TK's Smoke Pit adds twist to BBQ

March 15, 2013 8:32:43 PM PDT
The signs are obvious: an oak and apple wood-fired smoker; the tell-tale blackened "bark" on the outside of slowly-smoked meat and pork; even the barely visible pink "smoke ring" on the outer edges of the ribs and pork shoulder. But unlike the recent additions to the city's barbecue scene, the kitchen at TK's Smoke Pit is in Glenview, in an out-of-the-way strip mall.

"My inspiration is actually to bring a little bit of everything to Chicago. So we got the pulled pork from the Carolinas, we've got brisket from Texas, and St. Louis, obviously the ribs and the rub is actually a Memphis-style rub," said Tony Khanuk, the owner of TK's.

Whether it's brisket or pork, the proteins spend plenty of time in the smoker. There are also some surprises - at least by Midwestern standards - including Mikeska sausages; some of which feature jalapeno and cheddar; there's a KC-style burnt ends brisket sandwich called the "Smoky Joe," plus mammoth beef chuck ribs.

"The oak really gives you the flavor, the apple really darkens up the meat nicely; it's what fruit woods do, they give you a nice mahogany color to it," he said.

Sides are pretty solid: from brisket-studded beans and Texas chili.. to savory corn pudding. Some items are only available on weekends, like a massive hunk of smoked pork belly, which means timing your visit appropriately.

"To do it correctly you just have to know how much to make from a day-to-day basis and occasionally you will run out," said Khanuk. "When we have a run on a certain food, when it's gone it's gone."

TK's Smoke Pit
2853 Pfingsten Rd. Glenview
(847) 656-5007