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Chicago-Style BBQ: Sweet Baby Ray’s

Chicago-Style BBQ: Sweet Baby Ray’s
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  • Chicago-Style BBQ: Sweet Baby Ray’s

    Post #1 - May 29th, 2008, 12:08 pm
    Post #1 - May 29th, 2008, 12:08 pm Post #1 - May 29th, 2008, 12:08 pm
    Chicago-Style BBQ: Sweet Baby Ray’s

    To much of the world outside LTHForum, Q is Q. There are many styles of BBQ, of course, and among those who make it their business to know the many ways of the pit, the mega-styles of NC, KC, and TX are themselves considered crude divisions, with many regional variations that go unrecognized by those who enjoy the fruits of the BBQ without really knowing (or, needless to say, caring) about its provenance.

    There seems to be little agreement, however, as to what constitutes Chicago-style BBQ – or, indeed, if such a thing even exists.

    As skilled with palate as with pen, the articulate and humorous Mike Sula once wrote about Gale Street Inn: “There oughtta be a law against calling boiled, steamed, or roasted meat barbecue, but that's the vaunted fall-off-the-bone Chicago style-—the official rib of the toothless.” (Source: http://www.chicagoreader.com/cgi-bin/rr ... &numb=1287)

    Michael Gebert, as astute a scholar of the smoker as any you will find, referenced the style when he wrote about Barbara Ann’s, “The rib tips seemed very much like Honey 1's, smoky and a little leathery-chewy, which I'm all for. Sauce is too much for me-- too much sugar, too much paprika, I'd get it on the side next time and dip sparingly. Honey 1 dials a similar style down to a point I prefer. But all in all, a worthy meal, an exemplar of the Chicago style (like it or not, versus Memphis or KC or whatever, this is exactly what it is), a friendly spot, and well worth a renewal of its Great Neighborhood Restaurants award.” (Source: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4137)

    To which the magisterial Gary Wiviott responded, “Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without..” (ibid).

    There is no doubt that I prefer sauce on the side, always, but is that the way it’s regularly “done in Chicago” and is there anything like a consensus on Chicago-style BBQ? Or is trying to find a definition of our town's style of Q kind of like hunting for smelt in Lake Michigan? You may know in your gut it’s out there, but don’t count on finding it anytime soon.

    Last night, I was a guest at a media event held at Sweet Baby Ray’s. I spoke with the sauce’s namesake – Dave Raymond:

    Image

    Dave believes there definitely is a Chicago-style of BBQ, and he feels that this is so, in part, because so many Q devices come from the Midwest (Weber, Southern Pride, etc.), and so many major selling sauces originate here (Sweet Baby Ray’s comes in second in national sales; first slot is held by Open Pit, owned by Kraft). The logic: if so much Q-realated stuff comes from here, doesn't it make sense that we should have our own style of Q? Perhaps.

    Here is Chef Paul Papadopoulos proudly showing off his well-used Southern Pride:

    Image

    I asked Dave off-the-record about his favorite local places, and they’ve all been favorably reviewed on this board; one is an undeniable board favorite.

    Dave’s definition of Chicago-style ribs is illustrated by what he serves at his place. Baby backs, not fall-off-the-bone, but splashed during the cooking process with a tangy, sweet sauce, leading to what Louisa Chu refers to (in another context) as “caramelized Chicago style baby backs” (Source: viewtopic.php?p=148341)

    Image

    On these baby backs, there is a somewhat high crust to meat ratio and somewhat low meat to bone ratio. I liked them…though whether they would meet your definition of Chicago-style BBQ – if such a thing even exists – is open to discussion.

    Opinions vary. Some feel Chicago-style BBQ means:

    Ribs cooked, then marinated with sauce and wrapped in plastic:
    http://www.porkfoodservice.com/RecipeView.aspx?id=66

    Cooked on a grill, rather than in a smoker:
    http://www.ehow.com/how_2189714_make-ch ... becue.html

    Or in a Texas Pit:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Oii4bFr1cDY&feature=related

    Sometimes what’s cooked are not even baby backs:
    http://www.holidays.net/independence/re ... ribs02.htm

    Perhaps turkey or brisket:
    http://www.tomsbbq.com/SitDownMenu.htm

    And it maybe even…falls off the bone:
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/360674


    Sweet Baby Ray’s
    800 E. Higgins, Elk Grove
    847.437.9555
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - May 29th, 2008, 12:41 pm
    Post #2 - May 29th, 2008, 12:41 pm Post #2 - May 29th, 2008, 12:41 pm
    I have not had a huge variety of Q. I grew up on Carson's, and that's still what I judge a lot of others by. Carson's certainly fits the "caramelized" category. I've had SBR's, and yup, same category.

