While you may not find perfect Texas-style Brisket or Carolina-style whole hog BBQ…across the board, Chicago BBQ spots do their meats as well as cities like Memphis, Kansas City, or Austin.
BBQ can genuinely be an art form. Good BBQ is a lot more than throwing a pork butt in the crockpot and covering it with Sweet Baby Rays. It takes technical know-how and a lot of time—low and slow, baby.
So without further ado, here are our five favorite BBQ spots in Chicago from 2021.
As always, if your favorite spot isn’t on the list, let us know in the comments below, and we’ll try to make it there in 2022.
Green Street Meats
The first spot on our list is Green Street Smoked Meats. Green Street Meats channels a Texas meat locker-style smokehouse, and Adam thinks their brisket is the best he’s had outside the Lone Star state. The tasty offerings don’t stop with the brisket. You pretty much can’t go wrong with any of their smoked meats or sides.
Green Street connects on all of its offerings. Their BBQ sauce is terrific. If you’re stopping by, a brisket sandwich, a side of their potato salad, and a Coke will leave you happy.
Green Street Meats is located at 112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607.
The Smoke Daddy
Another favorite of ours is The Smoke Daddy. It is a long-time favorite. Adam has been going since High School when he saw it on Rachel Ray’s $40 a day. The Smoke Daddy has excellent smoked meats, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Where the Smoke Daddy wins the day for us with their sauces. They’re all very, very good and even sold in local stores here in Chicago.
Pro-tip, get the Bloody Mary if you’re there for brunch.
The Smoke Daddy is located at 1804 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Next up on our list is longtime south side legend Lem’s.
Rib tips should probably be the official BBQ of the state of Illinois, and Lem’s has great ones. We ordered the JBL special. Included are ribs, rib tips, hot links, and wings. There is a reason why Lem’s is such a Chicago icon, and their hotlinks are very tasty. The line at Lem’s can get pretty long, so you might have to wait to get some of their delicious barbecues.
Lem’s is located at 311 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60619
Smoque shot on to the BBQ scene nationally after being featured on an early episode of Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives. There has been a line out the door ever since Guy visited.
There is an excellent reason for that. Smoque serves up some of the best BBQ in the country. Their chopped brisket is phenomenal, and the beans are the best we’ve ever had. Their owner traveled to some of the nation’s top BBQ spots and drew inspiration from their best offerings. You’ll find a blend of Memphis, Texas, and Carolina BBQ here at Smoque.
Smoque is also an excellent name for a BBQ restaurant. I just thought we’d point that out.
Smoque is located at 3800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641.
BBQ and fine dining, for whatever reason, have just never been a great combination. Chicago Q challenges that, and we could not be happier. Located in the Gold Coast, Chicago Q is a sit-down BBQ spot where you can take a date, and they’d be impressed.
Chicago Q does the classic BBQ dishes well but goes beyond that with a nod to the south. Prime rib, shrimp and grits, and buttermilk fried chicken can also be found on the menu. The upscale BBQ comes at a price, but we think it is worth it.
Chicago Q is located at 1160 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60610.
Well, there it is, our five favorite BBQ spots in Chicago for 2021. What BBQ adventures will 2022 hold? We can’t wait to find out. Oh, and if you have a place you want us to visit, let us know in the comments below!