Five restaurants will kick off the Windy City Smokeout in a parking lot behind the Wrigley Building.
Local favorites Smoque, Lillie's Q and Bub City are all going to be there, as well as a pair of out-of-towners from Texas and Georgia.
The smokeout was Bub City's idea- part of an effort to raise the profile of Chicago's barbecue scene.
Pitmasters and chefs love to hang out, when given the chance. And over the next three days, guys like Charlie McKenna and Doug Psaltis will be drinking bourbon and slow-smoking cuts of beef and pork all day. Blame Psaltis for the idea.
"We have two of the best barbecue places in Chicago, we think: Smoque, Lillie's Q, then we're bringing in the world famous Salt Lick barbecue from outside Austin, Texas, then Myron Mixon, the host of Pitmasters BBQ TV, he has probably the most world championships on the BBQ circuit," said Psaltis, who is with Bub City.
The Hungry Hound caught up with both chefs at McKenna's Bucktown restaurant - Lillie's Q - which recently re-opened after suffering a massive fire a few months ago. They showed off a few of the items they'll be serving this weekend.
"Bub City we're gonna be doing our brisket, pulled pork sandwich, fried pork rinds, then a little curveball, lobster rolls," Psaltis said. "It's a festival that kind of differs from most of them from around the country; we'll have some of the best music as well."
McKenna will be doing things a bit differently, just so that there's no overlapping.
"We picked baby back ribs, tri-tip and then collard greens. And we also focused on sort of stuff that Lillie's is really known for," McKenna said.
Both men say it's high time Chicago got some of the national spotlight, which often focuses on the Carolinas, Memphis and Austin. They say an annual festival is a good start.
"It's sort of the like the Big Apple BBQ, we're trying to create one for Chicago. Really get Chicago people involved along with bringing other people from around the country, so that we can expose Chicago to not only great restaurants that are here, but also great restaurants from around the country that do barbecue," McKenna said.
Windy City Smokeout
July 12-14, corner of Rush & Illinois Streets
July 12: 3 p.m. - 10 p.m.
July 13, 14: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.
3-day pass: $60
1-day pass: $30
Sunday will be FAMILY DAY - children under the age of 12 get free admission before 4PM
Salt Lick BBQ (Austin, TX)