RE: Best BBQ Jointa Around Chicago???
I agree wholeheartedly on the slaw. It is a brighter, crisper version than the typical creamy slaws usually available. All of their other sides (mac & cheese, beans, fresh cut skin on fries, and corn bread) are equally outstanding. We're going to part ways on the sauce though. While I also think the flavor is excellent, I have no problem with the consistency. The Barbecue world is made up of many regions with many different styles of smoking, predominant meats used, and, of course, sauces.
In the Carolinas alone there are at least four different basic sauce styles that I am aware of, ranging from a very thin, watery, almost crystal clear vinegar base in eastern North Carolina, to a slightly less thin version, tinged with tomato on the west side of the state, to a mustard based sauce in South Carolina. As you work your way south and west through the rest of the deep South and into Texas, you will see many other styles and locally influenced flavors.
Start working your way north through Oklahoma and into Kansas City and you will experience even more different tastes. As you come back east and further north into Chicago and beyond you will find the thicker, sweeter sauces you are used to.
As a native Chicagoan, those are the sauces I too am most familiar with. As the husband of a Kansas City girl I have come to appreciate the different flavors inherent to that region. And finally, as someone who has made his living for the past 18 years in the Barbecue Sauce business, and by necessity has become an informal scholar in the subject, I have found some level of value and good taste in virtually every Barbecue region's sauces. Even that weird white stuff they serve with chicken in Alabama.
As for Smoque, the word has been "getting out" since before the day they opened. I don't think I have ever seen any restaurant, Barbecue or otherwise, take off so quickly, get so much free press publicity, and be so roundly praised as Smoque. Barry Sorkin, the lead man in a team of owners did his fair share of research, visiting all of the areas mentioned above in an effort to learn the true art of regional 'Que. Granted, there are little roadside shacks, still smoking their meat in and old oil drum that might have better, more soulful food, but Smoque is doing more good work with a modern Southern Pride oven than anyone around.