    Honey 1 is definitely different, and excellent. I didn't have ribs though. Tips and links came slathered with sauce, so I'm having problems finding much variety. MrsF had ribs, and it's certainly a different beast-product than Carson's, and quite enjoyable. I didn't get to them before she dumped sauce on them, so I'm still no better enlightened.

    My recent Texas trip included the original Salt Lick in Dripping Springs, and Blacks' in Lockhart. We didn't have ribs, we had brisket. An occasional dip into sauce was done just for variety. Black's was like the most succulent charred oak plank you could ever ask for. That's a weird compliment, but I loved it.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #3 - May 29th, 2008, 6:11 pm
    Post #3 - May 29th, 2008, 6:11 pm Post #3 - May 29th, 2008, 6:11 pm
    As an OLD Chicago Native, BBQ to me was Carson's, Twin Anchors, Gale Street, and Russell's (which was my first experience) etc. After living in the South for a few years, I define the difference as in the South ( including KC Texas etc) BBQ is a method of cooking and Chicago style is all about the Sauce.
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #4 - May 29th, 2008, 7:33 pm
    Post #4 - May 29th, 2008, 7:33 pm Post #4 - May 29th, 2008, 7:33 pm
    David Hammond wrote:On these baby backs, there is a somewhat high crust to meat ratio and somewhat low meat to bone ratio. I liked them…though whether they would meet your definition of Chicago-style BBQ – if such a thing even exists – is open to discussion.

    Hammond,

    Chicago style BBQ is not sauced, Sweet Baby Ray's or otherwise, ribs from a Southern Pride gas rotisserie nor is it the horrific baked fall off the bone rib pudding of countless North side restaurants and taverns. Chicago BBQ is spare ribs, tips and links cooked direct over wood in a Chicago built 'Aquarium' style smoker, fat-in-the-fire flavor with the light kiss of wood smoke. Sweet Home Chicago BBQ is chewy, crisp, meaty, juicy, ever so slightly fatty and soul satisfying.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - May 29th, 2008, 8:10 pm
    Post #5 - May 29th, 2008, 8:10 pm Post #5 - May 29th, 2008, 8:10 pm
    David Hammond wrote:many major selling sauces originate here (Sweet Baby Ray’s comes in second in national sales; first slot is held by Open Pit, owned by Kraft).


    Is Open Pit owned by Kraft Foods? The Open Pit website says it is owned by Pinnacle Foods LLc. The Kraft website makes no mention of Open Pit although the Kraftfoodservice site talks about one gallon jugs of open pit in another context. There was a recent discussion about this on the shopping & cooking board. I think one of the guys father's actually developed the brand in the 50s, cant remember who.
  • Post #6 - May 29th, 2008, 8:22 pm
    Post #6 - May 29th, 2008, 8:22 pm Post #6 - May 29th, 2008, 8:22 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Chicago style BBQ is not sauced, Sweet Baby Ray's or otherwise, ribs from a Southern Pride gas rotisserie nor is it the horrific baked fall off the bone rib pudding of countless North side restaurants and taverns. Chicago BBQ is spare ribs, tips and links cooked direct over wood in a Chicago built 'Aquarium' style smoker, fat-in-the-fire flavor with the light kiss of wood smoke. Sweet Home Chicago BBQ is chewy, crisp, meaty, juicy, ever so slightly fatty and soul satisfying.


    I think, like pizza, there two styles of Chicago BBQ. While I personally dislike meat jello it surely has it's fans here in Chicago. Until about 5 years ago you could count on one hand the number of aquarium smokers on the north side. And while I don't like the Southern Pride product as much, it's still closer to real BBQ than boiled and baked.
  • Post #7 - May 29th, 2008, 8:37 pm
    Post #7 - May 29th, 2008, 8:37 pm Post #7 - May 29th, 2008, 8:37 pm
    Speaking as an employee of Kraft (albeit in the law department, specifically re: foreign trademarks), I believe that Kraft sold the retail rights to Open Pit, but retains the lucrative food service rights. This sort of thing happens all the time in the food biz.
  • Post #8 - May 29th, 2008, 9:51 pm
    Post #8 - May 29th, 2008, 9:51 pm Post #8 - May 29th, 2008, 9:51 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:On these baby backs, there is a somewhat high crust to meat ratio and somewhat low meat to bone ratio. I liked them…though whether they would meet your definition of Chicago-style BBQ – if such a thing even exists – is open to discussion.

