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Big Ed's BBQ - North Chicago

Big Ed's BBQ - North Chicago
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  • Post #61 - September 6th, 2009, 11:39 am
    Post #61 - September 6th, 2009, 11:39 am Post #61 - September 6th, 2009, 11:39 am
    Having been gone for the last few weeks in Providence RI, I had a taste for some real BBQ. So I made the quick 18 minute drive from my house to Big Ed's yesterday at about 4 PM.

    I guess I must have arrived on the tag end of stevez's visit, (I thought I recognized an LTH face from behind the counter while I was catching up with Ed, but I wasn't really sure) Anyway, Big Ed mentioned that Ronnie had been also been in and that they'd a nice visit too, sounds like it was LTH day at Big Ed's.

    Anyway, I'm thinking stevez and I both ate from the same batch of ribs, tips & links and even the same pound cake...

    However my account of the food was slightly different than stevez's. Such as it always is when BBQ folks eat BBQ. I guess when you adjust for pallets, style preferences and the variances of cooking on various smokers, we all know that turning out precisely the same BBQ product is near impossible, unless your making it in a factory right? Right!

    My account of the tips is that they were perfect. I thought they had a nice spice balance with good smoke, and had the proper moisture all the way around. As I ate, my gentle squeezes of the meat yielded just the right amount of juices. I personally dislike sauce smothered, greasy or fatty tips, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy them at Ed's with the sauce on the side.

    My rack of ribs of course were clean in back and had an amazing smokey bark, (not bitter or burnt) and were tender and moist to the shine. Also, the membrane is NEVER EVER left on. And if it was for BR, it was a an honest kitchen prepping mistake and very possibly one of the firsts of that kind at that.

    The homemade hot links were some of the best I've ever had from Ed, and I concur with Ronnie who summed it up perfectly.

    While I did not get the brisket on this go around, I did a few weeks ago, and I was very impressed with the new level of tenderness he is achieving. I still think that no matter what, his cooking brisket on an Aquarium will always be a huge challenge. I just dont think it's the right tool for the job. The mere fact that its even as good as it is, is a testimony to Big Ed's skill on that smoker, I doubt any of the other Aquarium masters could do any better and maybe thats why most of them dont bother.

    The pound cake was as delicious as ever, and while the recipe and genre of cake is after all just plain old pound cake and meant to be simple, they somehow make seem like so much more.
  • Post #62 - September 6th, 2009, 11:40 am
    Post #62 - September 6th, 2009, 11:40 am Post #62 - September 6th, 2009, 11:40 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Head's Red BBQ wrote:ronnie-i think he adds smoked turkey to the collards (which are great BTW) ..not the beans

    Thanks, Bill, for the clarification.

    =R=


    You guys got it; Ground beef in the beans, turkey in the greens.
  • Post #63 - September 6th, 2009, 1:52 pm
    Post #63 - September 6th, 2009, 1:52 pm Post #63 - September 6th, 2009, 1:52 pm
    abf005 wrote:My account of the tips is that they were perfect. I thought they had a nice spice balance with good smoke, and had the proper moisture all the way around. As I ate, my gentle squeezes of the meat yielded just the right amount of juices.


    Well, perfection is in the eye of the beholder. The tips weren't bad by any means. I suppose if I had to do a completely critical analysis I'd agree with you that they had a nice spice balance (like I said, I really liked the rub) and they had good, if slightly creosoted, smoke taste. My guess would be that they were cooked at a slightly higher than optimal temperature, causing them to dry out a bit more than they should and accounting for the creosote note. That's a fire control issue that, I'm sure, Big Ed is going to eventually work out.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #64 - September 6th, 2009, 4:21 pm
    Post #64 - September 6th, 2009, 4:21 pm Post #64 - September 6th, 2009, 4:21 pm
    abf005 wrote:Also, the membrane is NEVER EVER left on. And if it was for BR, it was a an honest kitchen prepping mistake and very possibly one of the firsts of that kind at that.

