Earlier this month when I wrote about Bronzeville's new Puerto Rican spot Maracas
, I made a note to point out that despite the ongoing gentrification in the neighborhood, one old, reliable joint is still going strong. Alice's Bar-B-Q rarely gets mentioned in discussions about the south side's great aquarium smokers like Lem's
, Barbara Ann's
, and Uncle John's
. But they've been smoking tips, links, ribs, chicken, and turkey legs for at least 20 years through some very dark days. In 2011, 20-year veteran pit master Gregory Johnson was killed after he stepped outside for a smoke break and got caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting
I'd forgotten that I first ate at Alice's in 2004 when I stopped in recently, and I don't remember whether the rib tips are any better or worse today than they were then. But they are pretty good, nicely smoky with a good ratio of chewy bark to rendered fat. You'll notice they're rather roughly chopped (no big deal), and served in the standard south-side presentation: limp frozen fries soaking up grease on the bottom of the boat, two slices of white bread on top.
It's pretty much straight out of south-side barbecue central casting. There's the aquarium smoker chuffing along behind bulletproof glass. It's cash only, and take-out only, but there's some nice motivational material to read while you wait. It isn't the most miraculous barbecue in the city, but I can think of a bunch of noobs
that could learn a thing or two from Alice's.Alice's Bar-B-Q, 65 E. 43rd, 773-924-3843