Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Now that's what I call BBQ!

It's been a busy couple weeks, but I'm finally back here to tell you what I've been up to. I've been working kind of a lot, and have been traveling during the weekends in between. I have had a new job for about a month and a half now, at a kitchen store and cooking school called The Chopping Block. If you live in Chicago, check out the locations at The Merchandise Mart and in Lincoln Square. I'm mostly working as a class assistant, helping teach the cooking classes. This is the second time I've worked at a store like this, and I have to say I couldn't ask for a better job! The classes are a lot of fun, and I learn while I'm working. Plus, I love being in an atmosphere where everyone appreciates and enjoys cooking and eating good food. If you're ever in the area, check our the website and stop in! http://www.thechoppingblock.net/

One of our recent weekend trips was to Kansas City, where Joe and I lived before moving to Chicago. We have family and friends that live around the area, so we try to get back to visit every once in a while. The 4th of July was a great opportunity to visit, with the built in 3-day weekend. We had a fantastic time catching up with all our old friends! It was a great holiday weekend, and we were so glad we had the chance to visit. One of the highlights was a visit to a BBQ establishment, which is a necessary part of any visit to Kansas City.

In the past my favorite had been Arthur Bryant's, where I tried to go whenever possible. It's the real deal for awesome Kansas City BBQ. But recently it came to my attention that Anthony Bourdain had listed another BBQ joint, Oklahoma Joe's, as one of the top 13 places to eat before you die. In his article for Men's Health, Bourdain listed Okie Joe's along with some heavy hitters like French Laundry and el Bulli (and also Hot Dougs, here in Chicago, which has the most insanely long lines EVER). Joe used to go there for lunch sometimes when he worked nearby, but I'd never had a chance. So I requested some BBQ for dinner one night, and everyone jumped on board quickly!

Considering the recent publicity, the line was pretty reasonable. I guess it did stretch out the door, but they moved along at a good pace. The smell inside was enough to make your stomach growl, and watching people walk by with full trays almost made me want to swipe it and run. There were plenty of tables, so we didn't have to stress about where to sit. All good signs...

The food was all I had hoped for. I am a pulled pork connoisseur (some might say addict), and I was really happy with my sandwich. I'm not really a purist, so I like to slather it with sauce before digging in. The pork was tender and full of flavor, and I liked the sauce a lot.

I had to have baked beans, too, and thought they were pretty good. Not mind-blowing, but tasty and satisfying. Our group also had burnt ends, ribs, sausage, cole slaw, and fries... needless to say, no one left hungry.

Want some for yourself? Check out their website for locations and for a store where you can order your own sauce. Sorry, that pork doesn't ship very well!

Those are some
satisfied smiles,
wouldn't you say?


elly said...

YUM! That looks so great. I love bbq. Are you working at the LS Chopping Block? I'll have to come in and see you one day. I've been saying I'm going to get my knives sharpened forever now...

Joelen said...

This looked like a fun trip! I've been on a slight commenting hiatus with my busy schedule lately... but it's great to catch up and see what's cooking in your kitchen!