    I've been to some bbq places that leave it on and some that score it. I'm always a fan of removing it and I always remove it when smoking. But it was definitely left on my half slab Wednesday afternoon. And I'm glad to know that they typically remove it.

    abf005 wrote:The pound cake was as delicious as ever, and while the recipe and genre of cake is after all just plain old pound cake and meant to be simple, they somehow make seem like so much more.

    Everyone here has touted the pound cake and perhaps that was my problem - high expectations. I feel bad here because it was really well prepared and tasty. But to me, it was a vanilla pound cake which while tasty and pleasant, is nothing exciting.

    As for the bbq, maybe it's usually better than it was on my visit (and mind you it was by no means bad - I wish Fat Willy's was this bad on its best day). I will find out again I'm sure. And hey, I've touted Honey 1 to friends only to take them there and have an off day . . . it happens and the timing of your visit is everything.
  • Post #65 - September 9th, 2009, 7:04 am
    Post #65 - September 9th, 2009, 7:04 am Post #65 - September 9th, 2009, 7:04 am
    Trip #2 to Big Ed's yesterday. To go, I ordered the large rib tip dinner & a brisket dinner, sauce on the side. Extra 8 oz. beans & slaw, which are my two favorite sides. Rib tips were fantastic--meaty, 'gnawable'--best I've ever had. I think they're better than the ribs (yes, I know they're from the same animal!) Brisket was very tender, not a ton of smoke taste. That was just OK, IMO. Oh...and the corn muffin was sinful once again.

    Saw a newly-hung Hungry Hound plaque by the door, and Ed & his family were all in good spirits. Nice, nice people. I think catering will be next on the agenda.
  • Post #66 - September 11th, 2009, 9:20 am
    Post #66 - September 11th, 2009, 9:20 am Post #66 - September 11th, 2009, 9:20 am
    Went to Big Ed’s last night around 6:30 with my fiancé. When we arrived, they did let us know right off the bat that they were out of rib tips and slabs. Which was sad because I was going to go for the Big Ed Platter and the lady, a slab dinner with both of us having the greens and fries with it. We opted for the brisket dinner for myself and the pulled pork for the future Mrs. Inn with a chocolate bumpy cake for her and a pound cake for me.

    When I received the container with my meal, at first I was horrified. It looked like the meat was swimming in sauce. One thing I can’t stand is BBQ’ed meat hidden by sauce which is common in the northwestern burbs. Et Tu Ed?? But I was wrong. It was a good splash of sauce on top of the meat. Slightly sweet with a faint hint of vinegar. Loved it. Definitely tell it was made from scratch.

    The greens were good. It was my first time trying greens ever and my fiancés first time in 15 year, being that her family is from New Orleans. Slightly salty with faint tastes of turkey. I would definitely have these again if the mood hits me.

    Both the pulled pork and brisket were moist and plentiful. Nice smokiness on the pork. Brisket was shredded and meaty.

    The cakes were great. I’m normally hesitant about getting cakes because I hate a dry cake that normally comes out from a restaurant. But both the chocolate and pound were moist and full of flavor. The pound cake is probably the best I have ever had…period.

    I had such a great meal, I bought a large turkey hoagie, a side of mac and cheese, a side of beans, and as I phrased it to the girl behind the counter, “another slice of that perfect pound cake” to go. That review of all of that is for another time.

    Both of us were able to talk to Ed himself about the business and how he started the place. Nice man to talk to and a great staff to back him up. While I was waiting for my to go order, Ed brought out some peach cobbler for me to try. Nice flaky pieces of dough with a flavorful peach filling. Thanks Ed…its going to make it hard for me to decide which dessert I have to pick the next time I’m there. :lol:

    Funniest part was when one of his regulars came in to buy some sauce for a pork shoulder that he was going to cook in a crockpot. There was a collective gasp from everyone in the restaurant. “Pulled pork in a crockpot”, we all thought, “How sacrilegious!!” :shock:
    Dirty Duck Inn - feeding the villagers of the Bristol Ren Faire since 1574
    If making Chilaquiles with fried chicken skins is wrong, then I dont want to be right!!
  • Post #67 - September 14th, 2009, 7:02 am
    Post #67 - September 14th, 2009, 7:02 am Post #67 - September 14th, 2009, 7:02 am
    DirtyDuckInn wrote:When I received the container with my meal, at first I was horrified. It looked like the meat was swimming in sauce. One thing I can’t stand is BBQ’ed meat hidden by sauce which is common in the northwestern burbs.

