Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
Like throwing a meaty rib into a pack of hungry dogs, raise the issue of whether there’s truly a Chicago style of barbecue that can compete with the distinctive smoked creations of Memphis, Texas, and Saint Louis and you may prompt a heated fight among local foodies. But one thing's beyond doubt now: Chicago has a champion barbecue team that hails from . . . Pilsen.
At an event somewhat awkwardly titled the Memphis in May 2008 International Barbecue Competition last weekend, there was superhot-lump-charcoal action featuring some up-and-coming local boys. Billed as the "Largest Pork-Cooking Contest on the Planet,” this low-and-slow showdown attracts some of the most distinguished pit men from across the country.
Headed by Willie Wagner of Honky Tonk Barbecue, the Ques Brothers is a team of Chicago and Memphis chefs that also includes Efrain Cuevas, who in the past year gained notoriety due to his fabulous turducken and his penchant for the occasional underground goat slaughter. The Ques Brothers came in third in the pork shoulder category.
Last year Wagner and his team placed 12th, so if the trend continues they're in the running for the number one spot next year.