Friday, October 23, 2009

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoque-ing Barrels

On Tuesday, I went to Smoque BBQ, which is definitely the best barbeque place in the city.  I've never eaten bbq in some of the more famous areas (Kansas City, North Carolina, Texas, etc.), but if they can offer food that is better than Smoque, then they deserve the fame. 

Smoque is located at 3800 N. Pulaski in Chicago.  Visit its website at  It is right next to the I-90 Pulaski exit, so that makes it easy to get to.  The only downside; however, is that parking can sometimes be difficult when the weather is nice because Smoque gets very crowded and is surrounded by permit parking/angry neighbors who don't like you parking in front of their houses.

Fortunately, the day I was there was rainy and cold, so there were not many people in line and parking was fine.  The menu has only a few choices, but everything is so delicious that it is difficult to make a decision.  If I could eat 5 trays of food, I would not have such trouble (except for the inevitable heart attack), but sadly, I cannot pack that much away.  After some intense deliberation and a little nervous crying, I settled on the pulled pork platter (and its accompanying alliteration).  Each of Smoque's meats come with a different bbq sauce that is made in-house specifically for that type of meat.  The pulled pork sauce is very vinegary, peppery, and has a pretty big note of lime.  The tartness of the sauce cuts straight through the fattiness of the pork and it balances perfectly with the sweetness and smokiness of the meat.  Unlike most pulled pork available in this area, Smoque's is not dry at all.  The platter is served with two side dishes.  My favorite sides are the maccaroni and cheese and the fries.  The mac and cheese has a lightly crisp topping of bread crumbs covering elbow macccaroni that is all baked with a tangy cheese sauce that has a slightly chalky (in a good way) texture.  The mac tastes exactly how I imagine the dirty South to feel, if that makes any sense.  The fries are hand-cut and perfectly crisp.  They are served in a big, brown paper bag, and I'm almost positive that even Joey Chestnut could not finish the entire serving.  Here is the platter, for your viewing pleasure.  I don't eat cole slaw for some reason, so please ignore my non-review of it (I'm sure its delicious).

Smoque is BYOB (with no corkage fee), but for some reason I always forget about this perk.  A jammy and peppery zinfandel would be very nice with the pulled pork.  Even though a zin would be a nice choice, I think I would stick to beer, since I imagine barbeque, beer, and backyard (again with the alliteration) to be all part of the same package.  If I brought a beer, it would be a creamy, mellow, and slightly sweet ale, like a Goose Island Matilda or a LaChouffe Blonde Ale.  I think that law school frowns on drinking before class, so even if I had remembered, it would not have worked out...though Evidence might be a bit more fun.  As always, check it out, you won't be disappointed.  Let me know what you think!

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