Hot links top menu at Uncle John's BBQ Chicago

June 15, 2012 9:37:55 AM PDT
Talk about simple: Mack Sevier's biggest challenge each day is getting the fire just right, inside the large, aquarium-style smoker at Uncle John's Barbecue in the Park Manor neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.

You'd think - like a lot of local 'cue joints - it would be all ribs and tips. But here, the first item listed on the menu is the hot link.

"It's pure pork. It's like, you know, I would say it's 75-80 percent lean," said Sevier.

Pork, plus seasoning like paprika, sugar and oregano; I could hazard a guess at cayenne, but Sevier is purposely coy on the subject. They're made by a local company to his specs, then he simply places them on the highest rack possible inside the smoker, while mulberry and oak wood burn slowly. The inch-thick links are only smoked for about an hour-and-a-half.

"Not all the way done, but I cook them until they get firm. Then I take them off the grill, and I put them in the deep fry as I use them. I don't put them all in there at one time," he said.

And this is the secret I had never quite figured out before! Sure, there's a great smoky flavor, but that indescribable extra layer of yum comes from Sevier frying them for another five minutes in pure beef fat. Not a bad idea to consult your cardiologist before polishing off a large order. Speaking of which, they come with one of two sauces either draped over the top, or on the side.

"I prefer the sauce on it. But a lot of people like to dip it, but I prefer the sauce on it. You want it hot, I'll make it hot. You want to make it mild I'll make it mild," said Sevier.

Now the hotlinks come in small, large, jumbo, even half pan orders for a big party. Of course you can get ribs and tips here. But when you come to Uncle John's, you gotta get the hotlinks.

Unless you specifically ask, they'll put the sauce on top of the hot links, so try to ask for it on the side.

Uncle John's
337 E. 69th Street
(773) 892-1233


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