If you follow Diana on Instagram, you've probably already realized that she is the BBQ queen - she is always down for BBQ and loves introducing her friends and followers to new spots. While I've always enjoyed BBQ, I never had a high appreciation for it until Diana started dragging me along on her BBQ forays (I swear she's worked her way through at least 3/4 of the vast number of BBQ joints in the Chicago-area!). Through our various visits, I've grown to really appreciate the intricacies of various rubs and sauces (I'm currently all about Carolina mustard sauce), and have even developed preferences for the type of wood used to smoke the meat (maple, apple, and mesquite are my favorites). So of course, when the good folks at Porkchop invited me to stop by to check a few brunch favorites, I knew there was no better person to accompany me on my meaty mission than the BBQ queen herself.
Described as an "urban interpretation of a Southern backwoods experience," Porkchop offers diners a low-key and unpretentious environment with a menu filled with all sorts of Southern comfort food (including mac & cheese, fried pickles, fried okra, and seafood etoufee). Of course, the star of the show is its wide range of BBQ options, including a variety of ribs, sliders, brisket, burnt ends, and pulled pork. Not to be completely outdone by the meat, you'll also find up to 40 varieties of whiskey and a host of hearty bourbon cocktails.
This fun (and possibly lethal ;-)) curtain of saws separates the main dining area from the semi-private large party table.
How cute are the clusters of mason jar lights scattered throughout the bar area?!
We kicked off our brunch with a round of cocktails (surprise, surprise, right?!). I chose the Porkchop Moonshine...
...while Diana ordered a classic Mint Julep. While both drinks were bold and paired perfectly with the heavy meats, we both particularly enjoyed the Mint Julep, thanks to the rich bourbon and extra fresh mint.
Diana and I both agreed that these tender, fall-off-the-bone Fried Ribs tossed in hickory BBQ sauce were the standout of our meal (and they're not something you'll find at every BBQ joint!). Bonus: watch Chef Kenny Robinson prepare these decadent ribs (and snag the recipe) here.
Sausage Lollipops: deep fried sausage on sticks, served with a spicy remoulade for dipping. I have to admit I would have been happier if these were sans breading (as the heavy breading overpowered the flavor of the sausage), but I will say that I loved the presentation. I mean, how can you not enjoy a hunk of meat on a stick?!
Porkchop offers four housemade BBQ sauces, including my personal favorite, the tangy Chicago sauce, infused with rosemary, olive, and Absolut. It's definitely worth sampling all four - if you want to get a little adventurous, try mixing the Chicago sauce with the Damn Good sauce.
While Rib Tips aren't necessarily super common in other parts of the country, they're widely popular in the Midwest. Porkchop's version are dry rubbed before they're sauced, which gives them an extra layer of flavor.
Pulled Pork Sandwich with grilled tomato and fried egg on a pretzel roll. Woooo-eeee! As I mentioned on Instagram, this seriously meat-tastic sandwich is not for the faint of heart (or those with the already partially full stomach!). If you love a substantial sandwich that is swimming in rich BBQ sauce, this is most definitely for you!
We ended our meal with an order of Porkchop's version of Beignets with fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream. These beignets are definitely thicker/breadier than traditional beignets, but they still retain everything that's good about fried dough dusted in sugar.
You can try all this deliciousness and more at one of Porkchop's four Chicago-area locations (or track down their food truck via Twitter!).
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.