    Hammond,

    Chicago style BBQ is not sauced, Sweet Baby Ray's or otherwise, ribs from a Southern Pride gas rotisserie nor is it the horrific baked fall off the bone rib pudding of countless North side restaurants and taverns. Chicago BBQ is spare ribs, tips and links cooked direct over wood in a Chicago built 'Aquarium' style smoker, fat-in-the-fire flavor with the light kiss of wood smoke. Sweet Home Chicago BBQ is chewy, crisp, meaty, juicy, ever so slightly fatty and soul satisfying.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    I think it's important to make a distinction between what we want Chicago BBQ to be and what Chicago BBQ actually is.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #9 - May 29th, 2008, 10:31 pm
    Post #9 - May 29th, 2008, 10:31 pm Post #9 - May 29th, 2008, 10:31 pm
    iblock9 wrote:Is Open Pit owned by Kraft Foods? The Open Pit website says it is owned by Pinnacle Foods LLc. The Kraft website makes no mention of Open Pit although the Kraftfoodservice site talks about one gallon jugs of open pit in another context. There was a recent discussion about this on the shopping & cooking board. I think one of the guys father's actually developed the brand in the 50s, cant remember who.

    Pinnacle is, I'm fairly certain, an entity unto itself. It was formerly Vlasic Foods. Pinnacle still owns the Vlasic Brands. Pretty sure Pinnacle is comprised of a group of individuals that were formerly part of and tied to Vlasic.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

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  • Post #10 - May 29th, 2008, 10:40 pm
    Post #10 - May 29th, 2008, 10:40 pm Post #10 - May 29th, 2008, 10:40 pm
    "Open Pit was acquired by General Foods Corp. in 1960 and became part of Kraft Foods in 1989, when the two companies merged. Today, Open Pit is still owned by Kraft in the food service market, while the retail division was sold to Vlasic in 1987. In 2001, Vlasic was acquired by Pinnacle Foods. Open Pit was the leading sauce Today, Open Pit offers six flavors of its "original" style sauce and three flavors of the "Thick & Tangy" sauce that it introduced in 1986."

    Source: http://www.fiery-foods.com/dave2/bbqsauce.asp
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #11 - May 29th, 2008, 11:42 pm
    Post #11 - May 29th, 2008, 11:42 pm Post #11 - May 29th, 2008, 11:42 pm
    I think it's important to make a distinction between what we want Chicago BBQ to be and what Chicago BBQ actually is.


    I agree.

    Russell's (1930), Twin Anchors (1932), Miller's Pub (ribs since 1950 under the Gallios brothers), Gale Street (circa 1965), Carson's (1977), and Baby Ray's (sauce, 1985) are all Chicago originals. They represent and complement a kind of flavor and softer cooking style with a sweet, woodsy, Northern appeal, one that is very popular with many Chicagoans. There is clearly as much Kansas City and Great Lakes barbecue influence here as anyplace else. When Mike Royko started his Ribfests in the early 1980s, ribs were a bigger deal in Chicago than in competitions in the South, and these types of preparations dominated. Charlie Robinson, with roots in Mississippi (Lambert, not far from Memphis), clearly catered to this sauce-focused preference when he found his way to Chicago and to his awards in Royko's rib-off. While I don't currently admire his Oak Park location, I think he represents an important pivot or hybrid between Memphis pit-smoking and this stewy, sticky Northern serving style.

