No tickets to this year’s three-day celebration of all things barbecue and country music? No problem. We’ve created a cheat sheet of the must-try dishes at local ‘cue joints appearing at the Windy City Smokeout (July 10-12).
New York-born Dinosaur may be new to Chicago’s barbecue scene, but it’s already carved out a place for itself as one the of city’s top spots for anything-but-ordinary sliders. You can’t go wrong with any of the five varieties offered, but under no circumstances should you miss the jerk lamb shoulder slider, which features tender pulled meat balanced with crisp, creamy coleslaw. 923 W. Weed St., 312-462-1053
There’s no shortage of great ribs in the Windy City, but none can compete with Smoque’s supremely smoky St. Louis-style racks. The meaty slabs are coated in a Memphis-style dry rub, which forms a savory crust during the smoking process, and are finished with a generous glaze of semi-sweet barbecue sauce. 3800 N. Pulaski Rd., 773-545-7427
Tossed with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, crunchy panko crumbs, chives, and Pig Powder Rub and brûléed to bubbly, gooey perfection, the family-style skillet mac at this Gold Coast favorite is as sinful as it is comforting. Order it with American Kobe brisket burnt ends for a welcome punch of smokiness. 1160 N. Dearborn St., 312-642-1160
Punishingly thick and oozing with tangy Carolina barbecue sauce on a brioche bun, this smoked pork sammie is an easy choice when dining at Lillie’s Q. Take it next-level with a hefty serving of Southern-style coleslaw on top, and follow it up with a root beer float packed with Roots root beer, house-made vanilla ice cream, and a splash of vanilla moonshine. 1856 W. North Ave., 773-772-5500
Stop in to Lettuce Entertain You’s barbecue joint on Tuesdays for live band karaoke and a late night fried chicken fix. Each bite of tender chicken has been coated in a buttermilk-based batter mixed with a secret spice blend, deep-fried to lock in the juices, and begs for a dunk in the restaurant’s signature White Lightening sauce. 435 N. Clark St., 312-610-4200