Forget deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. The Windy City is increasingly becoming known for its barbecue joints. While many of the restaurants have been influenced by the South and recipes that have been passed down for generations, they’ve also found a way to make barbecue their own. From long-established restaurants that have been open for decades to places that have just recently made a name for themselves, there’s a wide array of barbecue restaurants to choose from, starting with this list. Want more options for mouthwateringly good BBQ? Check out these five hot spots, both old and new.
2755 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
It’s all about classic barbecue, as well as a few modern takes on old favorites, at this unassuming barbecue restaurant in Avondale. Place your order for St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken and even brisket tacos, among other dishes, and then pull up a seat in this restaurant that’s been recommended multiple times by the Michelin Guide. Don’t overlook the sides either, from the creamy mac and cheese to the sweet and spicy cornbread. All of this goes smashingly well with the bourbon selection (as well as a few choice beers). Food delivery is also available.
1625 W. Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60613
Go big at this Lakeview barbecue joint while enjoying your favorite sports games on a plethora of flat screen TVs. One of the older barbecue joints in town, it’s been hawking “Flintstone-sized” ribs for over 65 years, it has an established menu that favors a variety of meats, including things wrapped in bacon, pork entrees, sliders and burgers. The PIggery also has some good ol’ pub food as well, including tilapia tacos, salads, pizza and sandwiches. But this restaurant/bar is best known for its thick and juicy ribs, which are perfectly paired with a homemade barbecue sauce. Get a full slab of these ribs for just $14.99 every Tuesday, along with fries and slaw. Any other day? You’re still looking at a reasonable $15.99 for a half slab, and $21.99 for a full.
1655 N. Sedgwick St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Experience a piece of history when you swing by this famous Lincoln Park square restaurant that’s been family owned and operated (by various families) since 1932. While it has been profiled by a number of magazines over the years, frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra and used as a film setting in “Return to Me” and “The Dark Knight,” this is best known for its zesty ribs. Grab a full slab for just $22 and a half slab for $16.50. Have a hankering for other barbecue dishes? Twin Anchors also has tender, slow-roasted chicken.
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1856 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Come for the fried pickles and special house-made barbecue sauces (based on old family recipes) at this Wicker Park restaurant, and stay for the array of mouthwatering Southern dishes. The menu features a variety of meats like pulled pork, a tri-tip sandwich, chicken and hot links from renowned Chef Charlie McKenna, as well as some “non-q” dishes that are also influenced by the South, like shrimp and grits. Pair these entrees with an array of craft beers, and it’s a match made in heaven. Lillie’s Q also offers some of its delectable dishes in the French Market located in the Loop. Its famous sauces can also be purchased separately at both locations.
112 N. Green St.
Chicago, IL 60607
It’s impossible to go wrong with a barbecue restaurant that’s from the same creators as Au Cheval and Doughnut Vault. Plus, it has an enormous cast steel smoker that makes a huge array of meat, from brisket, pork ribs and pork belly to chicken legs and short ribs. You’ll also find tamales, frito pie and even salmon and oysters. While this is plenty of food, you’ll also get your choice of sides, including a delectable mac and cheese, broccoli salad and baked beans, to name just a few. Get all of this and more by heading to this discreet alley location.
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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.