Southern barbeque for Labor Day

August 27, 2008 11:38:49 AM PDT
Labor Day weekend means lots of cookouts. But ABC7's Hungry Hound realizes not everyone wants to fire up the grill. So he's got a suggestion for some southern barbeque which he found in the southwest suburbs. If you don't feel like visiting the butcher shop, prepping the meat and slow-cooking for hours, you could let a pro do the work for you. Two fellas in Lockport have been slow-cooking for about a year. Well under the radar of most barbeque fans.

While their ribs, brisket and pulled pork are certainly notable, it's their corned beef that is most attractive.

Peter Vanda leads a double life. On occasion, he drives a big rig, trucking all over the country. But when he's home in Lockport, he's a pit master, running Ooga Booga Bar-Ba-Q in a hidden strip mall with his childhood friend Bill, whom he's known since he was eight years old. Their jobs and their passion for barbeque led them to open the restaurant about a year ago.

"Twenty-eight years and 1,100 miles of research. While I was on the road every place I found. Every one I saw I tried to get to," said Peter Vanda, Ooga Booga Bar-Ba-Q.

You have to try the hickory-smoked brisket, which is smoked in back for up to 18 hours. Same goes for the corned beef, which is first brined for seven hours, then smoked another 16 or so. Baby back and spare ribs are dry-rubbed with a bit of brown sugar and smoked for three to four hours.

A little less time yields nicely moist chicken. They're also smoking pork butt for a good 15 hours pulling it and serving it either solo, or in a "C-C Three" -- a three-way sandwich stacked with brisket, pork and that beguiling corned beef.

"I just decide to have corned beef. I wanted to have all three meats: pork, beef and corned beef. Done. Nothin' else."

Sides are respectable, especially the brisket-studded baked beans. Corn and fries are just OK. For dessert, they offer buttermilk pie - with or without nuts -- but stick to the 'cue.

Vanda says he particularly enjoys seeing his customers' reactions when they try his handiwork.

"To see someone eat. It's a passion of mine. Personal passion. I like to watch people eat, so if they're eatin' something I cooked, it makes that all that much better."

Ooga Booga also does a big catering business -- setting up their portable smoker on-site for big events.

Ooga Booga Bar-Ba-Q
110 MacGregor Rd., Lockport
815-838-7675


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