Another stop on my BBQ vision quest, but this one is much closer to home: Smoke Daddy. They’ve been around in Chicago for a while, and everyone in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area knows about ’em. It’s my local BBQ joint.
Let’s start with the ambiance, which they get pretty much right. It’s not too nice and clean (a good thing for a BBQ joint), and they have live blues most nights (a tried-and-true BBQ convention). It has the feel of a place where people have come through the doors with all kinds of stories to tell, good and bad.
As far the food at Smoke Daddy goes, it’s important to know what you want if you are going to eat there. I prefer very heavy smoke flavor in my BBQ, so pretty much the only option on the menu for me that totally nails that flavor is the burnt ends. For those who have not heard of this, burnt ends are the result of a twice seasoned, and twice smoked brisket part. The flavors that come out of that process are pretty intense. In spite of the name, most of the other items come out with a decidedly less smoky finish.
There are 3 kinds of sauce, so you are pretty likely to find a flavor profile that you like. One is a sweeter style, another is more of a Memphis vinegar, and the last one is a Carolina mustard style. The consistency of the sauces is a little thin, which some people don’t care for. Amazingly enough, some of the relatively best food at Smoke Daddy is on the side menu. The greens and cole slaw are among the best I’ve had and the beer selection is pretty good (Boulevard Wheat on tap is always a plus). Overall, it’s a good place to get your BBQ fix, and the new addition to the building looks like it will be pretty nice (see picture below).