Friday, July 27, 2012

Smokey's BBQ

There are a lot of barbecue joints in Chicago, some very good, some not so much.  While I do have several very good barbecue places close to where I live, I am always happy to try something new.  There is the risk that I will run into one of the places that isn't so great, but honestly, I have never run into any barbecue that I could truly call bad.  I might find one that isn't as good as others, but not bad.  A while back, on my way home from work in the suburbs, I happened to notice Smokey's BBQ which is located, relative to other places, in the middle of nowhere.  While it is funny to refer to a place in the city of Chicago as being in the middle of nowhere, it is located in Gladstone Park, on the northwest side of the city.  While it is across the street from a factory and an infrequently used train station, I can't imagine that it gets a lot of foot traffic because there really isn't much business in the area.  In any case, it is on my way home from work and I recently decided to stop.  As with many other barbecue places, the decor is rather spartan.  From the door there is a half-wall forming an aisle that leads to the counter in the back.  There is a menu hanging above the counter but there are also takeout menus featuring the same things that were also on the counter.  After ordering, you seat yourself at one of the tables and someone would call your number when your order was ready.  The dining room also had a very large front window whichI ordered a half-rack of Baby Back Ribs which came with Cole Slaw, a Dinner Roll, and one side.  Most of the sides were potato-based and I had read good things about their Cheesy Potatoes, so that's what I ordered.  The meal came out on a metal tray with a paper placemat.  The slaw and potatoes were in disposable containers.  While it was a little disconcerting to be served with the tray being used as a plate, as I was going to be eating immediately, I guess it's acceptable.  I am also used to being served cornbread with ribs instead of a roll (although admittedly, it was better than the white bread that is served with the ribs at Honey 1).  While the roll wasn't bad, it also wasn't exciting.  It was something that you could find at any grocery store.  As well, the cole slaw was no different than any you could find at any number of places.  The cheesy potatoes however, were something special.  The potatoes seemed to have a sour cream sauce and were topped with a good amount of melted cheddar cheese.  The half-rack looked a little small, and really it only had five bones, but there was a lot of meat on those bones so I probably got at least as much meat as I have with other ribs that I have had.  The ribs were served with the sauce on and while it was a nice coating, it wasn't so heavy that you couldn't taste the meat.  The sauce itself was kind of interesting.  It was tomato based but was much more savory than sweet.  It was spicy with a slightly tart finish.  While most sauces can be classified by one of four major regions (Memphis, Texas, Kansas City, or Carolina) , the only time that I have ever had a sauce like this was at a rib fest with a place from Alabama.  The ribs themselves were also cooked well.  I did have to start separating them with a plastic knife but after they were started, they pulled apart easily.  This was a pretty good place and I really enjoyed it.  I am glad I stopped and know that even if it is well out of most people's way, I have an option on my way home.         

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