    Not just in the suburbs. Like it or not, "swimming in sauce" is the ubiquitous, traditional Chicago style and everywhere from aquarium smoker joints like Honey 1 and Uncle John's to fall-off-the-boners such as Gale Street Inn and Twin Anchors will serve your meat that way unless you specifically request the sauce on the side.

    The only places I know of that don't automatically drown your meat in sauce are non-Chicago-style spots like Smoqueand Bar-B-Que Bob's.
  • Post #68 - September 14th, 2009, 8:28 am
    Post #68 - September 14th, 2009, 8:28 am Post #68 - September 14th, 2009, 8:28 am
    LAZ wrote:fall-off-the-boners

    I really hope that doesn't catch on. :shock:
  • Post #69 - October 8th, 2009, 11:00 am
    Post #69 - October 8th, 2009, 11:00 am Post #69 - October 8th, 2009, 11:00 am
    DirtyDuckInn wrote:I had such a great meal, I bought a large turkey hoagie, a side of mac and cheese, a side of beans, and as I phrased it to the girl behind the counter, “another slice of that perfect pound cake” to go. That review of all of that is for another time.


    I just realized that I forgot to follow through on that until I went to Ed's the other day to try the ribs and the links. So hear goes...

    Hoagie: Nice mixture of meats, sliced onion, spices, oil/vinegar mix (?) and pepperocini. Now..the only time I even eat pepperocini was with the chili cheese beefs I use to eat at Zel's in NW indiana when I use to live there. Or with Papa Johns Pizza. But with a hoagie INSIDE the sandwich, I only have one word...nice :)

    Mac and cheese: Creamy with really good cheese notes. Loved it.

    Baked Beans: Now normally, Im one to hem and haw about (what I think is) strange things or flavors in baked bean. But the ground meat was a nice touch to it. Not overly sweet like alot of places.

    Ribs: The future Mrs. Inn was able to buy the last slab he had. I bit into it and I have to honestly say that it brought back the time last year when me and the future misses ate at The BBQ Shop in Memphis. Meaty with a nice dry rub on it.

    Links: OMFG...ed, did you make these? I dont know when I had links this good. Well smoked with a nice spicy bite at the end. The mouthfeel was like nothing I ever experienced. I can imagine eating these with some of my homebrew.

    I do apologize about gushing with praise like this but outside of Ed's, Smoque and, to a lesser extent, Uncle Bub's, I just havent found any decent BBQ in the area.
    Dirty Duck Inn - feeding the villagers of the Bristol Ren Faire since 1574
    If making Chilaquiles with fried chicken skins is wrong, then I dont want to be right!!
  • Post #70 - November 17th, 2009, 11:23 pm
    Post #70 - November 17th, 2009, 11:23 pm Post #70 - November 17th, 2009, 11:23 pm
    Hi,

    Mom and I had dinner at Ed's this evening. The sign on the door advises they will be Closed Thanksgiving weekend, re-opening on Monday.

    The road construction is in overdrive trying to beat the weather. Some of the most uneven temporary surfaces I have driven on a very long time. As long as I don't get a flat tire, it's fun for me!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #71 - November 18th, 2009, 12:55 am
    Post #71 - November 18th, 2009, 12:55 am Post #71 - November 18th, 2009, 12:55 am
    How do the straight-up ribs compare to Honey 1 and Smoque?
    "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity."
  • Post #72 - November 18th, 2009, 9:53 am
    Post #72 - November 18th, 2009, 9:53 am Post #72 - November 18th, 2009, 9:53 am
    I finally made it to Ed's this past Monday and really enjoyed it. As cathy2 stated above the roads to it are a wreck right now but I had to go to Kenosha and remembered it was on MLK and I made the turn when I hit it. I had the tips/link combo, chicken wings and a burger between me and my buddy. Everything was excellent and that mac & cheese is some of the best I have had. The highlight was the perfect texture and crust of the tips, one of the best batches I've had in a longtime.

