Check out some of the best Chicago barbecue restaurants for everything smoked.

Sweet, smoky, spicy... wet, dry, sauce on the side... meaty, fall-off-the-bone... Chicago does barbecue all ways. Make a pit stop at any one of Chicago's BBQ hotspots and be sure to bring your appetite, and extra napkins. 

Fill up on Food AND Drinks

In the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood, Lillie's Q brings Southern cooking to the next level. Don't let the sleek, contemporary décor fool you into thinking this restaurant is all looks and no substance. Just get a taste of the pulled pork shoulder. Manning the pit is Chef Charlie McKenna, who has won numerous awards on the competitive barbecue circuit including the top prize at Memphis — widely regarded as the world championship of barbecue.

Significantly more polished than your typical BBQ joint, Chicago Q in downtown's Gold Coast boasts rich leather couches and gleaming dark wood tables, as well as a pedigreed pit master. Billed as the new urban BBQ experience, the swank digs are home to a 15+ year vet of competition barbecue, Lee Ann Whippen, and she sets you up with artisanal housemade rubs, the highest quality meats and service that exudes Southern hospitality.

Fill up on Food, Drinks AND Music 

The eclectic Wicker Park neighborhood is a mix of hipster cool and old school ethnic restaurants, but an even greater combination is goods eats and good rhythms. Bluesy rockabilly is the soundtrack at The Smoke Daddy, with free, live music seven nights a week and meats and vegetables smoked in house every day in their "Lil Red Smoker".

If you're down in Pilsen and have a hankering for some smoky goodness, Honky Tonk Barbeque is your fix. Owner Willie Wagner has garnered many an award at competitions and festivals and the lively space is home to live music many nights on the Saloon Stage: jazz, soul, bluegrass, rockabilly, and of course, honky tonk.

Also combining great tunes and tastes is Bub City, an always-entertaining mashup of bourbon, barbecue and live country music. Satisfy your cravings early in the morning — go for the beef brisket benedict served with cheesy grits — and all the way into the wee hours of the morning. At 2am, "the big pig" on the late night menu will be calling your name... a massive pile of pulled pork, hot links, carolina gold sauce and jalepenos on a pretzel roll.

Family-friendly Picks

One bite from Smoque BBQ and you'll know that Barry Sorkin and team knows their BBQ. The Irving Park destination packs in visitors and local regulars daily, with a beef brisket that is top-notch and a menu offering a sampling of regional styles (St. Louis ribs, Texas sausage, Carolina sauce) plus mini-sized portions on the children's menu.

Casual Logan Square sit down spot Fat Willy's Rib Shack is spacious enough to spread out and get messy. Kick back with a Hogarita from the bar and a full menu of BBQ and side selections from jalapeno corn fritters and baked four cheese macaroni. And for kids, there's a special menu and coloring pages just for them.

In Hyde Park, BBQ Supply Co. is doing barbecue right. Dry ribs – they've got 14 ingredients in them – are their forte, and you might want to order that up with a side of Meaty Beans, a one-to-one ratio of baked beans and pork sausage.

Budget-friendly BBQ

Using traditional Arkansas wood-smoked, your meal takes a little more time to cook at Honey 1 BBQ, but it's worth the wait. Plus you get a view of the Chicago-style glass-enclosed "aquarium smoker" as you walk into the modest eatery, run by Arkansas native Robert Adams.

A South Side staple has devotees lining up for orders of any and all smoked meats topped with their signature sauce. Lem's Bar-B-Q is a no-frills takeout spot, but the faster you can squeeze through the line and get back to your car, the sooner you can get a taste. 

All-time BBQ Classics 

Another power player on the scene is an oldie, but a goodie. The Old Town rib institution Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern hasn't changed much since it was established in 1932, and the crowds (which at one time included Frank Sinatra) appreciate it that way. Other traditional rib favorites include Gale Street Inn in Jefferson Park and Robinson's #1 Ribs in Lincoln Park.

Serving it up Asian-style  

For an Asian take on barbecue, Sun Wah BBQ is a must. The long-running Chinese spot is known for its Hong Kong-style barbecue dishes roasted in-house. The extensive menu is a meat lovers dream, with plenty of chicken, pork, and beef options. The real showstopper is the Peking duck, carved table side.

Switch it up from Korean-style bbq to Japanese-style bbq with two top Chicago spots both located in the trendy River North neighborhood. At Union Sushi + Barbeque, the centerpiece 600° Robata Grill in the middle of the colorful restaurant will surely catch your eye, as will the menu: kangaroo, alligator and beef tongue round out the typical meat offerings. Named after the Japanese word for charcoalSumi Robata Bar honors artistry and tradition both in its cooking and in its minimalist decor. The 26-foot robata bar offer the best seats in the house, where you can watch a master at work, Chef Gene Kato.

Newest Barbecue Restaurants 

And as if that isn't enough, the latest contenders on the scene include West Loop hideaway Green Street Smoked Meats, a hip warehouse hangout that feels like a big indoor/outdoor picnic. Slab Bar-B-Que reopened in the South Shore neighborhood to rave reviews. Don't miss the exceptionally tender smoked ribs. And Baobab BBQ serves up enticing South African-inspired eats near Lincoln Square. 

Related Listings

Twin Anchors Restaurant
1655 N. Sedgwick St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 266-1616

Chicago q
1160 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 642-1160

Bub City
435 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 610-4200

The Smoke Daddy
1804 W. Division
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-6656

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