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Hecky's - it's NOT just the sauce [GNR nomination]

Hecky's - it's NOT just the sauce [GNR nomination]
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  • Post #31 - July 3rd, 2006, 1:42 pm
    Post #31 - July 3rd, 2006, 1:42 pm Post #31 - July 3rd, 2006, 1:42 pm
    What I want to know is how they manufacture the smell of genuine barbecue without actually producing it. My ex and I got a full barbecued chicken (his meatphobic choice), stingily served with just one slice of bread. There was zilch smoke flavor, the bird was dry as sawdust, a wing was puny enough to have come from a sparrow, and the vaunted sauce lacks depth and heat. I was glad I made my collards at home.
  • Post #32 - July 4th, 2006, 6:18 am
    Post #32 - July 4th, 2006, 6:18 am Post #32 - July 4th, 2006, 6:18 am
    whiskeybent wrote:Everything I've read here about Hecky's certainly would sour someone on their Halsted location. Admittedly, it's pretty hard to get excited about barbecue in a place attached to a gas station (or maybe that's just me).


    Smetimes, BBQ attached to a gas station can be a good thing. Oklahoma Joe's in Kansas City actually is a gas station.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #33 - July 4th, 2006, 10:39 am
    Post #33 - July 4th, 2006, 10:39 am Post #33 - July 4th, 2006, 10:39 am
    I thought the exact same thing upon reading whiskeybent's post. WB, you should visit Roadfood.com occasionally. It is dedicated to highlighting and profiling this country's best mom and pop joints, many of which are housed in gas stations, the back rooms of gocery stores, converted private residences, and other unexpected locations.

    If we're going to start judging restaurant's based on the buildings they occupy, there are certain food snobs who would turn up their noses at Katy's Dumpling House, a GNR nominee, for being located in a strip mall (Heaven's to Betsy!).

    Buddy
  • Post #34 - July 4th, 2006, 12:40 pm
    Post #34 - July 4th, 2006, 12:40 pm Post #34 - July 4th, 2006, 12:40 pm
    Geez, I got pretty excited when I found Willies Homemade Tamales & Smokehouse

    Image

    My car is so well trained it turned into the location once we spotted the smoke. We could smell the BBQ even further away!

    If someone advertizes BBQ, then I drive around the parking lot hunting down the tell-tale signs of a smoker on the premises. If I don't find it, then I move on.

    BTW - Hecky's does use liquid smoke in their BBQ sauce, which GAry helped me identify for myself several years ago.

    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 #35 - July 4th, 2006, 12:47 pm
    Post #35 - July 4th, 2006, 12:47 pm Post #35 - July 4th, 2006, 12:47 pm
    The Fourth of July seemed to be a fitting occasion to try Hecky's for the first time. (Plus, it's open, and Evanston Chicken Shack is not.)

    I called in a to go order for Mrs. Ro and me to enjoy. 1/2 chicken, mutt, greens, mac & cheese, and corn bread. I placed the order at about 12:20 and was asked if 12:45 would work for a pick up. As I'm 15-20 minutes from Hecky's, 12:45 was perfect.

    I picked up my order without incident at about 12:40 nd sped away home, with the smoky barbecue aroma filling the Civic (this proved to have an intoxicating effect on little miss Ro, who drifted into a slumber in her car seat deep enough for me to transfer her from same to her crib without disturbing her slumber in any meaningful way).

    The 1/2 chicken turned out to be the barbecue chicken instead of the fried chicken, which I was intending to order. This is user error on my end, as I only specified 1/2 chicken, not 1/2 fried chicken. The dark half of the half was moist, but Mrs. Ro reported that the breast was a little dry. A common problem with white meat, but a little sub-optimal. The skin was a little tough and added little flavor. So the barbecue chicken was not great. I wouldn't order it again.

    The mutt consists of half a hot link, rib tips, and fried chicken wings over french fries with the whole mess drenched in barbecue sauce. The wings hinted at the greatness of the fried chicken proper, as the crust was flavorful and had a tad bit of crunch (even with the sauce). The tips were a little overdone (tough), but had good flavor. The hot link was the coup de grace. A nice slow burn developing over the course of a minute in your mouth to the point where it proved too hot for Mrs. Ro (who is known to have a limited ability to tolerate heat spice). This was a blessing for me, as I just held out the piece of white bread, picked it up, and ate it like a hot dog. (I'm also a sucker for the french fries drenched in barbecue sauce at the bottom of the whole thing - lovely.)

    If and when I return to Hecky's, it will be for hot links and fried chicken. I'd recommend the hot links without hesitating, and the fried chicken has enough supporters to justify my faith in the promise of the drenched crunchy wings.

