I stopped at both Lem's and Barbara Ann's on Staurday after the Chicago Cares serv-a-thon to do a little head to head testing. It was around 5 in the afternnon, so there should have been no problem with last night product being on the grill of either.
At Lem's I ordered a tip hot and a slab hot. The tips were overcooked and somewhat dry. The slabs were perfectly charred and juicy.
At Barbara Ann's the tips were moist and tender. The links were simply incredible.
Barbara Ann's tips won out head to head with Lem's. Lem's slabs would have been hard to beat anywhere. Barbara Ann's links are just marvelous. I don't know of anything in town that can touch them.
So when exactly did you go to BA's on Saturday, again? You were there
"around five" - but did you do Lem's, or BA's first? The reason I ask - in
this small thread of 8 replies, we seem to have had you there at around
5-ish, another respondent at about 7-ish, and me right in the middle,
a bit before 6-ish (probably 5:30-5:45 I think). Not half bad, really
Anyway. Usually I go with the tip/link combo - but the last time I was there,
about 3 weeks ago, the links were amazing as usual but the tips were a
little disappointing. And, really, they werent *all* disappointing - about half
the order of tips was fine, the last bit was very poor. I thought they had
deteriorated a bit - but am perfectly willing to believe it was just one bad
This time I did just links. And, as usual, they were terrific - I agree with
you, there is nothing in town that is even close IMHO. Ive liked their
tips more than Lem's in the past too (except for the last time as I
said) - but their links have consistently IMHO been far far ahead of
While on the subject - a week ago was in the area on a Sunday, when
BA's is closed (as are Top Notch and other fine establishments). Thus,
taking into consideration the "Hungry Hound" (Steve Dolinksky)'s
rec, I made a trip down to "The Rib Joint" on 87th (HH claimed Rib Joint
and Honey One do the best bbq in the city). Probably erred in my
choice - should have gone with the slab, but instead did the tip/link
combo that I do at BA's. Rib Joint is much cheaper than anywhere
else - their tip/link combo is only about 6 bucks (cheaper than even
the smallest serving of such at BA's, which IIRC is nearer 10 bucks),
but correspondingly their serving size is much smaller than BA's. However
it is also the only size that Rib Joint serves of that combo. (Their whole
slab, BTW, is listed in their menu at 13.69 as I peruse it at the moment;
their "baby back full slab" is listed at 14.29. They also have some pretty
impressively priced "lunch specials" between 12 and 2 - there is a
wing/tip combo, which is 1 wing, a 1/2 lb of tips, fries and bread for
At Rib Joint, the tips were quite good - sort of fatty, but pretty good
overall, really (not as good IMHO as BA's at their best, but better than
my last attempt of tips at BA). However (and maybe this was again a
bad batch), the link at Rib Joint was not good at all, it was actually
very ordinary to poor. Even if it was a bad batch and thus the
texture etc didnt come out right - at least the taste should still be some
indication. But the taste wasnt even in the same ballpark as BA's, which
remains the gold standard for links. Wasnt overly enamoured of the
Rib Joint mild sauce either. Next time I make a trip there (if there is
a next time - its further away, so on Saturday's BA's will always be my
first choice; on Sundays it might be between Lem's and Rib Joint)...
anyway, next trip, if there is one, will certainly be the slab or half-slab
rather than tips (and certainly not links). There must be *some* reason
for Hungry Hound to rank it as highly as he did - he rated it ahead of the
"better known Lem's and Leon's" as he said (he didnt mention BA's, BTW).