    What a great little spot. Got to chat with Ed for a bit and he made sure we were good to go. I love the all in the family type joints and Big Ed's is one of the best at it, not only is the food great but the service is as good as it gets. His daughter working, Dia was her name, was as nice as could be and made sure everything was going well on more than one occasion. Great food, better people. Ill be back for sure and I live in LP so its certainly got my attention.
  • Post #73 - November 18th, 2009, 4:22 pm
    Post #73 - November 18th, 2009, 4:22 pm Post #73 - November 18th, 2009, 4:22 pm
    Just made our second trip up to Big Ed's last Friday night. The wife ordered a large tips, daughter and I both got tip/wings combo. Sides for us all included greens, baked beans, mac n' cheese, slaw and corn bread. The tips (ordered dry) were as great as they were the first time. Very lean and flavorful with a nice crust on the outside. The wings were excellent - lightly battered and spiced in a way that enhanced the flavor of the chicken instead of overpowering it. The corn bread came wrapped in saran wrap and was moist and with a nice buttery flavor. No need to put any butter on it. Everyone enjoyed their sides. I'm not a big fan of greens because they are often too bitter for my taste, but Ed's were really good with no bitterness. We took home a piece of pound cake and the bumpy chocolate cake to share. Both are good, but the pound cake was voted the winner.

    While not there Friday, Ed was there on our first visit and coiuldn''t have been nicer. Not only did he spend some time visiting, but gave us tastes of his brisket and peach cobbler. And, the staff was great both times as well.

    The highlight of the evening was that everything was totally consistent from our first visit. While we live in the n'west burbs, we go into the city often and have been big fans of Honey One for ribs and Smoque for brisket. Big Ed's is definitely giving Honey One a run for the money, but we think Smoque has an edge on the brisket.
  • Post #74 - July 22nd, 2010, 2:27 pm
    Post #74 - July 22nd, 2010, 2:27 pm Post #74 - July 22nd, 2010, 2:27 pm
    I am finally getting around to putting my two cents in on Big Ed's. We paid our second visit last Sunday afternoon, bringing along three other couples who were ready to eat some great BBQ. Between us we pretty much covered the menu; 2 Pulled Porks, Brisket, Hot Links, 2 tips and links, and one lucky eater was treated to some baby backs, which Ed usually only has on Saturday. Add in the corn muffins all around plus beans and mac and cheese; well I can only say it was soooo worth the trip. Just as he was on my frst visit about six months ago, Ed was the most gracious host, spending much time talking with us. I waited quite a while from the time I first read about Ed's here on LTH until my first visit, then six months before my second; but it will definately not be that long before the third time and I again make the road trip up there.
    I just want to eat what I want and be left alone.
  • Post #75 - September 3rd, 2010, 11:51 pm
    Post #75 - September 3rd, 2010, 11:51 pm Post #75 - September 3rd, 2010, 11:51 pm
    Ed's just keeps getting better. Some friends brought lunch from Big Ed's over to my house on Friday and everything was exceptional. BBQ meat-wise, spare ribs, rib tips, brisket, pulled pork and house-made hot links were all as good as I've ever had from Ed's. Tender, fatty, juicy and barky with a perfect amount of smoke that was noticeable but didn't overwhelm, the brisket has gone from a work in progress to a destination meat. Hot links were coarsely ground but loosely packed and full of herbacious flavor. The only downside, and it is a relatively minor one, is that we forgot to order our meats with sauce on the side. They were fairly heavily sauced but since I like Ed's house-made sauce a lot, it wasn't that big a deal. Still, it's something I'll try to keep in mind on future visits. An order of fried chicken wings was also excellent, with a really flavorful crust and delectably moist meat.