    As G Wiv has expertly demonstrated here and in other places, Chicago has an equally venerable Southern tradition of dry rubs, aquarium smokers, meat with some chaw, and thinner sauces on the side. Lem's is 1951, Barbara Ann's is 1967, and many others have come and gone. These places have been nestled almost exclusively within the South Side thanks to migration patterns. I think it's only recently that tastes have started to shift, allowing places like Honey-1 to succeed up north, and for pilgrims from the north to start to head south to Uncle John's and others with more regularity. If you read the barbecue credos from places like Uncle Bub's, Hecky's, Smoke Daddy, and Famous Dave's, you start to see a mid-90s Midwestern reaction to and against the prevailing style of barbecue served to the middle class in older restaurants and franchises*, and instead embracing Delta, Memphis, and Carolina roots and methods, even if some of these places still go pretty damn heavy on the sauce. I think these ideas paved the way for the success of Smoque and Honky Tonk, even if many of us consider these to not be our shining ideal of what Chicago barbecue should be. You might at least agree that these proprietors are looking to the South for inspiration and validation, and trying to serve all demographics, even if they're not necessarily succeeding in this respect.

    Some, too, loathe the franchising of Famous Dave's, whose national success has attracted the avarice of, and impetus for, many barbecue entrepreneurs. Two interesting quotes from Dave Anderson, the company's half-Ojibwe founder, who researched barbecue in Chicago and Memphis before starting his first restaurant in Hayward, WI, near a reservation (the flagship is now in Minneapolis, close to my wife's family, and is fantastic):

    "I always tell people that barbecue is almost like a religion. It is a religious experience for me that has taken me on a religious pilgrimage for over 25 years now. I have been to every shrine of barbecue all over this country -- literally thousands over the years. I have been to the great mesquite pits down in Texas. I have been to the little smokehouses in the foothills of Georgia and the Carolinas. I have been to the storefront barbecue shacks in Chicago, Memphis, and Kansas City. To me, it's still the Ma and Pa operators that really have the last bastion of barbecue. Some of the great ones are the Rendezvous in Memphis. There is a place called Morris's Grocery in Cordova outside of Memphis. There is Lems Barbecue, 59th and State Street in Chicago, most people would not go there after 4 o'clock, but they don't open until 4 o'clock. There are always little storefront barbecue shacks that are sprinkled all over the country. Those are some of my favorites right off the top of my head...

    I have lived this stuff. I have barbecued in my back yard. I have literally smoked up tons and tons of meat. I have burned up tons of meat. I have made sauces until the sun was coming up. So, to me, I have lived my passion. I have been to every barbecue shrine in America. The same way that Muslims all face Mecca when they pray, all of my ribs, when they are in the smoker, they all face Memphis. To me, the Holy Trinity is meat, sauce and smoke. When I open my doors to my smoker, the smoke comes out. That's nothing more than prayers going up to heaven. That's how passionate I am about barbecue."


    Say what you want about the barbecue, but that seems pretty thoughtful to me. The guy used Lem's and its forebears as an inspiration for a brand that helped popularize Southern-style barbecue in the Midwest. I'm personally very happy that we have Lem's and Barbara Ann's still around and thriving, that the Adams and Mack Sevier could set up shop with a broad appeal for this tradition, and that we have Honky Tonk and Smoque trying to honor it and attract the majority middle class that has grown up with sticky corporate barbecue. But I also don't think we can dismiss the old potluck Chicago barbecue with its simmered recipes and sauce inspirations from everywhere from Kansas City to Montreal. I think we can honor our stockyard melting pot by making room for multiple styles when we consider our current barbecue landscape and its heritage.

    Santander

    * interestingly, many here (and elsewhere) compare the old Northern style of Chicago barbecue to what is served at Chili's, Bennigan's, and Applebee's, though the former was founded in Texas and the later two in Georgia. I'm not sure how sticky-sweet fall-off-the-bone ribs ended up as a mainstay of these franchises across the country, which is another good research project.
  • Post #12 - May 30th, 2008, 1:08 am
    Post #12 - May 30th, 2008, 1:08 am Post #12 - May 30th, 2008, 1:08 am
    I've met Dave Raymond (they went to culinary with our corporate chef) and I believe his brother a few times at our restaurant. They are just incredibly good guys who hit it big on the BBQ circuit and created a sauce that was liked by the masses. They remain the same guys I imagine they were 20 years ago before they sold the sauce for millions. Many people like to denounce the restaurants because of the name but they really have a good idea of what they're doing.
  • Post #13 - May 30th, 2008, 1:21 am
    Post #13 - May 30th, 2008, 1:21 am Post #13 - May 30th, 2008, 1:21 am
    G Wiv wrote:Chicago style BBQ is not sauced, Sweet Baby Ray's or otherwise, ribs from a Southern Pride gas rotisserie nor is it the horrific baked fall off the bone rib pudding of countless North side restaurants and taverns. Chicago BBQ is spare ribs, tips and links cooked direct over wood in a Chicago built 'Aquarium' style smoker, fat-in-the-fire flavor with the light kiss of wood smoke.

