From the team that brought you Maude's, the Doughnut Vault, Dillmans' and Bavette's comes a Texas love letter to all things slow-smoked over oak and cherry wood. Green Street Smoked Meats is the latest entry in Chicago's never-ending quest for slow-smoked brisket, ribs and chicken, and they're taking a very thoughtful approach.
Tucked away down a dimly-lit, brick-lined alley, you'd think you're entering some sort of barbecue speakeasy. But Green Street Smoked Meats has nothing to hide. Looking like a Hill Country Texas honkytonk, the mood is lively and the food is smoked for hours over oak and cherry wood.
"We definitely like the brisket, we like the hot links, white bread and pickles for sure, but doing pulled pork also pork ribs," said Jason Vaughan, one of the chefs at Green Street. Those ribs are a highlight. Sure, they also do beef versions, but it's the thick, juicy pork ribs that steal the show.
"I think it's the process with the rub, a little bit of sauce, not too much, and then we give 'em a nice, long rest so they stay really juicy," said Vaughan.
Pork shoulder is rubbed with brown sugar, mustard powder, ancho chiles and tons of salt and black pepper, turning a hulking mass of pork into fall-apart shreds that stack up nicely in a towering sandwich. Die-hards needing their bacon fix should opt for the fatty-tender smoked pork belly.
The brisket is pure Texas: rubbed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika, it's smoked anywhere from 12 to 14 hours; both the lean "flat" and the fattier "point" are combined on trays for beefy satisfaction.
Sides are notable, and not just the mac or the pseudo-healthy broccoli salad. I'm thinking more brisket-studded baked beans kissed with brown sugar, and the thoroughly addictive pickles - you choose sweet or spicy. Vaughan says despite the number of barbecue options in Chicago lately, there's no sign of demand letting up.
"People love barbecue and I find a lot of Texans up here, a lot of people from the South in Chicago and I think they're all looking for as many spots as they can get up here to enjoy some barbecue," said Vaughan.
Green Street Smoked Meats
112 N. Green St.