    Sides were also terrific, including the crispy-edged cornbread muffins, which were exceptional. I love the beans which include smoked and ground turkey meat. Greens were as good as ever and the creamy mac and cheese, with it's noticeable hit of aromatic garlic, really hit the spot.

    It had been a few months since I'd been to Ed's and with all the new BBQ places opening up, it was somewhat off my radar. But when my friend suggested bringing it over, I thought it was a great idea. Turns out it was...and then some. As much as I've always been a fan of Big Ed's, this experience makes me think that it's ascended to the next level.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #76 - September 8th, 2010, 4:42 am
    Post #76 - September 8th, 2010, 4:42 am Post #76 - September 8th, 2010, 4:42 am
    couldnt agree more Ronnie...Ed is also doign some good things with babybacks now..
    Im more of a spare rib fan but happened to be at Ed's on one of the three days he has babybacks on the menu..good stuff!
    First Place BBQ Sauce - 2010 NBBQA ( Natl BBQ Assoc) Awards of Excellence
  • Post #77 - September 8th, 2010, 5:26 am
    Post #77 - September 8th, 2010, 5:26 am Post #77 - September 8th, 2010, 5:26 am
    I recently visited Big Ed's as well. I've got to say, although I wasn't much of a Big Ed's fan when he first opened up, Ed has really hit his stride and has converted me to a real fan. The baby backs are available on weekends only and I was lucky enough to stumble in on a Saturday. I was blown away by the ribs. I usually don't order ribs in restaurants because they normally fall short of what I cook at home (I stick with tips in most cases), but on the particular day I was there those baby backs were fresh from the smoker and every bit as good as what I turn out. Kudos to Big Ed!

    Big Ed's BBQ Baby Back Ribs
    Image

    Detailed View of Baby Back Rib
    Image

    Big Ed's Greens
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #78 - September 8th, 2010, 10:26 am
    Post #78 - September 8th, 2010, 10:26 am Post #78 - September 8th, 2010, 10:26 am
    stevez wrote:but on the particular day I was there those baby backs were fresh from the smoker and every bit as good as what I turn out.
    Having had the pleasure of your ribs on many an occasion that is high praise indeed. Seems time for another Big Ed's visit.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #79 - September 8th, 2010, 10:50 am
    Post #79 - September 8th, 2010, 10:50 am Post #79 - September 8th, 2010, 10:50 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    stevez wrote:but on the particular day I was there those baby backs were fresh from the smoker and every bit as good as what I turn out.
    Having had the pleasure of your ribs on many an occasion that is high praise indeed. Seems time for another Big Ed's visit.


    Big Ed's & Capt. Porky's (new location) is a great one two punch.

    Captain Porky's Fried Shrimp
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #80 - September 8th, 2010, 2:58 pm
    Post #80 - September 8th, 2010, 2:58 pm Post #80 - September 8th, 2010, 2:58 pm
    It was nice to see Big Ed's reappear on the board after a little down time.

    Since my last posting the wife and I have made Big Ed's our "go to" place for BBQ. We continue to be impressed by the high quality and consistency of his food as well as the friendliness and service orientation of his staff. After coming in once and finding them out of spares, we now call in advance for our order and they are happy to oblige.

    I hope to see this place stay around for a long time to come. One of the places I really liked a lot...Ribman in Evanston, just disappeared one day.

    Anyone remember Ribman? It was kind of right around the corner from Hecky's.
    "Call any vegetable...and the chances are good the vegetable will respond to you."
    --Frank Zappa
  • Post #81 - September 29th, 2010, 7:25 am
    Post #81 - September 29th, 2010, 7:25 am Post #81 - September 29th, 2010, 7:25 am
    LTH,

    Shift in our plans allowed my wife and I to meet up with the LTH North Lunch Group at Big Ed's, and a good lunch it was. Enjoyed meeting new LTHers StratCat and Gjdad and catching up with the others. Thanks especially to WillG for bringing a Gigantic hen of the woods mushroom to share and Cathy for her Mississippi Souse.

