Cheap eats: Barbecue

While barbecue is by no means an American invention (it's been around since carnivorous cavemen figured out what happens when you rub two sticks together), its attributes are American to the bone. It's unfussy. It's casual. And like our currency, it's cheap as hell.

So to us, the best way to show your patriotism this Fourth of July weekend is to wear not American flag-emblazoned jorts, but a barbecue-sauce goatee, earned by hitting these favorite spots for ribs, rib tips, brisket, pulled pork and chicken. And lest we forget our melting-pot diversity, we've also highlighted the best places to get everything from Brazilian churrascaria to Korean kalbi. Just leave the fancy forks and knives to the French: Bare hands are the American way.

Ribs

Our favorite barbecue joints.

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Brisket

Whether you're Jewish or a Texan, only one Chicago spot does it right.

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Barbecue chicken

Julia Kramer defends barbecue's oft-forgotten stepsister: low-and-slow–smoked chicken.

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Vegetarian barbecue

Meat-eaters think they have exclusive rights to summer's favorite meal. Let them.

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Rib tips

These messy little morsels are the most misunderstood of Chicago barbecue.

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Pulled pork

How do you make the best pulled pork sandwich in Chicago? Combine your favorites into one.

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Barbecue sides

Best mac and cheese, greens, okra, baked beans, hush puppies, coleslaw.

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International barbecue

Any way you slice it-or prep, fire and serve it-there's something about barbecue with universal appeal.

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Baked ribs

They're not barbecue.

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