Sunday, July 1, 2012

Honey 1 BBQ

There are a lot of barbecue restaurants in Chicago covering a lot of styles.  Admittedly, many of the places that serve barbecue really aren't that good and don't serve barbecue as it's supposed to be served, there are a growing number are actually smoking their meat and adding the sauce at the end as it's supposed to be done.  Honey 1 BBQ is one of the places that is doing things right.  It really doesn't look like much; you enter the restaurant into a long hallway which leads to an order window on the right and the dining room on the left.  The menu is on a board to the right of the window.  The way it works is similar to a fast food restaurant.  You make your order and wait for it there.  If you will be eating there, you will get a tray, if taking out, you will get a bag (although in both, your order is put into a styrofoam tray).  I decided this time to eat in the dining room.  As with most barbecue places, there isn't much to talk about.  The walls are red with a few pig wall hangings and the furniture looks like something you would see in a hospital cafeteria (small four top tables and plastic chairs).  When you are going to a barbecue place though, you are not going for a high class dining experience.

The major barbecue styles are generally recognized as Carolina Style, Memphis Style, Kansas City Style, and Texas Style.  Honey 1 bills itself as Arkansas style.  I am not sure exactly what that means but there were a few things different that I noted about it so that's what it might be.  This place has been lauded for many years and people talk about their tips and smoky links.  The first time that I came hear, I decided to try what everyone talked about.  I can honestly say that I really wasn't that impressed.  The smoky links, while they were smoky, were also pretty dry and the rib tips were tough.  When I decided to come back, I decided to try what I have been trying at other barbecue places in order to compare them, the Baby Back Ribs.  When I opened up my tray, I saw that I had what I thought was a pretty large half rack that was served with cole slaw, french fries, and two slices of white bread.  While Honey 1 does have several sides and does offer one side with the ribs (plus cole slaw), unless you specifically say that you want something else, the default side will be french fries.  I will say that I didn't really understand the point of the white bread.  The cole slaw wasn't bad but it was also nothing to write home about and the french fries were thick cut.  Other than the ribs, there was really nothing to talk about so I will talk about the ribs.  As I said, while I ordered a half rack, it was a large half rack with 8 bones.  It was also liberally slathered with the barbecue sauce.  The meat was smoky and while it didn't slide off the bone, I was able to pull it apart by hand.  The meat wasn't exceptionally juicy, but it also wasn't dry.  It did have a nice chew to it.  The barbecue sauce was liberally applied and had a spicy sweet flavor to it.  There isn't much tang to it but it was pretty good and, as you might expect, with a lot of barbecue sauce, it was very messy.  I was very happy for the wet naps.

While Honey 1 did redeem themselves with their ribs and I will come back, it is definitely a no frills place.  I can say that while the sides don't offer a reason to come back, the ribs do a pretty good job on their own.  While there are other places that I might like better, this place is worthy of consideration when barbecue is talked about.

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