    Keep eating,
    J. Ro
  • Post #36 - July 5th, 2006, 6:10 am
    Post #36 - July 5th, 2006, 6:10 am Post #36 - July 5th, 2006, 6:10 am
    I, too, decided on Hecky's for my 4th picnic - so, after stopping at the kosher deli in the Jewel for sides, I decided to call in an order at around 4pm (thinking I'd have nicely cold chicken by fireworks time)

    Interestingly enough, while looking for the phone number, I came across http://www.heckys.com/html/ where you can place your order online very efficiently. So I did. Unfortunately, everyone else in Evanston probably had the same idea at the same time...we got a call letting us know that they were out of fried chicken for the day. :(

    Later, I looked up Cajun Charlies after doing a search for Northside fried chicken. They also have a website, containing a phone number where a very nice man tells you they' shut down a while ago. :cry:
  • Post #37 - July 5th, 2006, 11:20 am
    Post #37 - July 5th, 2006, 11:20 am Post #37 - July 5th, 2006, 11:20 am
    whiskeybent wrote:Everything I've read here about Hecky's certainly would sour someone on their Halsted location. Admittedly, it's pretty hard to get excited about barbecue in a place attached to a gas station (or maybe that's just me).


    whiskeybent,

    One of the finest meals I've ever had in Louisiana (bayou country somewhere) was IN a gas station where they served me up some squirrel dumplings with jalapeno corn bread. As I waited while the dish was being prepared, I noticed that they had a plaque on the wall declaring this dish the winner of some local cook-off. After eating, I saw the owner seated in a shredded-up old La-Z-Boy chair with his legs draped over an arm and I asked him where he procures his squirrel. He matter-of-factly replied "out back" as though I should have already known that!

    I wouldn't hold anything against Hecky's because they're attached to a gas station. I'd hold something against them because they make incredibly average fried chicken. When you take a bite, their underseasoned coating breaks away from the overly brined (highly salty) poached-like chicken.
  • Post #38 - July 5th, 2006, 11:23 am
    Post #38 - July 5th, 2006, 11:23 am Post #38 - July 5th, 2006, 11:23 am
    I think it's important, in these discussions, to differentiate between the Halsted/gas station Hecky's and the original in Evanston. They're two completely different places, they use different cooking methods, and I'm getting confused trying to follow which comments refer to which one. But then, I'm easily confused ....
  • Post #39 - July 5th, 2006, 1:39 pm
    Post #39 - July 5th, 2006, 1:39 pm Post #39 - July 5th, 2006, 1:39 pm
    I'm pretty sure that PIGMON was talking Hecky's in Evanston. While Hecky's Chicago lives up to its reputation, I think that Hecky's Evanston is overrated fried chicken-wise.
  • Post #40 - July 5th, 2006, 3:34 pm
    Post #40 - July 5th, 2006, 3:34 pm Post #40 - July 5th, 2006, 3:34 pm
    Very good, an addendum:

    Admittedly, it's pretty hard to get excited about barbecue in a place attached to a Chicagoland gas station (or maybe that's just me).


    Or am I still off? Cathy2, I should have remembered that picture--I've seen it posted here before, yes? I remember the booth on the pavement...

    WB, you should visit Roadfood.com occasionally.


    Very familiar, but it's been a while since I've poked around the site. I interviewed Michael Stern a while back before they were preparing a bus trip around the Chicagoland area, and he's a very nice guy.

    Maybe next time I'm on my way out to Dekalb on Rt. 38, I'll stop at the BP station at the junction of 38 and Rt. 47...I seem to recall some fried chicken there...
    Writing about craft beer at GuysDrinkingBeer.com
    "You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now." ~Ebert
  • Post #41 - July 5th, 2006, 4:39 pm
    Post #41 - July 5th, 2006, 4:39 pm Post #41 - July 5th, 2006, 4:39 pm
    whiskeybent wrote:Very good, an addendum:

    Admittedly, it's pretty hard to get excited about barbecue in a place attached to a Chicagoland gas station (or maybe that's just me).


    Or am I still off? Cathy2, I should have remembered that picture--I've seen it posted here before, yes? I remember the booth on the pavement...


    Oh yeah this is a moment of posting deja vu. If you scroll back up to the picture, then you will find I have left the link to the original post from May.

    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 #42 - February 20th, 2007, 2:19 pm
    Post #42 - February 20th, 2007, 2:19 pm Post #42 - February 20th, 2007, 2:19 pm
    I drove by Hecky's this weekend while in Evanston and decided to stop and give it a try. Got the "Chicago Special" tips & links combo with a side of BBQ baked beans. I enjoyed my meal and must say I'm surprised to see such lukewarm reviews on the board here.

    In terms of tips & links I've had here in Chicago, Hecky's did not stand out from other places but I did not think it fell woefully short either. Some of the tips were quite tough but others were very good and had a good smokey flavor to them. The links were modestly above average - not as pink as other places - but with a nice spicy profile to them. The most impressive part of the meal was the BBQ sauce, which I think is better than a lot of other "hard core" barbeque places here in Chicago and something I give more weight to. Additionally, the bed of french fries that the tips & links were on were far better than any I've had at other places, including Honey 1, whose fries are always soggy and uninspiring. These were not only crispy but seasoned, which was an added bonus.

