Ohio may be in the Midwest, but the menu at Windy City BBQ Ribs aims to transport diners to another part of the country. Chef and pitmaster Brandon Shy lives up to his slogan of “Put some south in your mouth!” with a heaping spread of southern-style barbecue, from smoked ribs and rotisserie chicken to Dixie sides such as and potato salad and collared greens. Guests can sign their name on the eatery’s Wall of Fame after enjoying a meal in the small indoor and outdoor seating areas. The meat emporium shuts down each day when the food is gone, so calling or sending up smoke signals in advance is recommended.
Montgomery Inn has seen a lot of famous faces over the years; Johnny Cash, Brittany Spears, Cameron Diaz, countless professional athletes, and every US president since Gerald Ford. The real stars, though, are the restaurant's award-winning ribs. Founders Ted and Matula Gregory started serving them in the late 1950s using Matula's homemade barbecue sauce. The ribs were an instant hit with diners and earned their first official accolades from the Cincinnati Post in 1968.
Years later, Montgomery Inn has expanded both its menu?specialties now include housemade Saratoga chips and barbecued spring chicken?and locations, but the ribs still steal the show. In recent years, they've been lauded by The Today Show, CNBC, and Fox News. The restaurant has even their own grocery line, so customers can enjoy their ribs and sauces at home.
Gallo’s Pit BBQ lives by three words: “low and slow.” Though it doubles as a good tip for limbo, this phrase refers to a Southern-style barbecue method that begins by cooking meat languorously over a pit filled with lump charcoal and wood. Before meat meets flames, grillmasters rub each cut with their signature spice rub to create a flavorful crust that complements its tender insides. Finally, they slather on a tangy and balanced barbecue sauce, which they perfected with more than half a decade of tweaking and tasting.
After settling down in tall booths or long benches in the brick-lined dining room, guests devour platters of brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, and pieces of chicken. They can also stick their forks into sides of made-to-order coleslaw and baked beans studded with bacon, brown sugar, and Kentucky bourbon.
In the 40 years they?ve been manning the shop?s old hickory pits, the pitmasters of Rudy?s Smokehouse have discovered there are four things needed for quality barbecue: high-quality meat, low temperatures, flavorful wood smoking, and a lotta patience. The chefs have perfected this mix to create a menu of take-home dinners and boxed lunches that showcase their pulled pork, smoked turkey, and beef brisket. Most dishes come with a choice of two sides such as scalloped corn, green beans, and potato salad, all of which can be washed down with a slice of southern pie and a glass of sweet tea more refreshing than a morning jog through a field of orange-juice filled sprinklers.
The pit master at World Bar-B-Que works hard slow-cooking Carolina-style pulled pork, Texas brisket, and St. Louis–style pork ribs, imbuing each meat with distinctive barbecue bark and deep, smoky flavors. After the cuts have smoked for 6–15 hours, diners take over with finishing touches, adorning their choice of meats with sauces such as sweet-and-spicy blackberry habanero and classic sides such as potato salad and baked beans. They can also forge everything from smoked and beer-soaked burgers to authentic Cuban sandwiches.
On certain nights, patrons can finish off meaty cuts and showcase their singing chops with open-mic and karaoke sessions. The generous eatery also sets aside one day a week for a "World Invasion"—a chance for local groups, charitable organizations, or extraterrestrial barbecue-reconnaissance parties to take over the restaurant and receive a portion of the evening's sales.
The Dickey’s Barbecue Pit sign may be ubiquitous today as a spot for good ole’ Texas barbecue, but when Travis Dickey first opened his Dallas shop in 1941, the sign had to share space with advertisements to help pay rent. In the 70 years since then, the Dickeys have done well for themselves, with their initial store spawning a slew of franchises throughout the country. Though the barbecue at each outpost is no longer under the hand of one of Dickey’s descendants, each shop still smokes their own meats in-house to create the signature Texan flavor that infuses their briskets, pulled pork, and fall-off-the-bone ribs. Meals can come in any size, from the a la carte sandwiches to platters that incorporate a chosen number of meats with a buttery roll, a pickle, two homestyle sides, and free ice cream. Whether serving up their dishes in the dining room or packing them up for take-away or catering, the staff ensures that each client gets a taste of Texas home cooking without the hassle rubbing every dish on a campfire crock-pot.