A smattering of 20 sauces and seasonings dripping from handspun wings coats patrons' fingers as they cheer on their favorite professional sports teams broadcast on Buffalo Wild Wings' TVs. Eyes are torn between watching teams dribble a ball, shoot a puck, and land a grand jeté, and plates of plentiful wings, burgers, wraps, salads, and ribs. For more entertainment, trivia games exercise brains, and the Blazin' Challenge offers recognition for those brave enough to down a dozen wings slathered in the eatery's hottest sauce in 6 minutes.
Since 1941, the Dickey family has been churning out Texas-style barbecue and tasty family style sandwiches, sides, salads, and baked taters. Dickey’s lets customers choose from a menu of USDA Prime meats—all cooked slowly to smoky perfection over a hot hickory fire pit every night—including southern pulled pork, tender turkey breast, and Virginia-style ham. Start with some sliced beef brisket on the big barbecue sandwich ($5) served with pickles, onions, and Dickey's famous sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce, which took three years, two fist fights, and one small kitchen fire to develop. Or go with the quarter plate, a quarter pound of your favorite meat served with two sides and a roll ($7). Sides include waffle-iron fries, barbecue beans, original potato salad, and baked-potato casserole ($1.50 each when purchased separately). Diners with more than one mouth to feed can play hot potato with a giant stuffed baker ($4) before stuffing their head's two other mouths with the picnic pack, which includes a pound of meat, two pintsize sides, four rolls, and barbecue sauce ($20).
As the name suggests, nearly every item on the menu at Just Turkey Restaurant is made with turkey, from jalapeno turkey burgers and hot dogs to honey glazed turkey legs. The eatery's signature item—turkey ribs—has garnered attention from such local media sources as 190 North and Time Out Chicago. The inventive dish can be ordered jerk-style or deep-fried. Turkey tacos and spaghetti round out the menu, and diners can accompany their main course with homestyle dishes, such as sweet butter corn and mixed greens—something that is forbidden at a golf course.
It takes at least a day to prepare every meal at Smokin' Woody's. After it's sourced from a local, family-owned business, each piece of meat gets rubbed with a signature spice mix. Then it's left to sit in the kitchen overnight, where it absorbs all those the flavors and spreads gossip about who has the best marbling. Next, the meat is smoked in-house over crackling hickory logs, seared on a grill, and served with spoonfuls of sauce. This process may sound simple, but each slab of meat also has its own designated cooking time and prep techniques. The popular pulled pork, for example, is smoked for 12 hours before it's pulled by hand and paired with classic sides, such as baked beans and coleslaw.
The menu also spotlights expertly charred burgers, spicy pork sausages, and slabs of ribs. Those who want to sample multiple meats can order a combo meal or family dinner, bookended by a bowl of homemade smoked chicken noodle soup and a homemade dessert, such as apple pie or homemade coconut custard pie.
The River Grove Sheffield's serves up much of the same menu as its Chicago brethren. Enjoy spacious indoor or outdoor seating as you edibly encounter a full slab of barbecue ribs ($18.95). Other entrees include beer-battered fish and chips ($12.95) and barbecue spaghetti ($10.95), served with choice of smoked chicken, pulled pork, or brisket. Or munch on a barbecue platter, including smoked sausage ($9.95), smoked chicken ($9.95), or the combo platter ($16.95), with a choice of any two of Sheffield's barbecue options. In addition to ample parking, delivery, and HDTV-viewing options, the River Grove location also offers live entertainment on weekends—ideal for locals who have just realized that their television is a fish tank.
Unlike many barbecue aficionados, pit master Jared Leonard focuses on creating the perfect dry rub rather than devoting all his efforts to sauces. A product of years of research and pleasant taste testing, his secret dry rub includes a blend of 14 seasonings designed to sit with the meat for 24 hours prior to being slowly smoked to perfection. The blend works its magic on all of Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse's meats, which include pulled pork, sliced brisket, and smoked ribs. The housemade sauces—smoky and sweet, citrus chipotle, and smoked jalapeño pepper—complement the dry-rubbed flavor and are served on the side so that patrons can use half for their meat and half to gel their mustaches. Patrons may also supplement their meals with made-from-scratch side dishes including truffle mac 'n' cheese and custard-filled corn bread.