If you read this website regularly, you’ll know that I’m a BBQ aficionado. I’ve traveled to many of the highly touted pits of North and South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Kansas, and Texas. The best BBQ I’ve found is that at the City Market in Luling, Texas, where they do a mean brisket with an ethereal sauce. But the pitmasters of Chicago are no slouches, and specialize in rib tips—the ends of the spareribs that are wood-smoked in “aquarium smokers” that resemble oversized fish tanks. You get your choice of mild or hot sauce (I usually get “mixed”), the obligatory two slices of white bread, which act as a neutral starch to tame the sauce, and about 10 grams of “vegetable” (a tiny plastic tub of cole slaw) on the side. Another delicacy is the “hot link,” a large sausage packed with pork, spices, and red pepper, tasting a bit like a breakfast sausage but with a lot more punch. Those, too, are smoked and barbecued.
Nobody could claim that this food is good for you, but every few weeks I have a hankering for the stuff and head down to Uncle John’s BBQ on 69th street, a short drive from the University of Chicago. In this humble storefront, amiable pitmaster Mack Sevier works his magic. And I always get the same thing: tips and links. It’s ten dollars, and enough food for three meals. The hot links literally burst in their porky juiciness when pierced by a tooth, and the rib tips are a wonderful mixture of crunchy outer bits and tender inside meat, which you gnaw to get every last shred off the bone. Here is food for the gods:
Figure 1. Tips and links from Uncle John’s. If you want to make a comment about the unhealthiness of this food, do me a favor and refrain.
Which brings us to today’s felid. I am a denizen of Chicago’s premier food discussion group, the “LTH forum” (named after a Chinese restaurant, the Little Three Happiness), and a while back there was a thread on the splendor of Uncle John’s BBQ. One poster, “geno55”, was photographing a tips and links combo for the thread, but without warning a ninja barbecue cat darted into the picture to snatch a rib tip. Here’s the photo:
Fig. 2. A lucky cat. I can has ribz?
Fig. 3. Uncle John’s: a mecca for all lovers of BBQ
Fig. 4. Mack Sevier at the smoker. This man has brought far more happiness to the world than I ever will.
h/t: LTH forum and geno55