What makes great barbecue? Smoked meats are important but a spicy or sweet sauce can help out too. May is National Barbecue Month and there’s no shortage of amazing barbecue options in the Windy City. Here are the best barbecue spots in Chicago all of which have superb options, with or without sauce.
Honey 1 BBQ
746 E. 43rd St.
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 285-9455

The barbecue at this spot has been regaled time and time again for good reason. The meat rivals what you’ll find in Texas, with its amazing smoky flavor that’s a result of slow cooking over a wood fire. The ribs are crisp yet tender and the hot links perfectly spiced. The restaurant is run by a father and son, and plans to close this location and move to Bronzeville sometime this spring.

(Photo Credit: huskyhogbbq.com)

(Photo Credit: huskyhogbbq.com)

Husky Hog BBQ
335 W. 31st St.
Chicago, IL 60616
(773) 442-2769

Husky Hog does all the classics right. While their countertop in Bridgeport may offer a few more options, catching their food truck around Chicago can be a real treat, in no small part due to their real smoker on board. Due to Chicago regulations, the meat is smoked prior to being onboard, but the smoker does add some more flavor to this mouthwatering Tennessee-style BBQ. No matter what you order, from the ribs to the burnt ends, you’ll also enjoy the amazing barbecue sauce. Classic sides like mac and cheese, corn bread, and bacon baked beans ensure that you won’t leave hungry.

Chicago Q
1160 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 642-1160

For a gourmet barbecue experience, look no further than this Near North Side restaurant from Chef Lee Ann Whippen. The Savannah-inspired dining room starts with pickles and chips. Appetizers and entrees include a plethora of modernized Southern classics like pulled chicken, fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits and more. If you can’t decide what to order, start with their BBQ flight. The upscale restaurant is also known for its bourbon menu.

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(Photo Credit: www.lemsque.com)

(Photo Credit: http://www.lemsque.com)

Lem’s Bar-B-Q
311 E. 75th St.
Chicago, IL 60619
(773) 994-2428

Head to the South Side to discover the decades-old gem that is Lem’s Bar-b-Q, home of the rib tips. Nearly five decades ago, they served this delicious rib snack, loaded with flavor and just the right amount of texture. That’s not all you’ll find of course at this countertop-service institution. While the menu isn’t large, their ribs and fried chicken are pitch perfect.

Smalls Smoke Shack
4009 N. Albany Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
(312) 857-4221

Don’t let the name of this Irving Park neighborhood restaurant fool you. While the restaurant really is a shack of sorts, seating is minimal, the dishes are big and the flavors are outstanding. That’s in large part to their infusion of Asian flavors with the barbecue, whether you’re enjoying crispy fried chicken or the barbecue brisket or pork bibimbap packed with vegetables and rice. After one try, you’ll definitely come back for more.

Related: Chicago’s Best Korean Barbecue

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 blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.