The basics: If Texas-style is your thing, this venerable Northside smoke shack has your slow-smoked cravings covered. Unsurprisingly, succulent, perfectly rendered, and bark-topped brisket tops the menu, followed by ribs, pulled pork, and juicy smoked sausages shipped all the way from Taylor, Texas. You’ll even find a few plot twists, like chopped brisket tacos, strewn with fresh cilantro and chile de arbol salsa. And save some room for dessert—the pecan bread pudding, thick and velvety beneath a generous drizzle of bourbon caramel sauce, is a true sleeper hit.
What the experts say: “I distinctly remember Smoque being the first barbecue spot that food writers and bloggers took seriously,” says Manion. “I think it was the introduction of Texas-style brisket into the Chicago barbecue vernacular, but people took notice, lines were formed, and BBQ sold out daily. Smoque lives up to its reputation and although not very old, seems like the OG of the new wave of BBQ spots.” Eckmann calls it “the place to go for St. Louis style ribs,” and McKenna dubs the brisket “the showstopper.” Being in the same neighborhood as Smoque, Levitt has been a longtime fan as well: “I have to give some love to Barry and the team at Smoque. They are in my neighborhood and we’ve been eating there since day one. The food is always delicious and there is none of the usual barbecue pretense.”
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served patio seating, call 773-545-7427 and order take-out via Toast, or order delivery via Caviar.