Posts Tagged ‘bbq’

Windy City Smokeout Logo

Last year was my first time attending The Windy City Smokeout – and it was AWESOME!! It’s this giant 3 day country music and bbq fest by the Chicago River. There’s tons of bbq vendors from all over the country, and plenty of beer and country music. The headliners this year include Phil Vassar, Chase Rice, Big & Rich, Billy Currington, Maren Morris & (my fav!!) Old Dominion. It’s coming up next weekend, July 15-17, and trust me, you definitely want to go. Plus, I can get you discounted tickets to the Windy City Smokeout – today only!!

WINDY CITY SMOKEOUT (2)

Today only, you can get tickets to the Windy City Smokeout for $75 instead of $110. Just use promo code “DINING” when adding tickets to your cart. It’s a little tricky, so pay close attention:

  1. Get your tickets here: www.windycitysmokeout.com/tickets
  2. BEFORE adding tickets to your cart, add promo code DINING in the promo code box, and click on the arrow in the promo code box.
  3. $75 3 day discounted tickets will show up as an option underneath. Choose these :)
  4. Enjoy the heck out of the fest!!

If you’re still in doubt, check out this awesome video from last year’s Smokeout:

You can follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more updates and awesomeness!

Pertinent details: Windy City Smokeout | July 15-17, 2016 | Music schedule | 560 W. Grand, Chicago, IL | Tickets (don’t forget to use DINING for $35 off!)

wcs_facebook_image
Windy City Smokeout (1)
Windy City Smokeout (3)
Windy City Smokeout (4)

Please follow and like us:
Share

We arrived starving. It was finally Friday night in one of those long, nose-to-the-grindstone workweeks, the kind exacerbated by perpetually gloomy, freezing weather (side note – what’s up with the wind lately?!) and an adherence to a strict diet, a reminder that your soon-to-be 35 year-old metabolism finally called it quits and broke up with you, leaving you with the bittersweet memories of better days where you didn’t have to spend all of your free time tediously tracking every last living calorie into MyFitnessPal, and hell to pay on the scale if you dare surpass your paltry 1200 cal threshold.

porkchop chicago

Photo courtesy of Dish Destination

Carbs and calories be damned, we were going to eat some bbq. And while we were going to blog about it, we were not going to track it…or at least I wasn’t. I don’t know what Chrissy did.

Like I said, I was starving, and we (Chrissy, my blog wife and author of the incomparable Hungary Buddha Eats the World and I) arrived per the wonderful world of super famous food blogger networking to interview the restaurateur behind Porkchop Chicago, and dig in to some meats.

Now, when I say “proprietor of barbecue restaurants” what sort of mental picture do you conjure up? I, for one, think of someone perhaps Southern, someone who’s grown up on the stuff, with recipes passed down through the generations, guarded more closely than Bush’s secret family recipe for baked beans. I do not, however, think of a charming, pasta-loving Frenchman, with a soft spot for his former career in the mortgage and real estate industries, but that’s exactly who’s bringing you the incredible barbecue at Porkchop Chicago.

Jovanis Bouargoub moved to the U.S. and upon arriving, held almost every job possible in the restaurant industry. Having spent some time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Bouragoub knew his way around the kitchen, and when he came to Chicago, knew after first driving down Chicago’s Restaurant Row

Jovanis Bouragoub

Photo courtesy of Yelp

on Randolph, that he would open his own restaurant there one day. After talking to him, he made it sound as easy as “I wanted to, so I did.” This was a common theme throughout the interview, and this line of thinking gave rise to Porkchop, established in 2011, the Frenchman’s take on a deeply enshrined American food tradition.

This was Chrissy and I’s first tag-team interview, and I’ve gotta say, we’re obviously destined for great things in this arena. As you’ll remember, I was STARVING, but the time flew by with Jovanis – he’s one of those people who genuinely loves what he does, with a warm, infectious spirit that is synonymous with the connotations of a good barbecue meal.

We learned a lot about the restaurateur during our sit-down, with Bouragoub speaking in memorable bytes such as “The food should look good, smell good, and taste better,” and “I’d double park for Stan’s Donuts” (PREACH). Here a few other things that are good to know about the man behind the meats.

C&K: Coming from a French background, what attracted you to barbecue? Is there a certain type of barbecue you’re serving at Porkchop, and how did you decide on the type to serve?