    I don't think you can dismiss "countless" North Side restaurants as being unChicago. That's just like saying Chicago-style pizza is the flat kind. Saucy slide-off-the-bone ribs may not be the style you like, but it's definitely a popular, intrinsically local style.

    And you can't say Chicago-style ribs, North or South side, aren't sauced. Even Honey 1 will automatically douse your 'que in sauce unless you ask them not to.

    I grew up in Detroit, which like Chicago, had two distinct styles of local barbecue: Smoky, chewy spare ribs flame grilled with a glaze of tangy lightly sweet sauce as prepared in places like the BoneYard and less smoky, softer and relatively unseasoned ribs as served at Tunnel Bar-B-Q. The geographic division was less distinct than Chicago's and in those less PC days, we categorized them as "black people's ribs" and "white people's ribs."

    Don Raye and Freddie Slack, in 'The House of Blue Lights,' 1946 (performed by Raye, Slack and Ella Mae Morse) wrote:Fall in there and we'll see some sights
    Down at the house, the House of Blue Lights

    There's fryers and broilers and Detroit barbecue ribs
    But the treat of the treats is when they serve you those fine eight beats
    You'll want to spend the rest of your brights
    Down at the house, at the house, at the House of Blue Lights
    *

    * The House of Blue Lights was a Chicago after-hours club connected to Earl Hines' El Grotto Supper Club at the Pershing Hotel in Woodlawn in the 1940s.
  • Post #14 - May 30th, 2008, 2:03 am
    Post #14 - May 30th, 2008, 2:03 am Post #14 - May 30th, 2008, 2:03 am
    LAZ: fantastic. Thanks for the personal history and the wonderful soundclip. Not too many songs out there mentioning ribs, though that would be a fun collection.
  • Post #15 - May 30th, 2008, 3:59 am
    Post #15 - May 30th, 2008, 3:59 am Post #15 - May 30th, 2008, 3:59 am
    Santander wrote:Many here (and elsewhere) compare the old Northern style of Chicago barbecue to what is served at Chili's, Bennigan's, and Applebee's, though the former was founded in Texas and the later two in Georgia. I'm not sure how sticky-sweet fall-off-the-bone ribs ended up as a mainstay of these franchises across the country, which is another good research project.


    Santander, it’s odd, to me, that a “sticky-sweet” approach is associated with Northern style, when sugar seems to play such a large role in much of what I know of as general Southern and even Soul styles. The sugary sauce approach now seems, as you say, to be really a national preference that all the major chains and franchises serve (and perpetuate).

    pizano345 wrote:I've met Dave Raymond (they went to culinary with our corporate chef) and I believe his brother a few times at our restaurant. They are just incredibly good guys who hit it big on the BBQ circuit and created a sauce that was liked by the masses. They remain the same guys I imagine they were 20 years ago before they sold the sauce for millions. Many people like to denounce the restaurants because of the name but they really have a good idea of what they're doing.


    We are suspicious of brands, but I also got the undeniable sense that Dave Raymond put a lot of thought and energy into his product, a condiment my children would many times use to douse the ribs and brisket I had carefully smoked, much to my continuing pain (I had put hours into getting the meat right). We, students of the BBQ, may discount sauce because for us it's usually an after-thought, and our focus is on the carefully crafted flavor of the meat, but there is no objective reason why a well-made sauce should not be allowed to share the plate with a well-smoked meat, and as LAZ points out, this is the way Robert and some of our favorite Q-men tend to serve it.

    David "School of Wiviott, Class of '05" Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #16 - May 30th, 2008, 4:35 am
    Post #16 - May 30th, 2008, 4:35 am Post #16 - May 30th, 2008, 4:35 am
    David Hammond wrote:I think it's important to make a distinction between what we want Chicago BBQ to be and what Chicago BBQ actually is.


    Hammond et al,

    Venerable as North side of Chicago tradition of baked/steamed/boiled pork ribs slathered with BBQ sauce and finished under a broiler may be it is not BBQ. BBQ necessitates interaction between wood smoke and meat. BBQ sauce on meat does not BBQ make.

