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Feb 12, 2008 07:59 AM

Best Barbeque in Chicago?

Howdy everyone.

I'm flying up for business from Austin in late February and want to know where to go for some BBQ that will knock me on my sorry butt. I usually go for the dry BBQ from Texas but am equally down with sauce as well. I love good brisket and links, but am mainly into pork ribs. Great sides are a plus (let me know about them too!), as is good beer on tap. The only place I have been is the Smoke Daddy, which I really enjoyed, but I want to try something new.

Thanks guys and gals!


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  1. This topic has been debated alot lately. Ill give my favorite, and be leave the debate to others.

    My favorite is Honey 1. Great ribs, rib tips, and hot links from a smoker(not baked, or boiled as some places in Chicago will prepare ribs & try to pass it off as bbq instead of the meat jello it is). The smell of smoke smacks you in the face for blocks away. No cold beer on tap, but byob, with a liquor store right across the street.

    Honey 1 BBQ
    2241 N. Western
    Chicago, IL.

    enjoy your visit.

    1. There are lots of debates, but no consensus. There are plenty of places to try, of various styles.

      My personal favorite is Carson's, downtown and in north suburban Deerfield, with slow-smoked ribs tasting of barbecue sauce and a nice chew on the bone, still tender but not a lot of fat. Carson's also has the best cole slaw in the world, and other sides (e.g. twice-baked potato) are excellent as well.

      I recently tried Smoque, and thought the barbecue was very good too, but a different style - strong smoke taste, with a dry rub, no taste of barbecue sauce. If you like that style, it's a good place to try. I thought the sides there were awful though, with hard slaw and greasy fries. Beware long lines.

      You can read lots more recommendations in the extensive discussion at

      1. Coming from Austin and looking for q?? I'm a little baffled, but anyway - If you are looking for take out, in a gritty part of town, I think Uncle John's trumps Honey 1. Strictly take out, but they know what to do with ribs, tips, and hot links. It's also a little bit of a hike from the main part of the city, but it might be worth it if the description fits the bill.
        Uncle John's BBQ
        337 E 69th Street
        Chicago, IL 60619
        Mon - Thurs 11am - 11pm
        Fri - Sat 11am - 1am

        6 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          I still have to make it down to Uncle John's, darn take-out only is whats holding me back. Perhaps this summer.

          1. re: swsidejim

            It's one of my only places to get q in this city. Sure, there are a few others that are good, but if i'm gonna spend $ on q, it's gotta be real good - we both know how much spares and tips cost. Plus, I hate to spend that kind of $ on something like that when I can do it at home for far less money, and then if the product is sub par - I just get downright pissed off. UJ's puts out a tip/link combo that I would actually pay more than they offer it for. You can tell when someone actually cares about their q, and when somebody is doing it halfhearted. Lol - sorry for going overboard, but I really like Uj's product.

            1. re: gordeaux

              Thanks guys!

              I always like to try BBQ from other parts of the country, NC, Chicago, St Louis, Memphis, etc. I still haven't found many as good as what we have here in Central Texas. We are blessed with 20 + incredible bbq places. Thanks for the suggestions, I'm going to try to hit a few of them.

              1. re: Dave in Dripping Springs

                I'd go for Uncle John's, just because it sums up the Chicago style of BBQ-- the big glass smoker, ribtips and links as the primary (maybe only) choice, location in a nowhere South Side hood. I think it's unlikely you'll find it better than what you have in Austin, but you'll find it interesting in its own right.

                Things like Carson's, Twin Anchors, etc. are popular, and that's a Chicago style too, but you're likely to be one of those people who say they aren't true barbecue, since they're cooked in an oven, not over woodsmoke.

                1. re: Morton Arthur Eaton

                  Carson's ribs are slow cooked in a traditional barbecue pit smoker, with smoke and low heat from hickory off to the side.

                  1. re: Morton Arthur Eaton

                    I have to second this motion. If you're coming from Texas, don't look for Texas BBQ in Chicago. You're just going to be disappointed. Give Chicago BBQ a try. Go to Uncle John's or Honey 1 and get tips and links.

          2. Merle's in Evanston, 1727 Benson Ave. | Evanston, IL 60201 | 847.475.7766 will be close to what you are familiar with. I have been there a few times and I like it. And what they feed you is generally a lot as well.

            1. Forget Carsons as it's mediocre at best!! Bleh! I hear that Uncle Bub's in the burbs is decent. I prefer to slow smoke my own baby backs and spare's on my BIG GREEN EGG....hmmmm tasty!!!!

              I'm heading to San Antonio for a few months in the fall so I'm looking forward to some Texas Q!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: amoncada

                I agree, forget Carsons. Uncle Bub's is ok, nowhere near Honey 1, or Smoque, but 100X better than chains like Famous Dave's, or Carsons.