Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Smoke Daddy Rythm & Bar-B-Que

CHICAGO: Smoke Daddy Rythm & Bar-B-Que
1804 W Division St

Chicago, IL 60622


Open Sun-Thur 11:30-11, F-Sat 11:30-12am

In a small storefront along Division Street in the Wicker Park neighborhood sits Smoke Daddy. The interior is cozy with a bar feel, and I sat at the bar to wait for my to-go order. The "Taste of the Daddy" platter was $22 and got me a half slab of baby backs, sliced brisket and pulled pork along with two sides. Expensive for a three-meat plate, but they didn't skimp on the meat or sides. The family and I then found our way up to Wicker Park where my daughter could watch the dogs play, and we I could sit and stuff my face.

This isn't what I'd consider traditional Chicago style BBQ. It all had decent smoke, but the heavy reliance on a spicy tomato based sauce coupled with the thin sliced brisket just screamed KC style to me. The ribs were well basted, and had great texture. No falling off the bone ribs here. Pulled pork had a great bark, but tasted mainly of sauce. Curiously, they included sides of two other sauce flavors. Why bother pouring one sauce over everything if you're going to provide other sauces as well? I was forced to mix sauces if I wanted to try another flavor. In the end, I just stuck with the original stuff, and enjoyed the meat. Sides of intensely meaty beans and great creamy mac & cheese made for a great meal.

This joint doesn't bother with an aquarium pit. They once marketed the use of their 'famous' Lil' Red Smoker which was in use since the opening in 1994. It was retired in December of 2007 for a gas-fired Ole Hickory rotisserie smoker. I didn't get a look at it, but I did notice the sweet t-shirts sported by the staff. I bought a brown one with a vintage looking logo. It set me back a surprising $30, but I think I wear it at least once a week. Maybe they'll give me a discount if I wear it on my next visit.

Rating ***
Smoke Daddy on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

David K said...

I used to work at Smokedaddy around 10 years ago, for the original owner. Back then, we were almost strictly Tex-Arkana style BBQ and it was brilliant. A string of new tinkering owners stole the soul of this location trying to find as many ways to make a buck as they could. In its time, Smokedaddy was as amazing little place that had great BBQ, the best in Chicago live blues and rockabilly, and the funnest atmosphere anyone could ask was one in a million.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.