    You could certainly make a current case for two styles of Chicagoland BBQ, North Side and suburban BBQ using gas fired rotisserie smokers and traditional South and West side 'Aquarium' style smoker tips, links and spare ribs.

    A trend does not tradition make, even if tradition is swiftly becoming lost to expediency and commercialism.

    Rob Walsh
    "There's not much point in complaining about high-tech barbecue. It serves a purpose, and it's here to stay. And no doubt the quality of it will keep on improving. But as the old barbecue joints slowly disappear, each one that remains becomes a bigger treasure."

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - May 30th, 2008, 6:15 am
    Post #17 - May 30th, 2008, 6:15 am Post #17 - May 30th, 2008, 6:15 am
    G Wiv wrote:Venerable as North side of Chicago tradition of baked/steamed/boiled pork ribs slathered with BBQ sauce and finished under a broiler may be it is not BBQ. BBQ necessitates interaction between wood smoke and meat. BBQ sauce on meat does not BBQ make.

    This is a semantical distinction that's long since lost the usage fight -- if, indeed, the smoke cooking you mean ever predominated at all. To a lot of people "barbecue" just means grilling, even if it's done on a gas grill without wood or even charcoal briquettes. For that matter, to a sizable group, "barbecue" means ground beef mixed with barbecue sauce.

    However the meat is cooked, defining characteristics that I see setting Chicago barbecue apart from other places' include pork rather than other meats and that heavy dousing in sauce before serving.

    This swimming-in-sauce tradition is different from that of other places even in the Midwest. In Detroit (as I mentioned above), Indiana (as can be tasted at Bar-B-Que Bob's in Rogers Park) and Cincinnati (Montgomery Inn), they are all more restrained with the sauce than most Chicago restaurants.

    Those of you who order your ribs sauceless as a matter of course may miss this, but I notice that the aquarium-smoker places tend to be even more liberal with pouring on the sauce post-cooking than the others.
  • Post #18 - May 30th, 2008, 6:28 am
    Post #18 - May 30th, 2008, 6:28 am Post #18 - May 30th, 2008, 6:28 am
    I really feel part of this thread needs to be in Flemish.

    Sincerely,
    The Pope of Montana
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  • Post #19 - May 30th, 2008, 6:31 am
    Post #19 - May 30th, 2008, 6:31 am Post #19 - May 30th, 2008, 6:31 am
    LAZ wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:Venerable as North side of Chicago tradition of baked/steamed/boiled pork ribs slathered with BBQ sauce and finished under a broiler may be it is not BBQ. BBQ necessitates interaction between wood smoke and meat. BBQ sauce on meat does not BBQ make.

    This is a semantical distinction that's long since lost the usage fight -- if, indeed, the smoke cooking you mean ever predominated at all. To a lot of people "barbecue" just means grilling, even if it's done on a gas grill without wood or even charcoal briquettes. For that matter, to a sizable group, "barbecue" means ground beef mixed with barbecue sauce.

    LAZ,

    I strenuously disagree, in particular when referring to low and slow style BBQ. I should also add, and I mean this as a sincere compliment, you so not strike me as the type of person particularly concerned what "a lot of people" feel is proper definition of terms.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - May 30th, 2008, 7:43 am
    Post #20 - May 30th, 2008, 7:43 am Post #20 - May 30th, 2008, 7:43 am
    G Wiv wrote:I strenuously disagree, in particular when referring to low and slow style BBQ. I should also add, and I mean this as a sincere compliment, you so not strike me as the type of person particularly concerned what "a lot of people" feel is proper definition of terms.


    We're trying to develop a useful definition here. The definition of a word is dictated by usage, or how the word is used by people. In this sense, definitions are very democratic. Whether one individual likes it or not, the way most speakers of a language tend to use a word determines the definition of the word.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #21 - May 30th, 2008, 7:53 am
    Post #21 - May 30th, 2008, 7:53 am Post #21 - May 30th, 2008, 7:53 am
    As others see us:
    I passed a restaurant in Phoenix with a sign labeled A&J's Chicago Style BBQ. The link goes to a review of the restaurant, unfortunately Google Street View hasn't hit 16th north of Bethany Home yet.

    The article asks, "What is Chicago Style" and never quite answers it, but it appears it's more Honey 1 than SBR.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #22 - May 30th, 2008, 8:05 am
    Post #22 - May 30th, 2008, 8:05 am Post #22 - May 30th, 2008, 8:05 am
    David Hammond wrote:Whether one individual likes it or not, the way most speakers of a language tend to use a word determines the definition of the word.

