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Leena Eats: Ribfest Chicago 2009 (Vegans Welcome!)

By on Jun 15, 2009 in Chicago, Leena Eats | 2 comments

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********We now interrupt your regularly scheduled Leena Cooks for a well-deserved week of Leena Eats. What can we say? This bitch can EAT!********** It is no secret that I love me some ribs. Smokey, charred, meaty, slightly sweet and spicy and sticky as hell–what is not to like? Put a crap ton of delicious ribs in within a 3 block radius, and look out. There is no mountain I won’t climb, no elderly citizen I won’t hip check, no frat boy I won’t shank to get me a taste of that sweet, sweet pork. And there were hip checks a-plenty, thanks to an unbelievably ghetto-packed festival. Seriously, city of Chicago. Could you shove any more clowns into that car? It took a solid 20 minutes just to walk the length of a city block, and that was only if you were aggressive and willing to get a bit of ribs on your shoulders. Unlike last year, this year’s Ribfest made several attempts to cater to vegetarians and vegans, proving that we carnivores do in fact care. Reasons for vegans to go to Ribfest: 1. Vegan ribs and vegan pulled pork sandwiches from de.li.cious coffee shop, along with corn, black bean burgers, and various fried things from other vendors. 2. The thick smell of smoked meats that perfumes the air and almost makes those vegan ribs taste real. 3. Funnel cakes. You’re welcome, vegans.

Nothing says Ribfest like a scalding hot plateful of funnel cake.

But lets get to the important part, the MEAT.

Our first stop @ Ribfest: Chicago BBQ Company.

I made sure to try different places than I tried last year. I was stoked to try Browntrout’s ribs, especially after having a recent kick-ass meal there, but by the time we got to their booth, they were sold out. Also sad? The disappearance of Cy’s ribs, my favorite from last year. It makes me wonder if their “closed for remodeling” sign really means they went out of business.

The ribs from Chicago BBQ Company @ Ribfest Chicago. Sans sauce, but with a delicious rub (we had sauce on the side).

These ribs were probably my favorite of the evening. They were really meaty, and the meat was spread out nicely all around the bone. These ribs were perfectly tender and had a seriously delicious dry rub on them, making them perfect without any sauce. But if you are a sauce fan, they also had a sweet and spicy sauce that I loved, and a chipotle-based sauce. My only complaint is that I wanted them to be a little more crisp, to have a few more caramelized fatty bits and bit more smokiness to them, but that was a minor complaint. These were damn good ribs. Our next stop was Hickory’s BBQ ribs. And by next, I mean 20 freaking minutes after the first set of ribs. Spacing out expensive, marked up ribs does not do much to get a person full–I’m just saying. It’s the curse of the popular summer festival.

The ribs from Hickory BBQ @ Ribfest Chicago.

These were just okay. They were meaty enough and certainly tasted of smoke, but I felt these were ruined by the sauce that they cooked the ribs in*(*Note-not all vendors did this. About half would serve the ribs with sauce on side, and the other half cooked the ribs with the sauce on. I prefer the former, because sometimes a bad bbq sauce can ruin some great ribs). The sauce had way too much cumin for my liking, so these ribs were at the bottom of my list. The last set of ribs we managed to get were from The Cordis Bros. Yup. Another 30 minutes later.

Ribs from The Cordis Bros. @ Ribfest Chicago.

These were pretty good ribs. They fell apart when you looked at them, they sauce was deliciously sweet with a hint of heat, and very smokey. These were our own second place of the ribs we tried that night. I felt like the Chicago BBQ Company took first because the actual meat tasted better, and they had a freaking delicious rub. The only sad part? They aren’t even a Chicago restaurant, but just competition cookers, which means I can’t get more of these ribs when I want! For those who don’t know, I live-tweeted from the festival! If you are on Twitter and would like to follow the delicious updates I post, my name is Leena_Eats. I plan on live-tweeting future Chicago summer festivals, so get excited. And unlike Ribfest, the future festivals will hopefully not slather my cell phone with a thick coat of bbq sauce. I entered Ribfest hungry, and I came out a veteran of the war on pork, full of ribs and fried dough, smelling a bit smokey, with bits of dried bbq sauce chillin’ in my hair and a sore hip. And I’d do it again in a second. ~LTG! *********************** Hickory’s BBQ 1234 N Halsted St. Chicago 60622 (312) 377-7427 The Cordis Bros. Supper Club 1625 W Irving Park Rd. Chicago, IL 60613 (773)935-1000

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2 Comments

  1. Marchbanks

    19 Jun ’09

    Post a Reply

    It might entertain you, one day, to make a trip to Texas and see how barbecued ribs are handled when the base animal is a cow rather’n a pig. Austin, where I am, is a great base for day-trip expeditions to several legendary barbecue destinations. As an added attraction, you can experience the various ways of handling barbecued brisket, which is usually what Texans are thinking about when they say “barbecue.” (Pigs are barely in the game, well behind sheep and just ahead of milk-fed kid.)

  2. Marchbanks

    19 Jun ’09

    Post a Reply

    It might entertain you, one day, to make a trip to Texas and see how barbecued ribs are handled when the base animal is a cow rather’n a pig. Austin, where I am, is a great base for day-trip expeditions to several legendary barbecue destinations. As an added attraction, you can experience the various ways of handling barbecued brisket, which is usually what Texans are thinking about when they say “barbecue.” (Pigs are barely in the game, well behind sheep and just ahead of milk-fed kid.)

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