Smoke-Filled Rooms

These days, Chicago’s best barbecue comes from a legion of savvy new pit masters. Our man on the case digs in and gets his hands dirty.

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I just went through a year’s worth of wet wipes in a month. That’s what happens when you volunteer to ricochet around town and sample the latest generation of barbecue joints. Six spots, all new by ‘cue standards, were on my agenda—places where unheralded pit masters do smoked ribs and brisket and pulled pork. Even the names conjure up real wood smoke: Fat Willy’s Rib Shack, Honey 1 BBQ, Honky Tonk Barbeque, Smoke Shack, Smoque, Sweet Baby Ray’s. Who says there’s no smoking in Chicago restaurants?

Photograph: Tyllie Barbosa





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