New spot brings delicious BBQ to Lincoln Park

October 14, 2011 10:18:11 AM PDT
Over the past year, the number of barbeque joints in Chicago has exploded. The Hungry Hound has been to all of them, of course, and he says one new option has a guy in the kitchen who literally wrote the book on ''low and slow'' cooking.

Making great barbeque isn't easy. It requires skill, experience and of course, patience. Frankly, Lincoln Park is the last place I would have expected to find good pulled pork and brisket, but a new restaurant has wisely brought in a local expert to help tweak their smoker.

Gary Wiviott calls himself a "Barbeque Life Coach," having written a book on the subject and teaching classes around town. But his latest endeavor teams him up with Barn and Company in Lincoln Park, putting his skills on the front burner, so-to-speak.

"I've done restaurant consulting for a few years now, and Barn and Company was a nice opportunity to start a program from the inception," said Wiviott.

So he is doing what he does best: dry-rubbing pork butt and brisket, then smoking them; although this set-up isn't using hardwood.

"We're using hickory pellets and we're accenting the hickory pellets with pressed hickory. All natural, everything is natural, its natural hickory. It's just in a slightly different form," Wiviott said.

Back to that pork butt: a dry rub featuring Mexican oregano, thyme, ancho chili peppers, brown sugar and cracked pepper is liberally applied then the butt is placed into the smoker for nearly 10 hours.

The brisket rub features Hungarian paprika, guajillo chilies and cumin, and stays on the meat for up to 12 hours in the smoker. Wiviott says the result is a tasty "bark" or exterior.

"The rub provides the bark, the bark provides the crunch, the bark provides the texture. It adds flavor, and it's delicious," said Wiviott.

The proof is in the pulling, or, in the case of the brisket, slicing. Tender, with a slight tug and a nice pink smoke ring are the hallmarks of his delicious pork,while the brisket slices easily, fat cap intact to add flavor.

"Basically the meat tells you when it's done. You know, in a restaurant setting you need to be very accurate about times and temperatures. But, you know, a piece of meat is gonna let you know when it's done. We've accomplished the task of getting the brisket right. But I love our chicken! We're brining it for 24 hours...fennel, rosemary, thyme and sage. And it tastes fantastic," Wiviott said.

Just so we're clear, Barn and Company is not your typical roadhouse barbeque joint. It's more like a sports bar, with its flat-screen TVs in every direction and nightly drink specials. But, the pork, chicken and brisket are definitely the stars.

Barn and Company
950 W. Wrightwood
(773) 832 - 4000

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