Smoked meats & southern eats: Neither of these are particularly prominent in the Second City, but these are the the two pillars by which Porkchop BBQ in West Town stands upon. Porkchop’s goal was to create an “urban interpretation of a backwoods experience” And, by all means, they have accomplished this.
Porkchop was kind enough to invite us out to their media tasting day this past week. The menu, the ambiance, and the hospitality were on full display. Located conveniently in West Town at 1132 Grand Avenue, Porkchop converted a vacant corner unit into a snug, homey barbecue experience. From the moment you walk in, the aroma of the smoked meats hits, and you are transplanted out of the urban mindset and into the heaven of southern bliss. A long wooden table with benches gives you the feeling of an intimate, family dinner in the summertime south. And once you are seated, you are treated exactly as such: family. Our waitress Zoe, was incredibly friendly and helpful in getting us familiar with Porkchop and its offerings.
As for the menu, absolutely nothing missed. The cocktail drink, or ‘Pour Decisions,’ menu featured some unique drinks. The Suffering Bastard, and some familiar favorites, like a Rock & Rye Old Fashioned were crowd-pleasers. Starting courses featured fried catfish bites with tartar sauce and crispy bang bang shrimp with a spicy aioli (an absolute must for barbecue). The batter of both was done exceptionally well; not too heavy, not too light, perfectly crispy, and it stuck to the pieces well. The catfish was tender and flakey, and paired well with the flavorful Bang Bang Shrimp.
The entrees we sampled were a Chicken & Waffle spread and a you-pick-em, two-meat platter, each served with two southern sides. The Chicken & Waffle was the ideal balance between sweet and savory, with chicken that was as tender and juicy as it was appealing on the platter. However, the two-meat platter is what really stole the showThe meats we elected to sample are two that must be executed to earn proverbial BBQ stripes: pulled pork and brisket burnt ends. The pork paired extremely well with a vinegary sauce, and fell apart, as it should. The taste had a mild sweetness and was incredibly savory; well executed. The burnt ends were a perfect compliment to the pork. The first slice will display a prominent smoke ring, which begs the question, ‘is this meat over curated or perfectly smoked?’ The first bite answers: perfectly smoked. Pairing the burnt ends with the spicy aioli sauce from the Bang Bang Shrimp will stimulate the taste buds in ways you wouldn’t expect from BBQ in Chicago. Sides of baked beans, cornbread, green beans and mac-n-cheese were perfectly fulfilling to match the flavors of the tender, smoked meats.
If you are looking to stray away from the traditional, fine dining that dominates Chicago’s Friday night dinner scene, West Town’s Porkchop says look no further. Porkchop not only will exceed your cuisine expectations, but their speakeasy will entertain you with music, magic, and even burlesque shows. Whatever you are looking for, Porkchop has it all. The opportunity to enjoy their food at their media unveil will not be our only trip! See you soon, Porkchop!
Featured Image Credit: Porkchop BBQ on Instagram
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