Barry Sorkin might not fit the profile of a barbecue impresario. He grew up on the North Shore in a family that didn't cook much. His first barbecue revelation occurred as a teen when co-workers brought in lunch from Hecky’s Barbecue in Evanston. Transfixed, he followed the smell down a 60-foot long hallway to snag a single taste. It was all he thought about for the rest of the day.
But fast forward decades later and Sorkin is now the owner and chef of Smoque, a BBQ joint in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood complete with its own BBQ manifesto. Lauded for their smoky meats and fresh sides, Smoque has picked up a lot of attention and accolades in the three years it’s been open. Sorkin’s success has shocked him; his restaurant now goes through over 300 slabs of ribs and 75 briskets a night.
Sorkin shared the story of Smoque’s origins with an audience assembled by Culinary Historians of Chicago in July. Among the stories he offered up was one about the surprising influence his restaurant has had on barbecue culture and technique in three short years. You can hear the story in the audio excerpt posted above, and check out the podcast for a longer excerpt of Sorkin’s delightful talk.
Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Barry Sorkin spoke to an audience assembled by Culinary Historians of Chicago this past July. Click here to hear the event in its entirety, and click here to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast.