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Smoque in Chicago

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    Smoque in Chicago

    We were in Chitown last week, and I wanted to eat at Smoque. So, Me and Mrs and my sis and her husband headed over to Pulaski St!

    And, oh my goodness. I have a new standard to shoot for.

    The restaurant has a great bbq look and feel to it. You go to the register, order your food, and it gets brought to your table. We all ordered brisket, and a rack of ribs to share, along with cole slaws, beans, mac & cheese, fries, and desserts of peach cobbler and pecan bread pudding.

    Now, I make good brisket. I've been to places that serve brisket, and mine is as good as theirs. It's better than many, not as good as some, but in general, I can stand next to my brisket and serve it with confidence.

    The brisket at Smoque makes mine taste like lunch meat. Like cheap baloney. And I mean that. The brisket at Smoque is an order of magnitude better than mine. I like bbq sauce. I like meat without sauce, but I like sauce, too, and the two together, well it's usually pretty good. But this brisket was so good, I didn't even think about putting sauce on it. It was like prime rib brisket, so tender, so moist, so beautiful in taste and mouth feel. Mrs and I have eaten at some pretty amazing restaurants over our almost 30 years together; this ranks right up there with CUT at The Palazzo in Las Vegas, with Brown's Beach House in Hawaii, with SW at The Wynn, with just about anything I can remember.

    The ribs were excellent, mine come pretty close though (following the AR recipe with some tweaks). The sides were, how can I say it? Fun. The mac & cheese was super cheesy, the beans had big chunks of meat and flavor, the cole slaw was vinegary, not milky (I liked it that way, Mrs did not). The fries were really good. The desserts, we were already stuffed but we forced them down anyhow. The bread pudding was absolutely great. The peach cobbler was also absolutely great. We're glad we had them, at the cost of feeling downright Thanksgiving'd out!

    I haven't eaten brisket in Texas, but my opinion is that ranking art is insulting to the artists, and demeans the artistic process. So it can't be compared to Texas brisket. This is damn good food, and if you're in Chicago you gotta try it.

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    Great review. I had no idea their brisket would be that good. The ribs being great is not surprising. And that Mac N' Cheese sounds incredible!

    And I agree with you on ranking art!

    Thanks for sharing your experience!


      I guess I'm spoiled. In three apartments in Chicago, I've lived within 2 miles of Smoque constantly.

      Wife is the brisket connoisseur, and loves their brisket, but does put sauce on it, because she sauces everything. I like the ribs, and I also get a Texas Hot Link, because they round it out. I've always found the sides to be on point, but not really remarkable. I think they highlight the meat, more than stand out, which, for me, is perfect.

      Wife agrees with you on the coleslaw... IIRC, it's her favorite ever. The downtown outpost isn't quite up to snuff, imho, so while I work across the street from it, I never go.

      Glad you had a good time.


        Barry is the man. He puts sugar in his brisket rub, and so do I....along with 13 other things, I think it's 13.


          Thanx for the review.


            Hmmm, it seems I must travel to Chicago. Sounds great!


              Yea I’ve heard his cue is the bomb....gotta make it up home one of these days,


                Oooh so close Mosca. Ya got me thinking.


                  Barry revealed his secret to me. He said they "do it with love".


                    I'll be in Chicago in August. A stop at Smoque is on the list after this review, thanks!


                      I gotta make a note in my book of places to go incase i'm in the neighborhood..


                        My BBQ obsession began when I travelled to Texas regularly. Smoque's brisket is the only brisket I've had outside Texas that is as good as Texas brisket. There is another Chicago BBQ place called Greet St Meats that is reported to be Smoque's equal. I haven't been there yet.


                          I can tell you I have been to Smoque many a times as well as had their food at catered events. FANTASTIC.

                          The only drawback to the place is the wait. The joint is small and gets packed quickly. As one can imagine, the weekends tend to even busier. Its not uncommon to wait 30 minutes to 1.5/2 hours for food. In the summer it isn't too bad to wait outside in the line. If coming in the cooler months, dress accordingly.

                          If coming to Chi-Town, this is a must stop. My city might not be known for great BBQ, but this is a gem!


                          • Potkettleblack
                            Potkettleblack commented
                            Editing a comment
                            It’s funny that we’re not known for it, as there are a number of good places, and the bubble has kind of popped, so some of the less good places have shaken out.

                          I made sure to hit Smoque last fall when I was in Chicago. I was impressed. Being from Texas and having eaten some good brisket there, (Evie Maie's, Cattleack BBQ, Black's) this is comparable. I am not a Texas brisket snob. I've had excellent brisket in Huntsville, AL (Chuckwagon BBQ), Jacksonville, Fl (Mojo's BBQ), and right here in Clarksville, TN (my backyard and Mission BBQ). Smoque can hang with the best of them, and I wear my Smoque BBQ t-shirt with pride.



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