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Goner Message Board / Food & Drink / Huh? Chicago BBQ scene better than that of Memphis?
Author Message
No Big Thing
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 10:54 am    
http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/11/chicago-bbq-better-than-memphis-bar becue-uncle-johns-bbq-il.html

While both Smoque and Uncle John\'s rule, there\'s a whole lot of really bad BBQ in Chicago, including this one that\'s just started stinking up my neighborhood in recent weeks. I\'m not a Memphis BBQ expert---heck, I generally prefer Texas-style---but I\'ve never had a single better BBQ experience than Payne\'s and the fact that he doesn\'t even mention it amongst Memphis stops seems highly suspect. Chicago has some isolated spots of amazing BBQ, but it\'s not a very great place for it in general.
Windy
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 12:10 pm    
He went to shit places. No wonder he thinks Chicago BBQ is better. sigh.
No Big Thing
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 12:20 pm    
I couldn't remember the name of your Dad's place, but assumed it wasn't listed. The more I think about this, the more annoyed it makes me. Not out any of sort of Goner-induced faux Memphis pride, but just the fact that, along with Memphis, I can think of multiple cities and regions that would put Chicago to shame BBQ-wise. Seriously, we've got 2 great places, a few that are pretty good, and a legion of bad ones.
Womb Raider
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 12:50 pm    
I love how in the last paragraph he says Gus's is the best fried chicken he's ever had. That pretty much sums up the entire article right there. Whole article reeks of yankee college kid.
Windy
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 1:38 pm    
I couldn't remember the name of your Dad's place,

Even I don't think my dad's place should be listed as the best in Memphis - there are plenty better. It just so happens that he gauged Memphis BBQ in its entirety on worse places.
Vinyl Ritchie
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 6:27 pm    
heck, I generally prefer Texas-style

this is where I stop reading his opinion of BBQ...what he means by the above statement is "heck, I like beef jerky more than tender slow roasted pork"
arman
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 7:19 pm    
i'm not going to completely dis on chicago-que (honey 1, fredines house, etc) but this guy is a fucking idiot. i love cozy corner and paynes is, to be honest, on the good side of "ok", but nothing in chicago really touches the good memphis bbq.
saispas
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 7:40 pm    
I know I pimped this place in the West Memphis Food thread (like that one has had a lot of readers), but Roadside Barbeque off the Lehi exit (that would be the first exit west of the end of all the West Memphis exits on I40) is really damn good. I've been three times now and the chopped pork with the spicy sauce is GREAT. I will try their ribs next and they also serve turkey legs, smoked sausage and house-made Delta style tamales.

But, yeah, that Chicago article is lame; glad the commenters--for the most part--laughed him off. And I have to note that "Smoque" is an AWFUL name and their website has me thinking there is no way that BBQ can top our best or maybe even our middling.
pillarofsalt
Member
Posted: Nov 23, 2009 8:03 pm    
I gotta say, this ginormous yuppie Whole Foods in Old Town has a smoked meat section in their crazy food court and they have the best goddamn smoked turkey I have had. beats my grand-dad's hands down. makes some hella wicked greens.

but yeah, the rest of Chicago BBQ, at least the places in frakking Wicker Park or Bucktown or Logan Square or whatever, can suck a fuck. my favorite bbq pork in the world is from a teeny podunk town in East Jesus Nowhere, Georgia. best ribs are for sure from Memphis, though.
No Big Thing
Member
Posted: Nov 24, 2009 11:31 am    
I feel sad, sad, sad that there are folks who haven't had the opportunity to try well-prepared brisket.

Smoque is perhaps the worst name ever, and the concept is just as troublesome---bunch of foodies hate their straight jobs, travel the country sampling/studying BBQ for a year, then go home and open a restaurant. Should be awful, right? Of course it should. BUT, somehow it doesn't suck. Nothing it serves is ever going to stack up to the very best of any region's specialty preparation, but everything is remarkably solid and several offerings are actually outstanding. Now that Brand BBQ place I linked to...that's some vile, pretentious, shit masquerading as BBQ.

I'm not trying to be the Up With People of BBQ, but Memphis, various parts of TX, KC, St. Louis, NC---they all have some amazing joints doing their own thing.

Also, I'll add Arman's backyard as a consistent good Chicago BBQ spot.
Tommy Trouble
Member
Posted: Nov 25, 2009 9:36 am    
I love how in the last paragraph he says Gus's is the best fried chicken he's ever had. That pretty much sums up the entire article right there. Whole article reeks of yankee college kid.

