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George's Liquors & Deli - old world, intensely smokey meats

George's Liquors & Deli - old world, intensely smokey meats
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  • George's Liquors & Deli - old world, intensely smokey meats

    Post #1 - June 25th, 2013, 1:56 am
    Post #1 - June 25th, 2013, 1:56 am Post #1 - June 25th, 2013, 1:56 am
    During one of my routine stops at my single favorite spot for smoked meats in chicago, George's Liquors, I realized I had never posted about my love for the place on LTH. It is an awesome Balkan meat shop which has been making their own sausages since 1971, using old family recipes. Upon looking for a thread I was shocked to realize there wasn't one. Not only that, but there are only a couple mentions in passing, which is just a shame. This is definitely a place everyone should check out, as the cured meats are amazing, and I know LTH loves cured meats.

    Image

    The array is pretty diverse. There are a lot of sausages, in pork and beef. Most of it is dry cured and smoked. The textures of the sausages range from dry but soft like salami (pictured below) to very firm like pepperoni. They also smoke and dry cure whole chunks of meat. From the top of my head I remember beef and pork bacon, ribs, and loin, but i’m certain there are many more options. Most of the meat is hickory smoked, but there are also a couple tea smoked sausages which are excellent. One thing all of them have in common the smoke is very intense. A lot of it is dry and aged to the point where it is harder than most may be expecting, but I love it this way sliced thin it retains a lot of texture, and has a nice aged meat funk to it. The pork bacon (pictured above) had an scent that reminded me of a good salami or soppressata. Some of the sausages have a nice tang to them, the pork with garlic comes to mind as one of those. I have seen fresh cevapcici, and other fresh encased sausages, and though i forgot what exactly it was called, the name was similar to kielbasa so I'm guessing it is similar. On weekends they also roast lamb and other meats.

    Image

    Other than the meats there is a fairly unique array of packaged and jarred goods which are worth exploring, as well as a wall full of many Balkan liquors which I’m looking forward to trying more of. One excellent liquor I picked up the other day was a bottle of Orahovac which is, I believe, the balkan version of the italian liqueur Nocino, both of which are made with green walnuts. Anyhow, it's a great place and I hope more people check it out and post about it!

    George's Liquor & Deli
    1964 W Lawrence Ave
    Chicago, IL 60640
    (773) 728-6333
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #2 - June 25th, 2013, 7:02 am
    Post #2 - June 25th, 2013, 7:02 am Post #2 - June 25th, 2013, 7:02 am
    George's is a really cool place. Thanks for posting about it. I asked about some of the smoked ribs that appear to be really, really dry and was told that they are meant to be cooked and somewhat re-hydrated. I haven't tried them and it's possible that the nice lady behind the counter and I just miscommunicated (our language skills had little overlap).
  • Post #3 - June 25th, 2013, 7:23 am
    Post #3 - June 25th, 2013, 7:23 am Post #3 - June 25th, 2013, 7:23 am
    laikom wrote:...there are also a couple tea smoked sausages which are excellent.


    I had some of the sausages from George's for dinner last night and this one was just so freaking good (although they were all awesome). I definitely need to return very soon to stock up on more sausages.

    laikom wrote:...a wall full of many Balkan liquors which I’m looking forward to trying more of. One excellent liquor I picked up the other day was a bottle of Orahovac which is, I believe, the balkan version of the italian liqueur Nocino, both of which are made with green walnuts.


    Don't forget about the Travarica which was herbal and delicious, too. Definitely excited to try more of the Balkan liquors, too.
  • Post #4 - July 8th, 2013, 9:07 am
    Post #4 - July 8th, 2013, 9:07 am Post #4 - July 8th, 2013, 9:07 am
    I, too, am a big fan. At the picnic a couple years ago I put together a Balkan cured beef sampler in an attempt to spread the word about George's (a little background on the meats was posted here).

    Image

    Left to right, that's smoke-dried beef (suva govedina), beef bacon (goveda slanina) and smoke-dried beef neck (dimljeni govedi vrat). Also kačkavalj cheese and fefferoni.

    Image

    The beef neck is one of my favorites. Some paper-thin slices are an ideal midnight snack with a glass of beer or wine (or probably slivovitz; need to do some firsthand research on that pairing). Quite leathery when purchased, it gets even harder with a few weeks of age and slicing goes from difficult to dangerous. I have an old nub of the neck in my refrigerator that I'll probably toss into a pot of beans rather than risk my fingers.

    The intense smokiness of George's meat is its biggest asset but sometimes I think of it as a liability. I often get tired of the one-note smoke flavor about midway through a batch. But I always go back for more.

    In the grocery section, one of my favorites is this hot paprika paste, found in the refrigerated case.

    Image Image

    I always look at the interesting booze selection but almost never buy anything. I'm so unfamiliar with the labels that I'm worried I'll end up with a bottle of nocino or something.

