BBQ Restaurants in Caledonia

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Simplicity and quality meet in The Full Slab's choice-cut meats, which absorb the rich flavors of house-made marinades, six barbecue sauces, and hand-blended dry rubs. The aroma of flame-smacked, made-from-scratch pulled pork, brisket, and ribs, as well as seafood and pasta plates, fills the eatery. Diners can also take in a game on one of The Full Slab's big-screen TVs while enjoying a hand-crafted cocktail or cold beer from its well-stocked bar.

34500 N US Highway 45
Grayslake,
IL
US

At Fatman Sports Lounge & Lanes, bowlers hurl orbs down 12 automatically scored lanes. Illustrations of electrified neon balls and pins line the alley's walls, complementing the beat-heavy tunes and pulsing lights of nightly cosmic bowling. An arcade challenges guests with pinball machines, racing games, and a claw machine that beckons with the promise of winning a stuffed toy or permission to cheat at one round of bowling.

The restaurant proves far more ambitious than the standard bowling-alley snack bar, dishing out thick, slow-simmered chili, a score of piled-high sandwiches, broasted chicken, and house-made pizza. Bartenders spin cocktails that tend toward the elaborate, potent, and sweet, with a dozen different variations on a long island iced tea alone.

13860 Rockland Rd
Lake Bluff,
IL
US

Since 1987, Fodrak's Gyros & Ribs has carved out a niche with every slice of its signature gyro, earning the Pioneer Press’s Best of Lake County award as the Best Place for Gyros four years running. Their chefs build innovative dishes from the classic greek staple, piling it onto gyros pizzas and slam-dunking it onto gyros cheeseburgers. Not to be upstaged, the menu’s supporting cast can also hold its own. Cooks drench baby-back ribs in barbecue sauce, hand cut french fries, and assemble Chicago-style hot dogs topped with all manner of fixings. Their culinary creativity extends to their six varieties of baked potato, which include spuds capped with gyros and sauce or bacon and cheese. Like the finale of the Nutcracker, traditionally performed on candy flutes, dinners end on a sweet note, with desserts such as banana shakes and homemade baklava.

327 S Milwaukee Ave
Libertyville,
IL
US

In 2012, Man v. Food called in Jeremy Wheeler, one of their most trusted competitors, to take on Red Rock Saloon's Unforgiven challenge. As he sidled up to the table, a gravity-defying meal towered before him: atop a pound of French fries sat a fried chicken breast buried between two half-pound bacon cheeseburgers. Encircling the meaty monolith were six ghost-chili chicken wings—and he only had 23 minutes to eat it all. Though it took him until the very last second, Jeremy defeated the meal, becoming only the second person in Red Rock's history to do so.

It’s fitting that Red Rock would dream up a challenge most patrons can’t win—the restaurant is named after a real-life rodeo bull that famously bucked more than 300 riders. When patrons aren’t lining up to ride the mechanical version of Red Rock or listening to live rock and country music, they’re crowding around tables to order from a menu that boasts 2012 Chili Bowl champion Texas red chili. Like Oprah’s address book, the rest of the menu reads like a scrapbook of American pop culture: seasoned chicken crowns the James Dean salad, molasses barbecue sauce sweetens KC Jones wings, and pineapple and jalapeños pile atop a Will Kane pulled-pork sandwich.

1227 N Water St
Milwaukee,
WI
US

Fire on Water’s name conjures a mental image of pizzas, cocktails, and beer floating together on a blazing lake. The flame-licked menu sizzles with a diverse lineup of pies that range from simple and elegant margherita pizzas topped with tomatoes, sweet basil, and mozzarella. In addition to pizzas, the kitchen also dispenses boneless chicken wings, and wonton-wrapped mozzarella sticks with more cheese than a selfish mousetrap. Each day of the week brings a new drink special to the bar, which houses more than 50 kinds of beer and a lengthy selection of liquors to be hoisted toward weekly events and live music.

518 N Water St
Milwaukee,
WI
US

Amid the tangy aroma of buffalo wings and the clink of beer glasses, patrons at Karma Bar & Grill gather around 20 HDTVs with MLB, NHL, NFL, and UFC packages, eyes locked on the match. Servers keep the atmosphere inviting as they deliver pitchers of beer, hefty 1/2-pound Angus steak burgers, plates of six-cheese mac or house-smoked brisket and pork, Friday fish fries, and other from-scratch specialties. During baseball season, Karma offers patrons a Brewer shuttle during every home game, and stand-up comedians appear on select Wednesdays and Fridays. The private Karma Lounge is also available for rental for groups of 10–80, and sports a giant projection screen along with a private bar.

600 E Ogden Ave.
Milwaukee,
WI
US