Okay, a while back I promised to post these comments on various local barbecue places that serve pork or brisket. I forgot but the recent brisket question reminded me.
Sorry some people didnt like Chucks. I appreciated the comments though (I mean that sincerely). The problem--as far as pork or brisket goes--is this is Chicago, not NC or Texas. Some time ago I made a semi-systematic search for decent BBQ pork shoulder and beef brisket and the sad truth is that Chucks was among the best I could find in these parts. I like his pork quite a bit and enjoy the brisket in the Chucks Special sandwich (the only way Ive had it). Ive eaten brisket in Texas and pork in NC (granted, not at any of the most famous places but some good-enough stuff). And a long-ago brisket sandwich at Arthur Bryants remains one of my top carnivorous experiences. I would certainly agree that nothing Ive had in Chicago comes close.
The problem is that the best Chicago BBQ places dont seem to do pork or brisket. Just ribs, tips, links, and maybe chicken (but thats often deep fried). Most of the places that do brisket or pork are on the north side or in the suburbs and many arent all that great. Following are some abbreviated comments on various places I tried (bear in mind that many comments are old).
In alphabetical order. . .
Quite respectable pork sandwich, havent tried the brisket yet.
Some of the better pork in these parts, decent brisket.
Famous Daves (now Isaac Hayes)
Overall, mediocre at best but there was something about the brisket I liked. I think it reminded me of my Grandmas pot roast. Pork not good.
Goose Island Wrigleyville
Pulled pork sandwich was quite terrible and not cheap. Doesnt remotely resemble real BBQ.
Pretty good chopped pork and chopped beef sandwiches. I dont like the way they chop everything and mix it with the sauce, good as it is. Still, a very good place.
I had high hopes when this place opened in Chicago but it went downhill so fast. Everything was poor the last time I went. Now mercifully closed.
Dry pork and beef but not terrible.
NN Smokehouse (closed, now Smoke Country House)
Okay pork, dry brisket. Not a bad place, a shame it closed. Ill have to give Smoke Country House a try.
Ribs and Bibs
Pork can vary between very good and inedibly fatty. Horrible beef that I think they buy already sliced.
Beef is like dry, unseasoned Italian beef sandwich and the pork is almost indistinguishable from the beef. No smoke flavor whatsoever and bland sauce. Ive heard so many fond reminisces about this place, Ill bet it was once very good.
Not bad pork, cant remember trying brisket.
Poor pork, like a thick slice of baked pork loin. Cant remember the brisket. Overall very disappointing.
They seem to try hard but miss the mark. Not terrible.
If anyone can suggest other places I ought to try, Im game. South and west side places would be especially welcome. Even if youve just heard rumors, let me know and Ill check em out. Ive heard good things about The Texan in Algonquin but havent been but still havent gotten out there.