis cuts can be had for the same price as a full slab of ribs instead of double the half-slab price. They also have what they call "Add a Taste." this lets you add a portion of the pulled pork (or brisket) for $3 or a 1/4 slab of St. Louis ribs for $4.

    Can hardly wait to try them out...maybe I won't be able to wait a week after all.

    Ken
  • Post #30 - December 19th, 2006, 8:44 am
    Post #30 - December 19th, 2006, 8:44 am Post #30 - December 19th, 2006, 8:44 am
    Can someone post a scanned copy of the menu with prices? On the restaurants website they just have a list of menu items without any price points.

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