    George's Deli
    "Our Meat Can't Be Beat"
    1964 W Lawrence Av
    Chicago
    773-728-6333
    http://www.georgesbrandmeats.com/
  • Post #5 - July 8th, 2013, 9:21 am
    Post #5 - July 8th, 2013, 9:21 am Post #5 - July 8th, 2013, 9:21 am
    Rene G wrote:
    Image


    This has (literally & figuratively) got my name all over it. I'm going to have to head to George's to try a bottle!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - July 9th, 2013, 10:50 am
    Post #6 - July 9th, 2013, 10:50 am Post #6 - July 9th, 2013, 10:50 am
    Erős Pista is a Magyar classic. It's counterpart is Edes Anna, or "Sweet Anne", a milder Hungarian pepper paste. Both can be used as garnishes, or to flavor stews and other cooked dishes. Pista is a diminutive of Istvan, or Stephen, essentially meaning "Little Stephen", and is often used as a nickname for Istvan.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #7 - February 4th, 2014, 12:23 pm
    Post #7 - February 4th, 2014, 12:23 pm Post #7 - February 4th, 2014, 12:23 pm
    Per a DNA info article posted today, looks like George's Liquor and Deli closed on January 27, 2014. Article mentions size of building as a factor along with pending Mariano's opening on Lawrence but indicates Mariano's will stock some of the products that were once available at this retail branch.

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140204 ... -elsewhere
  • Post #8 - February 7th, 2014, 5:15 pm
    Post #8 - February 7th, 2014, 5:15 pm Post #8 - February 7th, 2014, 5:15 pm
    Bende carries the Univer products. In addition, Bende has Gulasch Creme which is a wonderful short cut for many Hungarian dishes.
  • Post #9 - February 7th, 2014, 10:47 pm
    Post #9 - February 7th, 2014, 10:47 pm Post #9 - February 7th, 2014, 10:47 pm
    Grorge's spicy dry cured Serbian smoked sausage is just about the best thing I have ever tasted. With a nice dark rye and a dollop of Ajvar, it is absolute ambrosia. Their rendition of Kulen is pretty tasty also (though REALLY fatty). The City Fresh market at Kedzie and Devon carries a big selection of George's retail products, along with some really interesting Balkan cheeses and wines. The Balkan grape varietals are very unusual with some of the strains dating back to the Roman empire. Unfortunately, it seems that wine from Croatia is transported and stored rather carelessly, so there are a lot of clunkers, but I have had a few Dalmatian wines that rank up there with what France and Italy have to offer.
  • Post #10 - February 15th, 2014, 11:25 pm
    Post #10 - February 15th, 2014, 11:25 pm Post #10 - February 15th, 2014, 11:25 pm
    This is one of those places I've always meant to try, but I just don't eat a lot of cured meat, so I never quite made it. Now Yelp is saying they are permanently closed, but their own website says nothing of the sort. Has anyone been there recently?
  • Post #11 - March 21st, 2014, 1:30 pm
    Post #11 - March 21st, 2014, 1:30 pm Post #11 - March 21st, 2014, 1:30 pm
    Eva Luna wrote:This is one of those places I've always meant to try, but I just don't eat a lot of cured meat, so I never quite made it. Now Yelp is saying they are permanently closed, but their own website says nothing of the sort. Has anyone been there recently?


    Just tried to stop by today, sign on the door reads:

    On 1/27/2014 George's Deli will stop selling their products, new location is:

    George's Brand Meats
    11219 Frenklin Ave
    (Assuming this is a misspelling because there isn't a Frenklin Ave only a Franklin Ave)
    Franklin Park, IL 60131
    Phone# 847-288-0881
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #12 - March 22nd, 2014, 12:53 pm
    Post #12 - March 22nd, 2014, 12:53 pm Post #12 - March 22nd, 2014, 12:53 pm
    Sweet Willie wrote:
    Eva Luna wrote:This is one of those places I've always meant to try, but I just don't eat a lot of cured meat, so I never quite made it. Now Yelp is saying they are permanently closed, but their own website says nothing of the sort. Has anyone been there recently?


    Just tried to stop by today, sign on the door reads:

    On 1/27/2014 George's Deli will stop selling their products, new location is:

    George's Brand Meats
    11219 Frenklin Ave
    (Assuming this is a misspelling because there isn't a Frenklin Ave only a Franklin Ave)
    Franklin Park, IL 60131
    Phone# 847-288-0881

    That is the address of their factory, where they make their line of retail products. I don't know if they now have a factory outlet store. As far as I know, they only sell wholesale at that location. George's products are still available from various Bosnian and Serbian grocers including City Fresh and the Devon Market.
  • Post #13 - March 31st, 2014, 1:17 pm
    Post #13 - March 31st, 2014, 1:17 pm Post #13 - March 31st, 2014, 1:17 pm
    Stopped by the Franklin Park location. I obtained a list of meats available. They do sell retail at this location even though they don't have a retail set up. They also hope to have an operational website up and running. It was suggested that one call with an order prior to arrival so order can get pulled.

    I'll try to get list of meats posted.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #14 - April 2nd, 2014, 11:25 am
    Post #14 - April 2nd, 2014, 11:25 am Post #14 - April 2nd, 2014, 11:25 am
    Sweet Willie wrote:I'll try to get list of meats posted.


    Courtesy of Sweet Willie
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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