By Jessica Cage

Think of Chicago food and you get deep dish pizza, right? Wrong, well at least in this instance. Yes, travelers from around the world are drawn to Chicago with the promise of that famous dish, but what they may not know is that Chicago has a lot more to offer than just Italian fare. It is also the home of some of the most delicious barbecue around. Check out these spots for the best smoky flavors in the city.


Best Ribs:

The Fireplace Inn
1448 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 664-5264

Established in 1969, The Fireplace Inn is famous for its baby back ribs. Located in the heart of the Comedy District of Chicago, it’s a great place to get your barbecue fix. Stop in and try the popular ribs served pretty simply, either as a half or full rack. Where’s the flavor you ask? Get that delicious smoky taste from The Fireplace Inn’s special barbecue sauce. If you wish to venture off the beaten path, enjoy one of the many other options on the menu. Such treats include beef stroganoff, center-cut pork chops and lobster kebobs. Don’t forget to ask about the daily specials like half-off appetizers and $5 drinks.


Best Pork:

Pork Shoppe
2755 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 961-7654

Pork Shoppe is where you can rely on great American barbecue. Yes, pork is in the name, but it also serves up juicy beef and tender chicken. However when you visit, you’re going to want to start with what this spot is best known for. Try the mouth-watering pulled pork that has been soaking up flavors for hours in the smoker. Or really find out what kind of flavor is possible with the 10-day-cured pork belly pastrami. But get it whenever you can because it isn’t always available due to the time it takes to bring this meat to perfection.


Best Sauce:

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

At Lem’s Bar-B-Q, the hot items are the rib tips and the hot links. But that’s not all. In business since 1954, Lem’s has kept its customers coming back with a secret sauce that no diner can solve the equation to. Created by co-owner Myles Lemons, the sauce has a sweet hickory flavor and rarely receives any complaints or even slight disappointment. One taste and you will want to return time and time again. What’s best is that this sauce can be paired with anything. Load it on some potatoes or dip your chicken tenders into this great taste.


Best Variety:

Khan BBQ
2401 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 274-8600

At Khan BBQ, there are flavors to savor that will satisfy any taste preference. From the tandoori chicken to the chicken boti, Khan BBQ provides an exceptional dining experience. Do you have a hard time getting enough kebabs in your life? Well, Khan provides four skewered options. Enjoy bihari, seekh, chappli and chicken seekh kebabs, there’s no reason not to come back over and over again to enjoy each type. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for something savory, sweet or spicy, visit this barbecue spot and you are sure to be satisfied.


Best Chicken:

Brand BBQ Market
2824 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 687-8148

Looking for a great piece of barbecue chicken in Chicago? Well look no further. Brand BBQ Market is known for this bird. Brand’s smoked chicken is marinated and smoked with apple and maplewood, giving it a taste that is simply unforgettable. With cornbread and a side of your choice to pair, you are guaranteed a finger-licking meal. Enjoy the chicken or one of the daily specials like Mac ‘n Cheese Monday, where you get all the macaroni you can eat for under $10, or Fish Friday, when the Fish ‘n Chips are what’s happening.

Related: Chicago’s Best Smokehouses

Jessica Cage is a freelance writer from Chicago. Her work can be found at