Foodie Review: Best Chicago Barbecue Joints


Recently I had a girl’s night out at Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. in Evanston, Illinois. Although it’s known for the beer, Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. is also popular for its barbeque.

As delicious as this plate looks with the ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and mac and cheese, between the acid reflux that was ramping up and my weight loss journey, I ate only a little and was able to eat the rest later. The food was delicious after heating in the microwave.

This afternoon, while I was smacking down on the brisket, I began to think about how barbecue is cooked and tastes differently depending on the area of Chicago. Barbecue should be eaten without saucing it down. However, if you do use sauce, it should be to enhance the flavor. I feel confident in the list below as the best barbecue joints in the Chicagoland area – well at least in my opinion.

The Best BBQ Joints in Chicagoland

Smoque 3800 N. Pulaski, Chicago, IL
Everything is good! Get the baby back ribs, the St. Louis ribs, the chicken, the Texas sausage, the pulled pork. I don’t care, you’ll enjoy it all! Just keep going back to taste something different. Each time you visit, you must add a taste portion of the best brisket in town. You won’t regret it. The only thing that pisses me off is the small cup of mac and cheese they give you for a side dish. It’s so good! I could eat a whole pan!

Q BBQ70 S. La Grange Road., La Grange, IL
You can get the ribs, the wings, or the pulled pork, but for me, it’s all about the burnt ends! They are almost as good as Joe’s Kansas City Barbeque (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s) in Kansas City, Kansas. There’s also another Q BBQ location closer to Chicago at 124 N. Marion Street, Oak Park, IL.

Uncle John’s BBQ17947 S. Halsted Street, Homewood, IL
Sauce and classic Chicago rib tips are all you’ll need. I personally know someone who has traveled from Elgin, Illinois to get these ribs. I’ve heard their turkey tips are good too, but I don’t eat meats that don’t originate from the animal. Turkeys don’t produce rib tips. What the hell?!

The Slab1918 E. 71st Street, Chicago, IL
It’s on the Southside so you have to get the rib tips! Add the sauce if you like, but I think it tastes best on the side. The Slab makes the list because I can easily order some of the best tips on the Southside through UberEats or DoorDash. I know this blog is about barbecue, but the owner’s wife makes the best greens I’ve ever tasted from a restaurant! It’s homemade so that’s probably the reason I like it so much. No canned greens here. The Slab also sells smoked turkey legs.

The Slab BBQ
The Slab BBQ

Smylie Brothers Brewing Co1615 Oak Avenue, Evanston, IL
Yes, I know I just went here last night and talked about them at the beginning of this blog post, but the food and ambiance allowed Smylie Brothers to make the list. Their ribs and brisket are delicious, and the mac and cheese is really good too.

Fat Willy’s Rib Shack2416 W. Schubert Avenue, Chicago, IL
Years ago, this restaurant was my first barbecue experience on the Northside of Chicago. They are still good. Parking can be a hassle, but it’s worth it. Get the baby back ribs, baked sweet potato, and cornbread with the honey butter! You’ll thank me later.

Uncle John’s BBQ8249 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL
When you visit add this to the order: a jumbo rib tip and hot link with mild sauce, a small jerk rib tip with no sauce, and a small catfish with sauce on the fries only. Once you’ve made your order, it’s gonna be about a 5 to 10 minute wait, go next door to Dat Donut and get a caramel or sour cream donut!

Honorary mentions…
Carson’s Ribs and Famous Daves!

Famous Dave's Barbecue Platter
Famous Dave’s Barbecue Platter

Did your favorite barbeque joint make the list? If not, add it in the comments below. I’d love to travel and taste it!

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