Gus's IS the best chicken in the world.
deadcityrebel
Member
Posted: Nov 26, 2009 1:19 pm    
i love gus's, but uncle lous takes it for me.
Womb Raider
Member
Posted: Nov 26, 2009 1:57 pm | Edited by: Womb Raider    
I had sublime chicken at the original Gus's out in Mason TN once. That was probably a competitor for the best fried chicken I ever had. But the Gus's in downtown Memphis, I never thought it was anything special. There are probably 10 places in New Orleans that do it as good or better.
Womb Raider
Member
Posted: Nov 26, 2009 1:59 pm    
and that list includes Popeye's if you hit it at the right time.
deadcityrebel
Member
Posted: Nov 26, 2009 9:54 pm    
I had sublime chicken at the original Gus's out in Mason TN once.
ditto. that whole place was precarious.
bruce
Member
Posted: Nov 26, 2009 10:20 pm | Edited by: bruce    
I had sublime chicken at the original Gus's out in Mason TN once. That was probably a competitor for the best fried chicken I ever had. But the Gus's in downtown Memphis, I never thought it was anything special. There are probably 10 places in New Orleans that do it as good or better.
i agree that the mason one ruled, but think you need to reassess on the downtown, can't think of any decent chicken in new orleans since chicken in a box closed down, unless you mean differant popeye's locations
sixelsix
Member
Posted: Dec 1, 2009 11:43 am    
I had sublime chicken at the original Gus's out in Mason TN once. That was probably a competitor for the best fried chicken I ever had. But the Gus's in downtown Memphis, I never thought it was anything special.

Agreed. It is not quite the same foodwise, and it certainly is a different experience.
Windy
Member
Posted: Dec 1, 2009 1:24 pm    
It has to be said that the Mason location isn't the same since being rebuilt - so if you are comparing re-built Mason Gus's to Downtown Gus's, Mason still only comes out slightly ahead.
saispas
Member
Posted: Dec 1, 2009 3:17 pm    
I know I keep bringing up West Memphis, but I spend hours on end over here each week and their Popeyes on Missouri has served up some nearly perfect, spicy fried chicken. Catching it when it is fresh from the fryer is key, but it can happen just prior to Noon or right before 5PM.

That being said, the fried wings at The Chicken Coop, if only they would put more heat in the batter, are better than Gus'. Uncle Lou's still rules.
Womb Raider
Member
Posted: Dec 1, 2009 3:47 pm    
i agree that the mason one ruled, but think you need to reassess on the downtown, can't think of any decent chicken in new orleans since chicken in a box closed down, unless you mean differant popeye's locations

Chicken in a Box on Gentilly is open. Chicken Box (different chain) is not.

also Dunbar's, Coop's Place, Willie Mae's, Mr. Ed's, McHardy's, Elizabeth's, Chicken Sue's, Two Sisters Kitchen, Brothers, Popeyes...

I am not saying all of these are better than Gus's, but on a good day I think any of these places could hold their own against Gus's. Fried chicken is not rocket science and I think people often judge the charm and perceived authenticity of the establishment over the chicken itself. I mean, that was the great thing about the original Gus's, right? (that was some good damn chicken though)

This is why Willie Mae's got a James Beard award and has been written up in magazines as the best fried chicken in the country. It's not the best. It's about the same as all the others on my list, but when an 80 year old black lady cooks it in a run down shotgun shack, somehow that makes food critics like the chicago bbq dude get huge boners. Hence my original criticism.
krakhaus
Member
Posted: Dec 3, 2009 9:31 am    
Smoque is perhaps the worst name ever, and the concept is just as troublesome---bunch of foodies hate their straight jobs, travel the country sampling/studying BBQ for a year, then go home and open a restaurant. Should be awful, right? Of course it should. BUT, somehow it doesn't suck.

A former pal-o-mine who's stolen every good idea he ever claimed to have just opened a wildly successful restaurant named Smoke here in Dallas...the article I read makes it sound like they did the exact same thing. Renegade Chef makes BBQ pilgrimage, etc.

Upscale BBQ...haven't tried it yet but if someone wants to treat....I'll eat!
Joe
Member
Posted: Dec 3, 2009 12:16 pm    
Willie Mae's,

I ate here last week when I was down there and while delicious, I still think Gus's is tops (by which I mean my personal favorite chicken).

It's really apples and oranges though, because Uncle Lou's, Willie Mae's and Gus's are doing three wildly different things, all of them pretty awesome.
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