    Hammond,

    So you suggest we simply throw traditional usage out the window because Kraft wants to sell BBQ sauce? Be my guest, but I intend on being the person repeating, over and over, BBQ is not a verb, not a sauce but a method of outdoor cookery that, by definition, necessitates interaction of wood smoke and animal flesh.

    Regards,
    Gary 'you will have to pry my smoker from my cold dead embers' Wiviott
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - May 30th, 2008, 8:16 am
    Post #23 - May 30th, 2008, 8:16 am Post #23 - May 30th, 2008, 8:16 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:Whether one individual likes it or not, the way most speakers of a language tend to use a word determines the definition of the word.

    Hammond,

    So you suggest we simply throw traditional usage out the window because Kraft wants to sell BBQ sauce? Be my guest, but I intend on being the person repeating, over and over, BBQ is not a verb, not a sauce but a method of outdoor cookery that, by definition, necessitates interaction of wood smoke and animal flesh.


    No, I intend to maintain the distinction between "grill" and "BBQ," even though this is a distinction that may be transparent to most speakers of English. Maintaining this distinction is a challenge, given common usage, but not nearly as challenging as it will be to convince people that BBQ sauce does not exist. Good luck on that. :D
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #24 - May 30th, 2008, 8:21 am
    Post #24 - May 30th, 2008, 8:21 am Post #24 - May 30th, 2008, 8:21 am
    David Hammond wrote:No, I intend to maintain the distinction between "grill" and "BBQ," even though this is a distinction that may be transparent to most speakers of English. Maintaining this distinction is a challenge, given common usage, but not nearly as challenging as it will be to convince people that BBQ sauce does not exist. Good luck on that. :D

    Hammond,

    BBQ sauce does exist, I like it, I make it, I buy it, but BBQ sauce is a condiment meant to be used in the same fashion as mustard and ketchup, not a style of cookery.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #25 - May 30th, 2008, 8:37 am
    Post #25 - May 30th, 2008, 8:37 am Post #25 - May 30th, 2008, 8:37 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:No, I intend to maintain the distinction between "grill" and "BBQ," even though this is a distinction that may be transparent to most speakers of English. Maintaining this distinction is a challenge, given common usage, but not nearly as challenging as it will be to convince people that BBQ sauce does not exist. Good luck on that. :D

    Hammond,

    BBQ sauce does exist, I like it, I make it, I buy it, but BBQ sauce is a condiment meant to be used in the same fashion as mustard and ketchup, not a style of cookery.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    From Dictionary.com, first definition of "Barbecue":

    pieces of beef, fowl, fish, or the like, roasted over an open hearth, esp. when basted in a barbecue sauce. (Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=barbecue)

    From Alice in Wonderland:

    `When _I_ use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just
    what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'
    `The question is,' said Alice, `whether you CAN make words mean so many different
    things.'
    `The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #26 - May 30th, 2008, 8:51 am
    Post #26 - May 30th, 2008, 8:51 am Post #26 - May 30th, 2008, 8:51 am
    David Hammond wrote:From Dictionary.com, first definition of "Barbecue":

    Kind of early in the discussion to devolve into dueling Internet source definitions.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #27 - May 30th, 2008, 9:05 am
    Post #27 - May 30th, 2008, 9:05 am Post #27 - May 30th, 2008, 9:05 am
    Ill chime in on this hot topic.

    When I was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, bbq, and especially ribs were boiled slabs of meat jello, thrown on the grill, & slathered with bbq sauce for a few minutes after having all the texture, and flavor of the pork simmered out of them.

    In my humble opinion, places like Carsons, Twin Anchors, & Gale Street Inn(places I think are terrible) are what I considere "Chicago Style bbq", vs. places like Honey 1, Smoque, etc(places I like) as "Southern style bbq"). After living in the south, and traveling alot through the Carolinas, and other areas as an adult, I was exposed to what bbq really was. Pork, and beef slowly cooked in a smoker. Since that time I have owned a few smokers, and prepare that style of bbq myself. But then again I have never been a "Chicagoan", always a suburban person, and now live in the country.

    I also agree bbq sauce is a condiment like ketchup, mustard, or salsa in my house, never put on ribs.
  • Post #28 - May 30th, 2008, 9:35 am
    Post #28 - May 30th, 2008, 9:35 am Post #28 - May 30th, 2008, 9:35 am
    jimswside wrote:Ill chime in on this hot topic.

