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Restaurants & Bars 7

More BBQ - Honey 1, KW, Rose (also Johnson’s Soul Food)

Rene G | Mar 23, 200407:58 PM

While preparing for the previous barbecue expedition I came across a report from the end of January that I almost forgot about. It includes only one place never mentioned here before (I think) and a little more on a few others.

The trip started without me with another visit to Honey One. The others were kind enough to bring me some of the "hard ends" that Robert Adams trims from the tips after cooking. Suffice to say what Honey One throws away is much better than what most Chicago barbecue joints serve. One of the real good Chicago places.

Robert spoke highly of KW Spice is Nice so of course we had to check it out. Most of the places we’ve investigated cook in Chicago-style stainless steel and glass pits using hickory and/or oak, sometimes with some charcoal added. KW uses a Southern Pride gas/wood hybrid cooker for most of their meat. All in all, a workmanlike effort. Light smoke flavor and some chew in both ribs and tips. Links were fine textured and moderately spicy. The mild sauce was very ketchupy and did nothing for me. The hot, with the addition of chipotles perhaps, was a little better.

While looking for the long-gone Rib Ranch on Ashland I stopped in Johnson’s Soul Food to ask a few questions and to pick up some banana pudding for later. Soon Gary and the others poked their heads in and before we knew it we were in the kitchen eating hot-off-the-griddle johnnycakes and sampling their chicken-n-dumplings and a few other dishes. I’ve linked to Pete & Will’s excellent post on Johnson’s below. Definitely worth a trip.

That unexpected detour filled us up a bit so we made only one more stop, Rose BBQ on State near Garfield. In all our expeditions we have always ordered our meat plain, with sauce on the side (as we’ve been taught it’s really the only way to evaluate barbecue). This time we made a tactical error and didn’t specify so our rib tips came covered with sauce. These were the Chicago tips I remember from maybe 20 years ago: very fatty, very charred, and swimming in a very sweet sauce. Nothing pretty but not too bad. Even though nobody had any enthusiasm, our teacher insisted on getting another order without sauce. It was quite informative, with some of the defects (probably due to poor fire management we were told) becoming more apparent. This was real down-n-dirty barbecue. Still, Rose is a place I’ll probably revisit.

Honey One BBQ
5135 W Division St

KW Spice is Nice
10526 S Halsted St

Johnson’s Soul Food
(used to be Rib Ranch)
8233 S Ashland Av

Rose BBQ
5426 S State St


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