Chicago is second city to no one when it comes to meat – we’ve got the history, the brands, and the appetite to take on anyone. But while we’ve got hot dogs, burgers, and steaks down cold, Chicago offers some meat experiences that even the most experienced tailgater might not know about.
712 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
The owner’s specialty appetizer Moji won’t show up in any culinary dictionary – that’s because it’s a slang term for the Adriatic regional dish known as Cervipcici. But the Moji adds a curveball to the mix – unlike the traditional mix of lamb and pork, the Moji throws in veal for a triple play. The links are charred and served with raw onions and Havar sauce – which gets its name from the Turkish word for caviar. Don’t worry – the only thing this red pepper and eggplant relish has in common with fish eggs is that it adds plenty of class to the dish.
3324 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
Doug Sohn has managed to make his name nearly synonymous with “encased meats” – quite the feat in a meatpacking town like Chicago. When the epic lines that form outside the tiny restaurant finally reach the menus, they’re greeted by a jackalope in sunglasses announcing Doug’s wildest fare: the Game of the Week. The menu changes according to Doug’s whim, but the rotating cast of savory treats has included the Mountain Man Sausage (a combination of venison, antelope, buffalo and elk with cherry-vodka sauce and goat cheese) as well as an ostrich sausage with blackberry-fig mustard and venison pate.
2152 North Damen
Chicago, IL 60647
While The Bristol does offer an appetizer called “Monkey Bread”, don’t get the wrong idea – it’s simian-free. What you will find on the Chris Pandel’s constantly changing menu is an animal – almost all of it. Sheep, cattle, and goats are bought whole and butchered in-house, allowing Pandel and his chefs to make and serve charcuterie offerings including sweetbreads, tripe, and other offal. The Bristol means it when they say they go whole-hog: there’s even roasted bone marrow on the menu.
3501 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
If you want to make your own feast, skip the middleman and go right for the butcher. Paulina Market sells wild game, offal, and even prepared frozen entrees if there’s no time to cook. And if you’ve got a group of friends ready to meet the challenge invite the whole gang over: they sell pre-made turduckens.
Dan Morgridge is a writer in Chicago’s Ukranian Village. He enjoys eating and drinking above his means, finding new music, and socially conscious hedonism.