    Ellen with Hen of the Woods

    Image

    Three or four months since my last Big Ed's visit Ed is starting to dial in his BBQ, smokey moist pulled pork with bits of Mr. Brown. Meaty spare ribs and brisket with noticeable smoke ring and medium smoke flavor hit the BBQ 7-ring in flavor, 5-ring texture/chew/tenderness wise.

    Spare Ribs

    Image

    Brisket

    Image

    If I lived in the area tips and hot links, a Chicagoland staple, would be my Big Ed's go-to, that and the catfish. Aggressively flavored crust, perfectly fried, love to see the catfish offered as a po' boy.

    Combo Basket of Brisket, Tips, Pulled Pork

    Image

    Fried Catfish

    Image

    Big Ed and bride Kim charming as ever and there was a steady stream of customers throughout lunch. Big Ed's BBQ seems to be doing well, deservedly so.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #82 - September 29th, 2010, 8:17 am
    Post #82 - September 29th, 2010, 8:17 am Post #82 - September 29th, 2010, 8:17 am
    Glad you had a great lunch without me. Sigh.
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #83 - September 29th, 2010, 8:48 am
    Post #83 - September 29th, 2010, 8:48 am Post #83 - September 29th, 2010, 8:48 am
    I agree about the catfish. In my experience tasty fried catfish is an uncommon find. This fish was served hot with a crispy flavorful cornmeal crust. I think with a rémoulade sauce it wiuld indeed be a great poor boy.

    "The Louisiana version of remoulade, like the local variants of roux and bordelaise sauce, is quite different from the French original. Invariably, it is red (bright red to ruddy-orange) and is usually very piquant. Louisiana-style remoulades fall generally into one of three categories—those with a mayonnaise base, those with a ketchup base, and those with an oil base. All three versions have an abundance of finely chopped vegetables, usually green onions and celery, and parsley; most are made with Creole mustard. Salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper are also standard ingredients. In the oil- and mayonnaise-based versions, the reddish hue comes from the addition of paprika. Other popular additions include lemon juice, minced garlic, vinegar, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remoulade
  • Post #84 - September 29th, 2010, 9:01 am
    Post #84 - September 29th, 2010, 9:01 am Post #84 - September 29th, 2010, 9:01 am
    Hi,

    The catfish and greens were stellar yesterday. Paired up with corn muffins, I would call it a complete meal.

    The ribs, both loin and baby backs, were not top notch. I have been there when the brisket was terrific, yesterday was not as good.

    Bad hair days happen. Not so great BBQ, though the catfish and greens were fabulous. I know they can do better on the BBQ front. Unfortunately it wasn't showing (for me at least) yesterday.

    Did the Mississippi Souse picture look halfway decent?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #85 - September 29th, 2010, 11:19 am
    Post #85 - September 29th, 2010, 11:19 am Post #85 - September 29th, 2010, 11:19 am
    I have to echo Cathy2's comments. The BBQ at Big Ed's fell far short of the stellar baby backs I posted about up thread. To be sure, Ed's BBQ has improved quite a bit from the early days, but it still seems to be quite variable. If I had eaten yesterday's meal back in early September, I would have never gone back for the LTH lunch. The catfish was pretty good, though. The only thing is, Captain Porky's is now located not very far up the street and that would easily be my choice for any type of fried seafood.

    On the bright side, Big Ed's desserts remain stellar. I took home several pieces of pound cake which made for a great dessert for last night's dinner.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #86 - September 29th, 2010, 1:49 pm
    Post #86 - September 29th, 2010, 1:49 pm Post #86 - September 29th, 2010, 1:49 pm
    stevez wrote:The BBQ at Big Ed's fell far short of the stellar baby backs I posted about up thread. To be sure, Ed's BBQ has improved quite a bit from the early days, but it still seems to be quite variable. If I had eaten yesterday's meal back in early September, I would have never gone back for the LTH lunch.