    When I was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, bbq, and especially ribs were boiled slabs of meat jello, thrown on the grill, & slathered with bbq sauce for a few minutes after having all the texture, and flavor of the pork simmered out of the. In my humble opinion, places like Carsons, Twin Anchors, & Gale Street Inn are what I considerer Chicago style bbq, vs. places like Honey 1, Smoque, etc, as Southern bbq). After living in the south, and traveling alot through the Carolinas, and other areas as an adult, I was exposed to what bbq really was. Pork, and beef slowly cooked in a smoker. Since that time I have owned a few smokers, and prepare that style of bbq myself. But then again I have never been a "Chicagoan", always a suburban person, and now live in the country.

    I also agree bbq sauce is a condiment like ketchup, nustard, or salsa in my house, never put on ribs.

    My upbringing was similar and I spent my childhood and early adulthood in the northern suburbs believing that I didn't like bbq because my limited experience with it was Carson's, which is utterly detestable, and home-made, grilled chicken, slathered in burnt, store-bought sauce. I knew nothing beyond this.

    In my early 20's, I made a trip to North Carolina that changed my life. For the first time, I was exposed to what I now consider real barbecue. The pulled pork I ate on that trip was transcendant and unlike anything I'd ever had before. I began to understand why people were so obsessive, so absolutely ga-ga over barbecue.

    I've contended for many years that, given the amount of meat that passes through this town, Chicago is fairly devoid of barbecue. Yes there are some great spots but I wish there were more of them and that they were more spread out, geographically. I also wish that the 'bake and sauce' joints would stop referring to themselves as barbecue. Carson's turns out a decent steak and the chopped liver is great but those ribs, well, barbecue they are not. I don't mind a little barbecue sauce on my barbecue, but it is most definitely a condiment and nothing more.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #29 - May 30th, 2008, 9:45 am
    Post #29 - May 30th, 2008, 9:45 am Post #29 - May 30th, 2008, 9:45 am
    G Wiv wrote:I should also add, and I mean this as a sincere compliment, you so not strike me as the type of person particularly concerned what "a lot of people" feel is proper definition of terms.

    Thanks, I think. But there comes a point where insisting on a definition, however correct, that runs counter to popular usage starts to interfere with communication.

    Although I strongly believe that a "martini" has nothing to do with sweet liqueurs or fruit juice, if I want a cocktail made from gin and vermouth in a bar, I had better be specific when I order one.

    Even in the context you espouse, "barbecue" is a verb.

    I don't think anyone here will disagree that the best barbecue is made just the way you say. But for the purposes of discussion, can we just call it "slow-smoked barbecue"? If you want to call the other kind "faux barbecue," I won't quibble.

    Can we at least agree that what Chicago means by "barbecue" is pork? That distinguishes it from Texas and Western Kentucky, at least.
  • Post #30 - May 30th, 2008, 9:51 am
    Post #30 - May 30th, 2008, 9:51 am Post #30 - May 30th, 2008, 9:51 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I spent my childhood and early adulthood in the northern suburbs believing that I didn't like bbq because my limited experience with it was Carson's, which is utterly detestable, and home-made, grilled chicken, slathered in burnt, store-bought sauce. I knew nothing beyond this.

    In my early 20's, I made a trip to North Carolina that changed my life. For the first time, I was exposed to what I now consider real barbecue.


    My early experiences with BBQ pretty much mirror yours (note: we are using "BBQ" in the common parlance of meat soused with sauce), so I tend not to accept the idea, expressed in the A&J article linked to above, that “the first barbecue that passes your lips forever defines your ideal of the perfect "cue." Everything after that is a mere imitation.” Thank goodness that is not so.

    Without getting entangled in linguistics and philosophy, I think determining what's "real" barbecue makes sense only when discussing specific regional variations. There seems to be a verifiable genre called "North Carolina BBQ," but listening to the Sterns talk on "Splendid Table" a little while ago, Mr. Stern proposed that there are sub-genres within the larger North Carolina category, making it even harder to point to a single style of BBQ and say, with certainty, "THAT is the real thing."

    What seems clear to me is that if there is an identifiable Chicago style of BBQ, many people on this board don't prefer it. That's a matter of taste.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”

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