Bouragoub: I loved eating barbecue when I got to the U.S. Barbecue seemed like a challenge, because there are so many different styles, but I didn’t want to do one style or another – I wanted to start with a base, and then come up with my own recipes. What we do here is unique to this restaurant, and because I’m French, I did feel like I had something to prove.

C&K: What are some of the new trends in cooking and bbq that you hope to capitalize on at Porkchop?

Bouragoub: We do things a little differently around here – we experiment frequently with menu items, and we’re not afraid to have a wide menu selection, as long as it all tastes good and is obviously high quality. This has led to certain things you’re not going to find in every barbecue joint, including fried ribs, rib tips, bbq short rib and smoked fish. A few years ago we were challenged by Absolut Vodka to use their Chicago vodka [with olive and rosemary flavors] in a recipe or dish. It actually led to our Chicago sauce.

C&K: Well, that all sounds delicious, but what is your FAVORITE thing on the menu?

At this point it became clear that, like a father with his children, he wasn’t going to play favorites with his menu items, but we did get the marketing director’s opinion – hers is the fried chicken and cornbread with honey butter.

C&K: Ok, so you love all the food here, we get it, but what’s the best thing to drink with barbecue?

Bouragoub: Whiskey. Without a doubt. Porkchop is a whiskey bar with great barbecue. It doesn’t have to be your favorite drink, but it just goes really well with the menu. [Porkchop also teamed up with Angel’s Envy to create their own signature batch of bourbon.]

Porkchop Food Truck

Photo Courtesy of Rachelle Smiles

C&K: We know you’ve taken your food to the streets with a food truck. What’s happening with the truck, and what are some of the highlights?

Bouragoub: We’ve had the truck now for three years, and it was one of the first trucks that was licensed to be able to cook on-board. We’ve taken it to The Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, we do weddings, graduations and private events. We have a lot of fun with it.

C&K: When you’re out of your restaurants, do you cook much for yourself at home?

Bouragoub: Sometimes. I think everyone should cook and know how to do the basics. For me, I love pasta, it’s something we grew up eating regularly, and can be difficult to get right. If you make a dish and can eat it even when you’re not hungry, then you know you’ve created something good. [More on the pasta at the end, keep reading!]

C&K: Besides your own, what are some of the other restaurants in Chicago you love?

Bouragoub: I love breakfast and brunch, especially French toast. Sometimes we’ll go to Marmalade [a considerable hike, considering he lives in Hyde Park], we like Yolk and pancake houses in general.

C&K: So you like the sweet stuff. What are your junk foods of choice?

Bouragoub: Listen, no one in America is safe from junk food. It’s everywhere, and I’ve got small kids, we eat it. But I’ll tell you what – donuts, especially Stan’s, the Nutella one. The first time I drove by Stan’s, I thought “what is this?” and I double parked to go inside and check it out. I got the Nutella donut, and I thought “this isn’t going to be good, this isn’t going to be the real deal,” but let me tell you something – do yourself a favor and just get two of them right away. One to eat now, and the other to eat…right after.

C&K: And finally, if you could eat dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would you pick and what you have?

Bouragoub: Pasta. With bread. With Obama. I mean, he’s the President of the United States, you can’t really beat that.

And there you have it, folks. A guy from France, creating what I dare say is Chicago-style barbecue.

So, how did the barbecue stack up? Well, I whole-heartedly admit that this is one of my new favorite bbq places in the city, and having been around for 5 years, it’s not exactly new on the scene. How have I missed this?!

We started with the fried pickles and mac & cheese with pulled pork. Beers in hand (sorry, I’m not a whiskey lady, or maybe even a “lady” in general #notalady), we dug in.

Fried Pickles

Mac & Cheese Porkchop Chicago

Oh, yeah. This was not going in MyFitnessPal. It was DELICIOUS. Truly the best thing I’d eaten all week, which wasn’t exactly hard to top, but the mac & cheese hit all the right notes – creamy and cheesy, delicious smoked meat, perfect to be sauced. Oh, and the sauces at Porkchop?  They’re all thick, which is just how I like my sauces. Chrissy and I both loved the aforementioned Chicago sauce – the one made with vodka. Figures. The fried pickle slices were just a tad too thick for my liking, but the ranch that came with them was quite excellent.

