Lines out the door and a full house at Lillie’s Q in Bucktown might be all you know of proprietor and BBQ extraordinaire Charlie McKenna. But this Memorial Day weekend (May 22 to 25), make plans to visit western Montana and the Resort at Paws Up, a lux glamping retreat set on 37,000 acres where you could be hanging tight with the chef in the great wide open.
That’s because McKenna will be joining four other pit masters from across the country, including chefs Josh Bowen (John Brown Smokehouse), Danny Fischer (Baby Blues BBQ), and Sam Huff (Sam’s BBQ) as part of “Montana Master Grillers,” a standout culinary event that’s among a slew of special programming celebrating the resort’s 10-year anniversary. McKenna will also cook alongside Ben Jones, the executive chef at Paws Up and McKenna’s former colleague.
“Ben used to work with Charlie at Tru and Peninsula Chicago,” says Larry Lipson, an owner at the resort and also a Chicago native, who said Jones was quick to recommend McKenna for Master Grillers. “We like Charlie because he creates upscale, ‘haute’ barbecue.” Lipson says McKenna’s homemade BBQ sauces and moonshine will also be featured at the event.
McKenna, too, is looking forward to the event, not just to cook with Jones again but also for the chance to work with the other guest chefs in the lineup. “It’s always fun for chefs to get together and collaborate a little bit, even if you’re each creating your own dish,” says McKenna. “You make a connection, and before you know it you’re cooking at their restaurant, wherever that may be. It’s also fun to see what other people are doing, see what kind of techniques they use, and just enjoy some chef camaraderie.”
That camaraderie will extend to an intimate group of 120 guests. The chefs will prepare special lunches and dinners (paired with everything from Lagunitas brews to Rodney Strong wines), and they’ll lead grilling and butchering demonstrations. But they’ll also join guests for signature Paws Up activities, which include rafting on the Black River, real cattle drives, ATV tours, and fly fishing. “I’m most looking forward to shooting clays,” says McKenna, not surprisingly a hunter who likes to bow and bird hunt.
On Sunday, an outdoor fair featuring all of the chefs will be followed by an evening concert from country singer Robbie Fulks.
Rates for the all-inclusive experience are from $969 a person, per night. For more on what to do at Paws Up, see Chicago’s “Five Summer Trips for Adventure Seekers.”
No Really, This Is the Best Time to Buy an Airplane Ticket
According to a recent study by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation, “Tuesday appears to remain the best day of the week to find low fares on air travel booked at least three weeks in advance.” More at Condé Nast Traveler.
The Top Five Places for Spring Skiing
“Winter is not over, some would argue that the best part is still coming—the long days of spring when the sun shines and the snow more forgiving,” says Annie Fast, who names Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia and Grand Targhee near Jackson Hole among five spring ski destinations to visit now. More at Curbed Ski.
A Family Guide to NYC, as Told by a Young Downtown New Yorker
Sixth-grade New Yorker Maya Olson’s tour of the Big Apple takes you from the 9/11 Memorial and a sail on the Shearwater to the American Museum of Natural History and the Chelsea Market, “a New York City must, with cool decorations during the holidays and delicious restaurants and markets.” Get the full tour at Feather+Flip.
3 weeks ago
5 months ago
1 year ago