    I'd also like to tip my hat to Hecky's for a) offering baked beans and b) doing them well. The beans as ordered were not perfect, but by adding a little BBQ sauce to them, they turn out fantastic.

    Have not had the fried chicken, which seems to be one of the areas of most disagreement on this thread, but as far as the BBQ effort I'd say Hecky's showed up well.
  • Post #43 - June 4th, 2020, 11:46 am
    Post #43 - June 4th, 2020, 11:46 am Post #43 - June 4th, 2020, 11:46 am
    Hi- I just drove past Hecky's, and they are back open again. I don't know who is running the place now. He only died 13 days ago, and so that was quick to reopen. BTW- The Sunday Today show did a wonderful segment on Hecky Powell and why he was so loved. There is a link to it in the obituary section here.
  • Post #44 - June 4th, 2020, 3:33 pm
    Post #44 - June 4th, 2020, 3:33 pm Post #44 - June 4th, 2020, 3:33 pm
    NYT Obit = Hecky Powell, Barbecue Master and Civic Leader, Dies at 71
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/us/h ... ticleShare
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #45 - June 5th, 2020, 5:11 pm
    Post #45 - June 5th, 2020, 5:11 pm Post #45 - June 5th, 2020, 5:11 pm
    Dave, you sure know how to downplay an obituary in the New York Times. I just came here to post the same link.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #46 - June 5th, 2020, 7:42 pm
    Post #46 - June 5th, 2020, 7:42 pm Post #46 - June 5th, 2020, 7:42 pm
    Hecky was as well loved as anyone in Evanston, and deservedly so.

    Here are two articles in the Tribune that, like the one in the Times, are worth a read:

    Hecky Powell, Evanston barbecue master and community booster, dies at 71 of COVID-19

    Column: That time Hecky Powell saved Thanksgiving for a Northwestern student and his roommates. ‘That’s Mr. Hecky.’
  • Post #47 - September 19th, 2020, 4:42 pm
    Post #47 - September 19th, 2020, 4:42 pm Post #47 - September 19th, 2020, 4:42 pm
    Heckys will be closed for remodeling starting on 9/21-10/12

    Upcoming Closure (9/21 - 10/12)
    Hecky’s Barbecue will be closed for 3 weeks starting on 9/21. The sauce will be the same but the restaurant will be brand new. Come stop in the old Hecky's this week before we turn the page on the next chapter (Hecky's 2.0)!


    https://www.heckys.com/
  • Post #48 - September 19th, 2020, 5:14 pm
    Post #48 - September 19th, 2020, 5:14 pm Post #48 - September 19th, 2020, 5:14 pm
    I wonder who is running the place now?
  • Post #49 - September 20th, 2020, 8:58 am
    Post #49 - September 20th, 2020, 8:58 am Post #49 - September 20th, 2020, 8:58 am
    NFriday wrote:I wonder who is running the place now?

    His kids are running things.
  • Post #50 - October 22nd, 2020, 1:15 pm
    Post #50 - October 22nd, 2020, 1:15 pm Post #50 - October 22nd, 2020, 1:15 pm
    Still closed. Per a friend that recently drove by - lots of construction activity inside.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #51 - October 22nd, 2020, 1:23 pm
    Post #51 - October 22nd, 2020, 1:23 pm Post #51 - October 22nd, 2020, 1:23 pm
    Dave148 wrote:Still closed. Per a friend that recently drove by - lots of construction activity inside.

    Hopefully, that's a positive sign for them.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    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 #52 - October 22nd, 2020, 2:10 pm
    Post #52 - October 22nd, 2020, 2:10 pm Post #52 - October 22nd, 2020, 2:10 pm
    This is what their website says:

    Hecky's website wrote:Temporarily Closed, Grand Reopening Coming Soon!
    Hecky’s Barbecue will be closed starting on 9/21. The sauce will be the same but the restaurant will be brand new. Continue to check our website or join our mailing list below to get updated on when we set our grand reopening date!

    It also says "now hiring".

    A post on October 13 (the 37th anniversary of their opening) on their Facebook page says:
    Hecky's Facebook page wrote:UPDATE: Like most renovation projects, we are running a little behind and will NOT be reopening tomorrow as originally planned. We will send an update when we have nailed down our grand reopening date. In the meantime, you can always check the current status of our reopening at https://www.heckys.com
  • Post #53 - November 5th, 2020, 7:55 am
    Post #53 - November 5th, 2020, 7:55 am Post #53 - November 5th, 2020, 7:55 am
    Hecky's is reopening Friday Nov 6 @ 11AM
    Thank you all for your patience. Hecky's Barbecue will be reopening on Friday, Nov 6th at 11:00 am! On October 13th, Hecky's Barbecue celebrated its 37th year anniversary and although we wanted to be open for that occasion, we think November 6 is just as meaningful as this would have been our founder, Hecky Powell's 72nd birthday. Happy Heavenly Birthday, Hecky, we got a special gift for you

    https://www.facebook.com/pg/HeckysBarbe ... e_internal

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