For the main event, we chose the fried chicken sandwich and bbq short rib. I wasn’t expecting what showed up on our table.

BBQ Short Rib - Porkchop

That is a prehistoric chunk of man meat right there, but since we’ve already established that we’re not the “lady” type of ladies, we tore into it, with true devour power. So insanely good. The meat had more chew than I was expecting for a short rib, but in a most-excellent way, and the fried chicken was about as perfect as you could imagine. Obviously we were no longer starving, and decided to skip dessert, which for C and I, is practically unheard of. A restaurant that leaves me too full for dessert is a true winner.

Basically, I can’t wait to go back, and with six locations and a food truck, it’s likely that I’ll be able to find a Porkchop to satisfy my need for amazing Chicago bbq just around the corner.

Porkchop’s flagship restaurant is located at 941 W Randolph | Chicago, Illinois, with locations in the Loop, South Loop, Hyde Park & Navy Pier, and their newest location in Glenwood. Porkchop Chicago | 312.733.9333

Hey, hey, remember when I told you earlier that Jovanis’s favorite thing to make is pasta? Well, he was nice enough to share his recipe for Cajun Fettuccine with Chrissy, who nailed it in her kitchen, AND I got to eat it with her last night, and I can assure you, it’s super scrumptious.

CAJUN FETTUCCINECajun Pasta

Visit Chrissy over at The Hungary Buddha for the Cajun Fettuccine recipe!

Please follow and like us:
Share

The TL;DR version: if you like meats, if you like bbq, if you like good bbq’ed meats, make the trip to Green Street Smoked Meats.

Green Street Smoked Meats has been on my to-do list for a few months. I had a chance to go a few weeks ago when my best friend was in town. Despite living in Nashville, she visits often enough that the list of places she hasn’t been to in my neighborhood is growing quite small. We both are the type of awesome ladies who like to try new things, so Green Street popped into my head and we were off to try some smoked meats.

We met another friend around 5:30 on a Friday, and the place was already half full. Oh, and the place is cool-done-right. The lighting is dim, the bouncers (are they bouncers?) look 10 years younger and 10x cooler than you’ve ever been, and the whole vibe is very let’s throw back some good booze and bbq. The seating is communal picnic tables around a central bar with a separate line for food. I advise the threesome team approach – one person holds the table, one person at the bar, one person in line for the meats.

Green Street Smoked Meats Interior

Photo credit: Thrillist Chicago

My friend and I started with margarita (fresh and punch-packing), and our other friend (a GSSM veteran) took care of the meat ordering. We ended up with the pulled pork, chicken legs, chopped beef brisket, potato salad and pickles. The meats are served with white bread and two sauce options are available on the side – a mild and a spicy bbq. As a happy accident, my friend intended to order the sliced brisket and ended up with the chopped – he said it was even better than the sliced; I’ve never had the sliced, but the chopped brisket was my favorite thing on the plate tray. I can’t speak to the chicken legs, as these were all for the BFF. I can say that we weren’t sure what’d we’d get since the menu just read “Chicken Leg – $6,” and it included 3 pieces of chicken. It looked great, but can’t personally confirm.

Green Street Smoked Meats BBQ

The meats are so, so good. I love my neighborhood bbq, Lillie’s Q, but Green Street is serious competition. The meat is smoky, flavorful, and really couldn’t be shoveled into my mouth fast enough. The chopped brisket is without a doubt my highest recommendation. The pickles were tangy and a perfect complement to the pulled pork on white bread. The potato salad – I mean, just look at it. It’s the perfect mix of mayo-y to potato-y. There are rolls of paper towels on the tables to mop up your messy, bbq’ed, potato salad’ed self.

Other notable items – there is a secret ramen shop in the basement, and there’s going to be a line. Conveniently, there are some (obviously cool) risers for people to sit on, which somehow reminded me of people waiting to perform in a middle school talent show. I kept waiting for them to bust into song. When you’re done eating, roll yourself out of the picnic table and finish your night off right with an old fashioned from the Doughnut Vault truck, parked right outside. I’d never had Doughnut Vault before either, so this trip really fed two birds with one scone.

All in all, if anyone ever suggests going to Green Street, just say yes. If no one suggests it, take yourself.

Author’s note: Green Street Smoked Meats is another in the list of Midas Touch Brendan Sodikoff restaurants. 

