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Best Barbecue In Chicago

Barbecue takes on many different styles throughout the country. Depending on whether you're in Texas, South Carolina, or Kansas City you could find yourself eating a very different meal although they'll all be called barbecue. Regional barbecue hot spots usually cater to one style, with a constant debate over the thickness of sauces and the balance between sugar and vinegar. Chicago on the other hand isn't pigeon holed into any one style. Some fantastic chefs have taken styles from around the country to provide Chicagoans with the whole spectrum of barbecue flavor. - Jeff Pearl
Fat Willy's
Brisket sandwich from Fat Willy's. (credit:

Fat Willy's Rib Shack

2416 W. Schubert ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 782-1800‎

If there's a way to cook a pig you can get it at Fat Willy's. Pulled pork and hot links are the highlights on the menu. Even the non-pork items like the chicken wings and onion rings will keep your mouth watering. They've got nice homemade sauces, but really it's all a tribute to the pig that keeps crowds pouring into Fat Willy's.

Hecky's Barbecue
Ribs from Hecky's. (credit:

Hecky's Barbecue

1902 Green Bay Rd
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 492-1182‎

At Hecky's it's all about the sauce. You could drink it by itself, but if you don't want some strange looks you should get it on some meat. Pulled pork, ribs, and chicken are the most popular options. This sauce has a kick to it, and they'll ship it around the country for you.

Honky Tonk BBQ
BBQ from Honky Tonk. (credit:

Honky Tonk BBQ

1213 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 226-7427

The name gives you a hint to the magic behind Honky Tonk BBQ. It's the perfect place to go to enjoy dry rubbed meats while listening to some live music and drinking a cold beer. Rather than an overly sweet and thick sauce, Honky Tonk puts out a fantastic BBQ mustard sauce that goes well on everything.

L Woods Barbecue
Ribs from L Woods. (credit: Jeff Pearl)

L Woods

7110 N Lincoln Ave
Lincolnwood, IL 60712
(847) 677-3350

Although not strictly a BBQ joint, L Woods has some of the best stuff around. It's difficult to find a good beef rib, but theirs are the best. If that's not your style, don't worry because they also have a great skirt steak sandwich. With their spicy devil BBQ sauce on top, it couldn't get much better. L Woods is a good family joint with options for all appetites. With your BBQ make sure to order‎ a salad to start and an apple strudel for dessert. You won't be sorry.

Smoke Daddy BBQ
Smoke Daddy BBQ. (credit: Jeff Pearl)

The Smoke Daddy

1804 W Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-6656‎

Liveliness is the best word to describe Smoke Daddy. Different bands are recruited nightly to perform for you live. The food is top notch as well with a nice variety of pulled meats. They have the best BBQ joint side dishes. The cilantro coleslaw and sweet potato fries are unbelievable. Also, if you like cornbread then you can't pass this one by.

Brisket from Smoque. (credit: Jeff Pearl)


3800 N. Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 545-7427‎

Huge portions, creative flavors, and low prices are what Smoque is about. Interesting ingredients including coca cola make up a complex rub for all of their meats. The brisket is my favorite here with its smokey and complex flavors. You get two sides with your order - try the chili and fries. Oh, it's BYOB too. So build up an appetite, grab some friends and a six pack, and head on over to Smoque.

Twin Anchors
Twin Anchors. (credit:

Twin Anchors

1655 N. Sedgwick St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 266-1616

Twin Anchors may be one of Chicago's most famous spots. It has has been filmed in several movies, including The Dark Knight. Sinatra made it known as his favorite place too. When you get past the fame, you're still left with some of the best ribs in the city. They've been around since the 1930s, and it's all because of the slow cooked ribs with their spicy sauce.

Jeff Pearl
The author. (credit: Jeff Pearl)

Jeff Pearl has lived in the Chicagoland area his whole life and is currently a medical student at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Food has always been a passion of Jeff's. In his free time, Jeff enjoys either cooking for his friends, going out to a new restaurant, or training for his next triathlon. Check out his blog, Jeff Eats Chicago.


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