Talk of The Town: June 2023


With summer upon us, this month we’re taking you outside! Whether you’re grilling burgers and veggies for an impromptu cook-out or planning a traditional barbecue with thick, juicy cuts of meat slow-cooked over some smoldering mesquite chips, we’ve got you covered.


With summer almost upon us, Chicago’s 2023 festival season is kicking into high gear. International food and music are highlighted by these events, but you can experience a rich variety of other global traditions including dance, arts and crafts, and more.

If you need anything, the Backyard BBQ Store at 535 Green Bay Road in Wilmette is one of the best places in Chicagoland to make sure you’re ready to grill. Once you’ve planned the menu, here are a few locally owned butcher shops to check out:

Joseph’s Finest Meats | 7101 W. Addison St, Chicago
This old-fashioned family-owned neighborhood butcher shop draws a loyal following for its attentive, knowledgeable staff and fine selection of USDA Prime meats and in-house made sausages.

Paulina Market | 3502 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago
Opened in 1949 and still family-owned, this northside landmark is known for sourcing the finest-quality fresh meat and poultry. They also offer a wide selection of barbecue sauces and chutneys along with handcrafted sausages and brats.

Homestead Meats | 1305 Chicago Ave, Evanston
Sourced from family-owned, sustainable Midwestern farms, owner Ehran Ostrreicher and his team have been delighting home chefs and backyard grillers with their fresh meats and sausages, all from livestock raised in open pastures without hormones or GMO feed.

Publican Quality Meats | 825 W. Fulton Market, Chicago
This West Loop butcher is your source for tempting charcuterie boards and custom-order special cuts. Want a Tomahawk Ribeye for your barbecue? How about a skin-on porchetta roast that’s prepped and ready to cook? This is the place. They can even secure a whole goat for you to roast on a spit!

Farmers’ Markets are also in full swing across the city and suburbs, so don’t forget to throw on some veggies. Zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, asparagus and mushrooms are popular for grilling and need just a brushing of olive oil and sprinkling of salt and pepper to bring out their sweet, savory goodness. To mix things up, consider grilling edamame, cabbage, parsnips or sweet potato.


Thanks to the success of the KC Masterpiece brand, when Americans think of “barbecue sauce,” many imagine this dark, smoky, sweet version. But in fact, Kansas City-style barbecue is just one of many regional varieties, each with their own appeal. Here are a few others to consider for your next barbecue.

Dating to the original 13 Colonies, Eastern North Carolina-Style is the oldest of America’s barbecue sauces. Unlike the thick, tomato base of other recipes, this one has a thinner consistency—comprised mostly of cider vinegar seasoned with black pepper, red pepper flakes and some brown sugar.

A legacy of 18th-century German settlers in South Carolina, Carolina Gold Sauce is one of the most distinctive regional sauces. Recipes vary, but along with mustard, most versions include cider vinegar, brown sugar, and a blend of spices including black pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.

Central Texas-Style Barbecue is about meat and preparation—and not sauce. With ribs and brisket as the preferred cuts, the distinctive flavor comes from a simple salt-and-pepper rub and the slow-and-low cooking method over smoldering oak or pecan wood.

Looking quite unlike other barbecue sauces, Alabama White Sauce starts with a base of mayonnaise and cider vinegar. Depending upon the recipe, other ingredients include Worcestershire sauce, mustard, horseradish, and spices including lots of black pepper.


Maybe you don’t have an outdoor space for grilling or perhaps you just don’t feel like standing over a smoky grill. Don’t worry… There are plenty of great restaurants serving up delicious barbecue in all its wonderful iterations.

Soul & Smoke| 1601 Payne St, Evanston: Executive Chef D’Andre Carter has earned a national reputation as an elite fine-dining chef. But his true love is barbecue—a longstanding passion he credits to time spent helping his grandmother cook barbecue at her home on Chicago’s South Side.

Green Street Smoked Meats| 112 N. Green St, Chicago: Located down a brick-paved alley in the West Loop, this acclaimed restaurant beckons diners with its house-smoked, Central Texas-inspired barbecue, served at the counter in their inviting, warehouse-style space.

Lexington Betty Smokehouse| 756 E. 111th St, Chicago: From her popular food truck to the Food Network show Chopped, Chef Dominique Leach and her wife Tanisha are earning accolades for their Chicago-style rib tips, applewood smoked chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and soulful sides.

Lem’s Bar-B-Q| 311 E. 75th St, Chicago: Chicago-style barbecue is about two meats, hot links and rib tips, cooked over high heat in a steel-and-glass contraption called an aquarium smoker. You’ll find all of this and more at this take-out-only landmark, founded in 1954.


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