Please follow and like us:
Share

I really meant to post my take on Lillie’s Q a lot earlier – as in May, after we ate there for my birthday. But, naturally I didn’t – partly because I’m lazy, and partly because I was really trying to forget my friend quite literally drinking the extra ranch dressing that came with the fried pickles. Trying to forget not because I was disgusted; no, trying to forget because I was mad I didn’t think of it first.

That’s right, kids. Lillie’s Q is so delicious it will having you contemplating drinking the extra ranch and slurping up their delicious variety of sauces on the meat of your choice…especially after you’ve had a few of their moonshine cocktails, and have an innate problem with self restraint around bbq (or food in general, booze, etc…)

This particular trip to Lillie’s Q occurred yesterday (I know, I’m as shocked as you are with the timely follow-through) after a particularly grueling 7 mile run. As I told you last time, in between finding new roommates, perfecting my tan and stuffing my face with bbq, I’m training for a 7 mile race. So, on Saturday morning I was up early, trotting down the mean streets of the city, getting passed by everyone, including the very young and the elderly, panting, sweating, praying for an early death, etc…but the important part is that I finished it. And as we all know, there is no better reward for the slowest endurance run ever than a gigantic plate of pulled meat. So I met my friend Trevor at Lillie’s Q to collect my prize.

We started off the meal with a frosty beer. Now, one of the best parts of Lillie’s Q is the feeling of being transported to a quaint southern kitchen (the chef was inspired by old family recipes), with Mason jars as the choice of glass, and flour sack dishtowels for napkins.

Lillie's Q, Chicago, IL

The quaint southern theme is perfectly executed in the small touches and, of course, in the menu choices. Diners can pick their choice of many southern-style appetizers to start, including the fried pickles (drink try the ranch!), hush puppies, boiled peanuts and even the staple of the south: pimento cheese. We didn’t have an appetizer this time, opting to go right for the meat and delicious sides.

Making a decision in the main course is tough – pulled pork, pulled chicken, hot links, ribs, bbq chicken and tri-tip all grace the menu. But if you know nothing else about me, know this – I’m a sucker for pulled pork. I opted for the 1/2 pound of pork, and Trevor chose the southern style pulled pork sandwich (coleslaw on top is what makes it southern). We went back and forth debating which sides to get (no sides are included), but we finally settled on the baked beans and cornbread.

As the lunch hour went on, the busier it got. While we were able to have our pick of tables when we got there, be advised that this place fills up, especially on weekend nights, so be prepared for a wait. They will take your number and call you when your table’s ready, so continue on with your tour of the south and pop on over to The Southern for a drink while you wait.

Besides the Mason jars and napkins, the main courses are served on metal trays covered with brown paper and the sides are served in miniature cast irons. Adorable!

Lillie's Q Pulled Pork

And the very best part:

Lillie's Q BBQ sauces

The sauces! Ivory, Carolina, Carolina Gold, Smoky and Hot Smoky – there’s a sauce for everyone. The first time we ate there, the general consensus was that everyone really was digging the Carolina Gold, which is more of a mustard-based sauce. I think it’s ok, but prefer the mustard-based sauce at Honky Tonk to Lillie’s. I really like the Smoky – it’s a little bit sweet, and despite its name, isn’t overwhelming with smoke flavor.

The sauces really complemented my giant tray of meat (awesome!!):

Lillie's Q Pulled Pork

Trevor’s sandwich looked pretty great, too:

Lillie's Q Pulled Pork Sandwich

And let’s talk about the sides:

Lillie's Q baked beans

That white stuff in the jar – it’s butter. Delicious, delicious honey butter for the cornbread. The cornbread was good – nothing too special, but the giant jar of butter more than made up for it. At one point, I was buttering my meat (which is so good it doesn’t need anything, but try the sauces – not the butter – first). That might be as bad, if not worse, than drinking the ranch dressing…I’m not sure. The baked beans are a must try – trust me.

If you haven’t been to Lillie’s Q yet, put it on your list of restaurants to try soon. The bbq is truly delicious and the ambiance is unique. They have a full bar with many craft beers, but if you’re looking for a mixed drink, try one of the moonshine cocktails.

Lillie’s Q is located in Bucktown/Wicker Park at 1856 W. North Avenue in Chicago, IL.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Please follow and like us:
Share