This time it’s for real: the sweet narcotic haze of smoked meat will haunt the streets and alleys of Irving Park. That’s when Odesza, Charles Wong’s candy apple-red, 22-foot, 500-gallon mobile road pit, will pull up at the corner of Kedzie and Belle Plaine for Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s weekly guest chef pop-up at the Kedzie Inn.
It’s the return of Odesza’s keeper, the peripatetic new-school, Asian barbecue pop-up Umamicue, aka Wong, the hardest working pitmaster in Chicago showbiz. Wong’s shown up for many a Foodball, helping out his comrades even when he wasn’t headlining. This week a rogues’ gallery of five chefs has his back, each one harnessing Odesza’s smoky mojo in the service of a dish of their own. It’s a combined prix fixe platter that will shatter your assumptions about what barbecue is and shall ever be.
Artist’s rendering. Credit: Charles Wong
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Central Texas brewery barbecue ronins Heffer BBQ will preview their December guest residency at Kimski with a smoky chicken thigh tostada, with pinto chipotle salsa, pickled red onion, and queso fresco. Mike Shaker, aka Shaker BBQ, is a Texas apostle himself, bringing in a peppery prime beef brisket and jalapeno-cheddar beef-pork sausage duo. Returning Foodball heroes SuperHai are throwing some cabbage on the grates for yakisoba with honey-miso poached shrimp, shiitakes, tamago, and Kewpie; while another illustrious MNF OG, Thattu, returns with a Keralan-style smoked bean curry.
I might be most stoked for Wong’s tea-smoked duck breast bao, a collaboration with yet another Kedzie vet, Annie Xiang of Volition Tea, who will post up in the bar with a pair of cold brews for sale, along with her exquisite dried teas.
The mad rush for limited walk-in orders begins at 5:30 PM this Monday, September 19, but you can secure your preorders for this barbecue supergroup right now.
Meanwhile, gaze upon Monday Night Foodball’s fall schedule in progress. More dates to come.
9/26: Chicken and waffle night with Avrom Farm
10/10: Night of the Copi (the invasive species formerly known as Asian carp) with Chả Cá Nuggs
10/17: Traditional Jewish deli with a modern purpose with Schneider Provisions
10/24: Sausage party with the Hot Dog Box
10/31: Halloween bye night
11/7: plant-focused taqueria pop-up Piñatta
11/28: Thanksgiving break