Something is happening in Chicago, perhaps all over the country. Smoked pork is popping up all over creation and I for one, see it as a sign that God loves me.
It bothers me that bacon is somehow trendy. It bothers me that there’s a bar in Chicago that on Monday nights, allows patrons to buy a basket of bacon for $5. Any establishment that will sell a basket of crappy Oscar Mayer cheap bacon, overcooks it, doesn’t blot it and feeds it like slop to the masses should be run out of town naked and covered in honey and fire ants. Little harsh? That depends on how you feel about transgressions against the pig and vigilante justice I guess.
The arguably more legit way to worship the pig is via the smoker, the sauce and the slaw. Pulled pork is my thing, but I know there are brisket folks out there let alone the rib people. My jury is still out regarding St Louis vs baby back, though I think I lean more towards the St Louis. I feel like you get more for your money, and depending on where you get them the fat layer isn’t so overwhelming (though I can see why people aren’t into them).
Tonight my friend Grace and I went to a new bbq joint on the south side called Honkey Tonk BBQ which was good, the pork was really delicious and tender, but they didn’t smoke it for long enough or correctly. There was no smoke ring, and the only smoke smell was in the air and inexplicably, on my skin afterwards. They’re trying, they’re trying to do it right if not slightly unconventionally, such as serving the items on untoasted cibata bread, but they have to get the kinks hammered out. I love that they’re trying though, and if you find yourself in Chicago you should check it out along with the others I’m linking.
Grace owns her own operation out of Galewood, IL, which is a cute little neighborhood west of the city. She operates a converted Winnebago RV our friend Ryan made into a mobile kitchen. She drives the Pig Rig to the Logan Square Farmer’s Market once a month in the summer and sells her amazing smoked pork and pork nachos along with Mexican Cokes and other goodies. Friends help her sell, and it’s always a ton of fun. It’s one of my favorite things about summer, actually.
Check these places out if you ever find yourself in or near Chicago. We know what we’re doing!
Honkey Tonk BBQ
Hot Doug (not all pork, but delicious encased meats nonetheless)
Kuma’s Corner (specifically the Pig Detroyer, but all their food is beyond amazing)