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Apr 24, 2001 03:14 PM

Carolina style Barbecue

  • z

Does anyone know of a place to get Carolina style barbecue in the city - vinegary, sometimes mustard based (in south carolina) but not sweet. Excess sweetness is often my problem with bbq saucing.

For more standard bbq I love Lem's, but I am not necessarily looking for something up to that level, just trying to satisfy a craving.

I had heard from somewhere that hoxie's was Carolina bbq but when I finally got a chance to go by - it was out of business.

Thanks for any help

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  1. Zim, If you've had the real deal, then my bet is that yr SOL. My girlfriend is from N.C., and I lived there for three years. I haven't found anything decent, yet. [NB I've tried Lem's, Curt's, Dixie Kitchen, Ribs 'N Bibs, Smoke Daddy, Bone Daddy, Hoxie's, Brother Jimmy's, N.N., Russell's, Stevie B's...]

    Most recently, we tried Bone Daddy. The N.C. and S.C. sauces aren't too shabby, but the preparation of the pork leaves alot to be desired. [Lean, dry, thick slices.] I commend them for their Memphis dry-rubbed ribs and sides, but the place is way too affected to make our "keeper" list.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Erik M.

      I couldn't disagree more about your review of Bone Daddy. The sauces are about as authentic as they come. This is the only place in Chicago that I have found that has both a N.C. sauce (vinegar base) and S.C. sauce (mustard), not to mention the Memphis dry rub. I had the baby backs and they were fabulous. Too many places serve that "fall off the bone" crap and are proud of it. Their stuff is really smoked. I appreciate the fact that the place isn't just another faux southern shack "concept." (like Famous Dave's - what a joke.)

      I will say that the service at Bone Daddy has been a bit spotty at times, but I suspect this is because it is still new. The food, though, has always been top notch. I live nearby and I think that it is a real find. Actually, it was just written up in Chicago Magazine among the top 20 new places in Chicago, so I guess it isn't exactly a "find" anymore. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

      1. re: saf

        Gee. I don't know about the Carolina style sauces, (haven't tried 'em) but my one experience with Bone Daddy was less than stellar. The service was bad, but as you say, I'm sure that will get smoother once they've been on the scene a little longer.

        The ribs I had were not very good. Not too meaty, and pretty tough. I don't think smoking should exclude the possibility of tender meat. About the same quality as the ribs from Rib's and Bibs. I think I also tried the brisket and was pretty tasted more like Italian Beef beef than real brisket: stewed in its own juices, rather than long smoked.

        The side dishes were pretty good. I'll give it another try and see if the verdict changes, but based on my last experience I won't hold my breath.

        1. re: saf


          What did I say? I said that the sauces "aren't too shabby..." I referenced both the N.C. and the S.C. sauce... I praised them for the Memphis dry-rub and their sides...

          IMO, its all a wash if you can't get the pulled/chopped pork right. IMO, they don't. Its too late for sauce. It doesn't hold a candle to Allen & Sons, Lexington, Gardner's, Bill Ellis, BBQ Lodge, Parker's, Hobgood's, and scores more in North Carolina...

          And dude, that place is about as "faux" as BBQ joints get. $50 for a "Bone Daddy" shirt? Chimay Ale and Duvel at a BBQ joint? Give me a break.

          p.s. I no longer give a crap what Chicago Magazine says. I've eaten at 6 of the places that made their most recent "list," and I wouldn't go back to 4 of them.

          1. re: Erik M.

            Gee, that was harsh. So we disagree, big deal. I liked it. I guess nothing can compare to the great BBQ that you so enjoyed during your years in the exalted Carolinas. No BBQ in this whole part of country is worth eating. I am just an ignorant sow. In fact, what I liked most, aside from the ribs, was the pulled pork sandwich. And it was clearly PULLED, not sliced or shredded.

            The fact that Bone Daddy sells better beers and such, not to mention espresso at brunch, is exactly the point that I was making about faux cabin BBQ places. They quite obviously have no intention of pretending to be a "joint." Is it absolutely necessary for a BBQ place to be a filthy dump just so it can be known as a "joint" worth eating at? Is it only real BBQ if you are forced to drink crappy beer out of wax cups?

            As for the Chicago Magazine mention ... I was simply pointing out that Bone Daddy had been recognized. If we simply took what Chicago Magazine or the Trib or Sun Times had to say, then there would be no point in these boards, would there? However, I am sure that those four places on the list that you didn't like will miss you terribly, dude.

            1. re: saf


              From my angle, we've missed one another. I'm not looking to "school" anyone about anything. I'm not a purist...I'm not putting on airs... and I most certainly don't want a sword fight.
              zim asked about NC-style BBQ. I don't think that Bone Daddy fits the bill. Let's agree to disagree, O.K.?

              Erik M.

                1. re: saf

                  Thanks, saf. I feel better.

                  Erik M.

              1. re: saf

                Where does "Erik M." say that he even likes North Carolina Style barbeque? (disclaimer: I happen to know "Erik M.," and I happen to know that he doesn't even really like North Carolina style barbeque.) What he *likes* isn't the issue here. Zim's query is the issue.
                Look back at your exchange. I think that the "fauxniness" of Bone Daddy was mentioned by Erik M. because of what you said about Famous Daves. You left the door open, as it were.

          2. re: Erik M.

            I've had the real deal. used to live in atlanta and went up to NC a couple times a year. Since there isn't any available here, do you have recommendations for commercially available sauce?

            1. re: zim

              Friends have hand-carried/sent me sauce from BBQ places in the Triad and Triangle. I'm not sure it'd be available via mail/web. Little matter. Its not that difficult to make. [Personally, I like to avoid the preservatives and I like to experiment.] Do a google search for basic recipes.
              Sauces often include white vinegar, cider vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, hot sauce, black pepper, and butter. [NB I like the Eastern NC-style sauce more... no tomato.]

              1. re: Erik M.

                No Carolina barbecue sauce, NC-east, Lexington or SC mustard EVER contains butter. Besides, if the meat is cooked properly the sauce is merely an afterthought. It should serve as an accent to the barbecue, not as a point of reference. Too many barbecue joints use sauce to disguise poorly cooked barbecue. This does not apply to ribs which are rarely found in authentic NC or SC barbecue joints. Man, I'm gettin' hungry...


                1. re: Jim

                  I was trying to help zim out. I couldn't recall all the *possible* ingredients in NC-style sauce, so I did a Google search. A whole lotta recipes listed butter. You're not talking at a pit hund.

                  Erik M.

                  1. re: Erik M.

                    I got hooked on NC barbeque during a summer vacation ten years ago. About every two years or so I order up a big batch by mail from the Outer Banks. It's real pulled-pork vinegar-sauced barbeque, comes frozen in one pound deli-style containers, and includes a bottle of sauce. I get five pounds and savor every tangy bite. Come January in New England it's worth the shipping to have this treat! You can order just the sauce if you want to try your own at home.


                    1. re: Kelly

                      Thanks for the suggestion/link. I just might try that for a party.

                      Erik M.