    I think this is pretty much true of any BBQ place and reading the applicable threads around here really bears it out. Commerical BBQ is, by its nature, hit or miss. I've found this to be the case at all of my favorite places. One can do the same thing everytime and get different outcomes everytime. Even at Honey 1, I've had BBQ that wouldn't have necessarily incented me to come back. Luckily, I know better. :wink:

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #87 - September 29th, 2010, 6:06 pm
    Post #87 - September 29th, 2010, 6:06 pm Post #87 - September 29th, 2010, 6:06 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    stevez wrote:The BBQ at Big Ed's fell far short of the stellar baby backs I posted about up thread. To be sure, Ed's BBQ has improved quite a bit from the early days, but it still seems to be quite variable. If I had eaten yesterday's meal back in early September, I would have never gone back for the LTH lunch.

    I think this is pretty much true of any BBQ place and reading the applicable threads around here really bears it out. Commerical BBQ is, by its nature, hit or miss. I've found this to be the case at all of my favorite places. One can do the same thing everytime and get different outcomes everytime. Even at Honey 1, I've had BBQ that wouldn't have necessarily incented me to come back. Luckily, I know better. :wink:

    =R=


    That is a very good point. I guess I'm extra picky because it's easy for me to throw a batch of ribs on the smoker pretty much any time I want. If I didn't have that luxury, I'd be much more forgiving of commercial BBQ. Just to be sure people don't get the wrong idea, I'm not saying Big Ed's is bad by any means. Ed's technique is evolving (for the better) all the time and if it wasn't nearly an hour's drive from my house, I could see more frequent visits.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #88 - September 29th, 2010, 6:14 pm
    Post #88 - September 29th, 2010, 6:14 pm Post #88 - September 29th, 2010, 6:14 pm
    stevez wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    stevez wrote:The BBQ at Big Ed's fell far short of the stellar baby backs I posted about up thread. To be sure, Ed's BBQ has improved quite a bit from the early days, but it still seems to be quite variable. If I had eaten yesterday's meal back in early September, I would have never gone back for the LTH lunch.

    I think this is pretty much true of any BBQ place and reading the applicable threads around here really bears it out. Commerical BBQ is, by its nature, hit or miss. I've found this to be the case at all of my favorite places. One can do the same thing everytime and get different outcomes everytime. Even at Honey 1, I've had BBQ that wouldn't have necessarily incented me to come back. Luckily, I know better. :wink:

    =R=


    That is a very good point. I guess I'm extra picky because it's easy for me to throw a batch of ribs on the smoker pretty much any time I want. If I didn't have that luxury, I'd be much more forgiving of commercial BBQ. Just to be sure people don't get the wrong idea, I'm not saying Big Ed's is bad by any means. Ed's technique is evolving (for the better) all the time and if it wasn't nearly an hour's drive from my house, I could see more frequent visits.

    Yeah, I think those of us who Q at home tend to get spoiled. We cook to our own preferences, have only 1 ready time and eat the food at its peak. It's very hard to walk into a BBQ joint -- any BBQ joint -- and replicate the polished, at-home experience. The upside of commercial BBQ is that when it's really great, it's usually a transcendental experience.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #89 - September 29th, 2010, 8:28 pm
    Post #89 - September 29th, 2010, 8:28 pm Post #89 - September 29th, 2010, 8:28 pm
    Have not got to try Big Ed's Q yet however got to meet him this past weekend down at the Praise the Lard BBQ Cookoff at Murphysboro Il. It is put on by Mike Mills and company. He was there with Dave Raymond. He is going to compete in a competition soon and was seeing first hand how they work. He is definitely someone who is out learning more about his craft and I wish him well. Will get out to try his Q soon.
    Danny
    Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?...........Louis Armstrong
  • Post #90 - September 30th, 2010, 12:18 pm
    Post #90 - September 30th, 2010, 12:18 pm Post #90 - September 30th, 2010, 12:18 pm
    Here's my thoughts on Big Ed's from the recent LTH lunch on the 28th:

    The north 'burbs reincarnation of a southside rib joint, housed in a small fast food type building reminiscent of a KFC or Brown's with moderate table seating, provided a clean, casual, comfortable dining experience with a high level of service in a welcoming atmosphere. The weekday lunch crowd was a mix of local residents and office crowd. The (counter only, though the food was brought to the to the table) service was attentive, friendly, and pleasant. All the limited seating was taken by 12:15P, but there was no rushed feeling, and the lunch business appeared to be somewhat more weighted to take out, though that may have been due to all the tables having been occupied.

