Barbecue crawl: Q BBQ & Green Street Smoked Meats

We checked out the offerings at two new barbecue joints in one long, meaty Saturday

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  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Chicken wings with mac and cheese and coleslaw at Q BBQ.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Memphis baby back ribs at Q BBQ.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Baked beans at Q BBQ.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Brisket burnt ends sandwick at Q BBQ.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Brisket burnt ends sandwick at Q BBQ.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Meat sampler at Q BBQ.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Green Beans at Q BBQ.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Q BBQ

Photograph: Martha Williams

Chicken wings with mac and cheese and coleslaw at Q BBQ.


On a recent visit to Green Street Smoked Meats, the guy behind the counter taking meat orders was wearing a Franklin Barbecue t-shirt. Franklin, the lunch-only spot in Austin, Texas, is one of the most lauded barbecue places in the country, and it seemed like a knowing wink to our country's current barbecue obsession that he was sporting a t-shirt from there.


Chicago loves barbecue—in the past year alone, openings have included Green Street, Q BBQ, Smalls Smoke Shack & More, Blackwood BBQ, County Barbeque, Ravenswood Q, and I'm sure I missed some—but we don't have a place that inspires the fanaticism of Franklin. When I went on a barbecue tour of Texas last spring, Franklin was the clear highlight, despite having to wait in line for four hours before tucking into tender, falling-apart brisket, snappy sausages and a bottle of Big Red soda. And I'd do it again. But I haven't yet found a place in Chicago I'd wait that long for. Smoque comes closest, but four hours is a hell of a long time to wait for anything.


Early this month, two promising contenders emerged: Green Street is Brendan Sodikoff's latest restaurant, and he's shown us that he can basically do anything, while Q BBQ's two suburban locations get a lot of praise and it just opened one in Lakeview.


So I rounded up three friends (including one native Texan) to try them both last Saturday. Since Q is open for lunch, we started there, take a beer break in the middle to get our hunger levels back up, and then headed over to Green Street for dinner (reviewed on page 2).



Q BBQ

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Q BBQ offers every form of barbecue you can think of. It's great for the indecisive, but I always worry that when restaurants do too much, everything winds up being mediocre. There's Texas chopped brisket, Texas sliced brisket, Carolina pulled pork, pulled chicken, Memphis chicken wings, Texas spicy sausage, and so on. The meats are smoked over hickory and applewood, and the smoke smell permeates the restaurant (this is a good thing).


Q has a fairly generic interior, and smoky smell aside, you wouldn't know you're in a barbecue spot. You order at the counter, and there's a long menu, with salads, an array of baked potatoes, sliders and sandwiches (which curiously include melted cheese atop barbecue). Since we wanted to try everything, we opted for the Papa Q platter, a $29.99 tray that offers 2-ounce portions of each meat on the menu. It also comes with two sides and two hush puppies, and while a staffer told us it's designed for two, this can easily feed three people.


As a result of my Texas barbecue trip, my two favorite meats are sliced brisket and sausage, so that's what I gravitate toward when I eat barbecue. Here, the brisket is nice and smoky, but entirely too dry, so it's missing that fall-apart tenderness. The brisket burnt ends were better, but it was the other meats we wound up liking more. The sausage is among the best I've had in Chicago—it's spicy enough that there's a lingering burn, and there's a great snappy casing—and the pulled pork and chicken were lightly sauced and moist. There are two styles of chicken wings—spicy and Memphis—and both were flavorful and meaty.


Q makes a few housemade sauces, including a vinegar-based and a mustard sauce, but across the board they're too sweet. That's also why we barely touched the baby back ribs, which are dripping with glistening sauce. We also hardly ate the few sides, including the nearly raw green beans and super-sweet baked beans, though the spicy fried Brussels sprouts were unexpected and our favorite side.


  1. Page 1
  2. Green Street Smoked Meats

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