Elgin BBQ trip: Southside or Meyer's?
A friend and I are driving out to Elgin this weekend to experience Elgin Sausage for the first time, but we are also looking for other good meats too. Taking the sausage, beef ribs and brisket into account, which is the best place to go: Meyer's or Southside, and why?
I'll second Crosstown BBQ. I've been meaning to write up a review of my last couple of trips there. One afternoon I stopped in around 3 P.M. and ordered a two-meat combo with brisket and sausage. The brisket was not bad: It was smoky, with pretty good flavor, but it was on the dry side. That's what I get for ordering 'cue so late in the day. The next time I stopped in, around the same time of day (unfortunately), I ordered pork ribs and sausage. Their sweet-glazed ribs were tender, fairly substantial, and finger-lickin’ good. I'll definitely order them again.
Crosstown's all-beef sausage is a medium-coarse grind that's meaty rather than greasy, with a lot of black pepper mixed in. The sausage itself is about 1" in diameter, and it's cut into bite-sized pieces when ordered as part of a combo plate. I loved the flavor of this sausage, which is good enough to stand alone. It reminds me of my favorite one in the state, made by the folks at Austin’s BBQ in Eagle Lake.
I know some people can't get enough of Southside Market's sausage, but I, personally, can't stand it unless it's wrapped up in a kolache-like pig-in-a-blanket. Folks like to say that SM's hot sausage "used to be" really good and/or better before they toned down the heat. I fail to see what good that does me, since I can't taste how it used to be. To me, now, it just tastes bland and greasy, with a hot-dog-like texture that exacerbates the sliminess of all that grease. The last time I stopped in to get a jalapeño-sausage wrap for the road, I just about had to spit out the first bite. I mention this only to put my own sausage preferences in context.
I also sampled a few sides while at Crosstown. The potato salad was nothing special. It’s the standard sweet kind that was probably made with just bits of pickle, Miracle Whip, and a touch of mustard to produce its pale-yellow color. The cole slaw consisted of lightly dressed (with mayo and vinegar) shredded cabbage and some carrot. I liked it better than the potato salad. Crosstown's jalapeño beans were good. They were suitably spicy, and their reddish color and flavor suggested that they’d added some of their barbecue sauce to them.
Their sauce was very thin and sweet, which made me think they'd used a lot of canned tomatoes in it. It tasted kind of like tomato juice and vinegar.
If you’re interested, you can also check out these older threads that mention Crosstown:
I'll third that, Crosstown BBQ is my favorite in Elgin. If you haven;t tried it, I highly recommend the BBQ chicken. I don;t know what they do to it, but everytime I have had it, it had been extremely moist without being super greasy. I also really like their ribs, and I prefer their sausage to Mayer's. I still like Southside's sausage, but not necessarily more than Crosstown. I'm not too hot on their sauce, but it doesn't matter too much to me, because I don't think their BBQ needs sauce. I want to try their mutton sometime.
Just thought I'd add to this post since I went Elgin in search of Crosstown BBQ, it isn't there anymore. The spot has been replaced by Richard's Back Porch BBQ, and it was pretty good. We got there late in the day and the BBQ was still fresh and tasty, however we missed out on the pork ribs. I've never been to Meyer's or Southside Market, but they would have a hard time beating Richard's BBQ.