    As for my opinion of the food -

    Tips - Very good. Nicely smoked, good quality meat, with a very positive meat/bark to fat/bone ratio. A very slight bit on the drier side, but not objectionably so, and somewhat unusual compared to the often greasy and more fat laden tips I've had over the years on the southside. A very good product, IMO.

    Links - Also very good. Moderately coarse texture with recognizable heat and spicing, which worked pretty well with the sauce. Another decent product. I'd like to do some side-by-side tasting with Uncle Johns, and yes, Hillary's Kenosha location.

    Ribs - Didn't really work for me. I much prefer baby backs to spares, so I'm definitely biased in this regard. The ribs were on the drier side, which seems somewhat typical of the southside shack type experience. Better than a lot of slabs I had on the southside, including a recent visit to Uncle Johns, but I'm generally not positively impressed with much of the southside shack incarnations of spare ribs.

    Cat Fish - Also very good. Surprisingly so. A very nicely and substantially seasoned, reasonably coarse crust, cooked perfectly done and having a nice bit of crisp without being over cooked. Good flavor and good texture here. They hit it right, Tuesday, with this one. I'd like to try this preparation on a filet I better prefer to cat, which is far from a fav of mine. It was that good.

    Brisket - I'm somewhat agnostic about this product. It did nothing to win me over, being again a bit on the drier side, with an O.K., but definitely not great, flavor experience. It could not stand alone w/o the sauce. Smoque provides an extremely high standard bearer, IMO, so for me, smoked beef brisket is a pretty tough nut to crack around here.

    Sides - Range from decent to very good, and show a great deal of effort, which I found to be unusual in the southside shack experience. The beans and mac were good, not spectacular, but showed effort and attention with very much a "homemade" taste and texture, particularly the mac. The greens appeared great on the surface, but had a slightly sweet element, confirmed by the counter staff, which did not work for me. I'm sure it's a personal thing as others seem to liked them, but I much prefer my greens slightly bitter, offset with the natural sweetness from the inclusion of smoked pork, such ham hocks. I've yet to find these home-cooked style greens in a rib shack. The corn bread was also very good, with moderately coarse texture, deep flavor, and a good balance between dry and moist, w/o any overt sweetness. The coleslaw was excellent. Coarse, rustic cut, with substantial texture in a very thin mayo based sauce with substantial vinegar. The predominate vinegar flavor in a mayo based sauce was an unexpected, but good flavor experience. I was pleasantly surprised with the effort put into the sides in the context of the rib shack experience.

    Desert - Pretty much a positive repeat of the "sides" comments above for the two items I tasted, that being the pound cake and peach cobbler. Surprisingly good in this context.

    Sauce - I got it as semi-sweet, relatively mild, very slightly on the thinner side, but not "vinegar based thin", with a slight bit of tang to foil the sweetness. I'd best describe it as "balanced". Not quite as thick as some of the southside places, or Hecky's for that matter, which is a good thing IMO. I'd like a "hot" option, so I suppose I'll be adding a little habanero sauce to my carryout cups, at least at this point in time.

    I found Ed's to be a positive experience. The word "effort", comes to mind foremost. They seem to be really trying, and having success, at that. There's a lot of good here, IMO. If they can remain reasonably consistent, I might be able put their tips on my list of "things I'll drive across the city for". More visits and time will tell. I very much like that I seem be able to get good tips and decent links, along with some good homemade sides, in an inviting environment w/o trekking to the southside. I believe Ed has the ability to compete with the south (and west) sides. Actually, I believe he's already there in some instances (tips, links, cat fish), and perhaps even occasionally a bit better in an ancillary few (sides, deserts). I look forward to further visits.

    Thanks for the opportunity to enjoy this lunch!

    Eddie
    Alright! Why a Duck? Why a no Chicken? - Chico Marx

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