I love barbeque! In fact I have my own smoker and smoke ribs, brisket, and pork butt all year long. The truth is that many of us don’t even know what true barbeque is. To some, throwing burgers and dogs on a hot grill is barbeque. The truth is unless it is cooked low (225 degrees) and slow over wood it really isn’t true barbeque. While real “Q” is generally found in the south (Southern U.S. not Tinley Park) there is a place in the burbs where the smell of smoke can be smelled in the middle of the night. Q-BBQ is bringing real “Q” to Chicagoland.
This small and approachable joint just felt right the minute I walked in. Wood tables with BBQ sauces and paper towel rolls filled the dining room as the faint smell of smoke filled the air. Not sure what to get? The staff is rock star knowledgeable and will help guide you through this meat extravaganza! All the meat is smoked with a combination of cherry and hickory woods up to 15 hours!
Me and a couple of buddies decided we would try darn near everything to help get a true sense if these guys knew what they were doing. First up was the Papa Q sampler platter served with chopped brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, ribs, spicy sausage, and wings. We also ordered a large plate of baby back ribs, sliced brisket, burnt ends, corn bread, baked beans, cole slaw, mac and cheese, and Q-Pups. Since we all shared some of everything I will break everything down meat by meat, side by side, and finally sauce by sauce.
There are certain tests to use when judging if BBQ is done right and the sliced brisket passed the test! The brisket was moist, tender and easily pulled apart in my fingers and found a very happy home in my belly. Chopped brisket had enough fat to make a tasty sandwich but my favorite was the burnt ends! The ends of the brisket are chopped off, hit a second time with the dry rub, and then back in the smoker to help create a flavor explosion! Ribs are smoked 5 hours until the rub creates a dark molasses like crust and are bite off the bone not fall off the bone tender. Pulled pork is one of my favorites and they top theirs with smoked Gouda to help make a rockin’ pulled pork sandwich.
The pulled chicken was also tender but I only choose this if I am out of pork. Another winner was the smokey and spicy sausages that just bursted with flavor. I love ribs, brisket, and pulled pork but I have to admit that my surprise favorite was the smoked chicken wings. They smell amazing from the smoke and the rub but when they come out of the smoker they put on more rub and then deep fry them until they are crispy! I love Buffalo wings but if I showed up to a party and they served these wings, they would have to kick me out before I would ever leave!
Let’s hit sides and sauces next. Creamy mac and cheese was topped with crunchy Cheez It crackers and struck a nice balance so both kids and grown ups will enjoy. Baked beans had nice notes of brown sugar and good chunks of brisket. Q-Pups are really fresh tasting hush puppies while the cole slaw struck a nice balance of creaminess with a touch of crunch. Four sauces are available starting with the South Carolina mustard sauce which had a nice blast of vinegar and mustard that worked well with the chicken wings. The North Carolina vinegar sauce is very thin and tangy and works well with the pulled pork. The sweet sauce is for those that like Sweet Baby Rays but better. My favorite sauce was the CQ-Spicy that had the sweetness of the sweet sauce but with a shot of heat that tickles your tongue just right.
Prices are pretty reasonable with many items under $10 and only the full slabs of ribs go over $20. If you never had real “Q” before do yourself a favor and make the drive to La Grange or Naperville and check it out for yourself. Q-BBQ is definitely on my short list for great BBQ in Chicagoland. Rating **** and ½ out of *****.
70 S. La Grange Rd
La Grange, IL 60525
103 S. Main St.
Naperville, IL 60540