Top 5 rib joints in Chicago

December 23, 2010


Serious smokin' goin' on at Uncle John's on the South Side (photo: Joseph Storch) 

All week long, we're re-running some of our favorite "Top 5"s from the past year.  These are the ones that stirred the most debate and ignited the most passion among you.  Since we dealt with the overrated ribs yesterday, it's time to move on to our favorites today.  Enjoy.

There have been more BBQ joint openings in Chicago over the past few weeks than there have been Cubs losses. Pork Shoppe, Smokey Bear's BBQ House, Rub BBQ Co. Lillie's Q - all of them offering ribs and pork (and sometimes brisket), but sadly, most of them haven't mastered their smokers yet. I thought now was as good a time as any to weigh in with some of my favorites.

1. Smoque 3800 North Pulaski Road, (773) 545-7427 Say what you will about a couple of white guys from the North Side, but their‚ manifesto says it all: they practice what they preach.

2. Uncle John's BBQ 339 East 69th Street, (773) 892-1233 With hands as big as tree trunks, Mac Sevier treats his ribs with great care, working his smoker like Perlman works a Stradivarius.

3. Fat Willy's 2416 West Schubert Avenue, (773) 782-1800 Who would have thought a Vietnamese girl named Bo could turn ribs into sublime pleasure?

4. Barbara Ann's 7617 South Cottage Grove Avenue, (773) 651-5300 Mac (see #2) was the former pitmaster here, but his progeny continue to churn out smoke-kissed ribs with great texture.

5. Lillie's Q 1856 North Avenue, (773) 772-5500 The only newcomer in my top 5, with ribs that have just the right tug and chew, a respectable smoke ring and perhaps the best house sauce in town.

Honorable Mention: BBQ ZoneSmoke Daddy‚ Honey 1‚ Honky Tonk BBQ


Mac Sevier of Uncle John's BBQ (photo: Joseph Storch)