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Monday, October 18

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Event Tue Feb 07 2012

Honky Tonk & Mrs. Murphy & Sons Win First Annual BBQ Bowl

BBQ Bowl ballots

The bones have been picked, the ballots counted, and the first annual Gapers Block BBQ Bowl was a success! Honky Tonk BBQ came out on top with the judges to win the Critic's Choice award at Club Lucky on Saturday, Feb. 4, while Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro took home the People's Pick.

Interestingly, Rub BBQ Company in West Ridge came in second place with both the judges and the public, losing to Honky Tonk by only half a point for Critics' Choice. The other contestants, Honey 1 BBQ, Pork Shoppe, The Piggery and host Club Lucky all saw strong support as well, making it a close contest even with the wide variety of styles on display.

The winners were exemplary of the divergent barbecue styles in Chicago. Honky Tonk offered traditional rubbed and wood-smoked ribs, which were taken off the grill just two hours before the competition began. The ribs were tender and juicy and showed the tell-tale "pink ring" that marks a proper smoke.

On the other hand, Mrs. Murphy & Sons' ribs were the fall-off-the-bone baked style that some deride as "meat jello." They did spend some time on a grill, but most of the cooking was done in an oven. Plenty of people really like that style (obviously, since they won the popular vote) but what really stood out about Mrs. Murphy & Sons' ribs was the sauce. It was a deep orange color, with obvious citrus flavors and something else lingering underneath. Fellow judge Chuck Sudo of Chicagoist guessed there was tequila, but it turned out to be Jameson Irish whiskey. Based on people's ballot comments, the sauce is what pulled out the win for the Irish Bistro thanks to its "sweet, tangy, finish of heat."

About 125 people made it to the BBQ Bowl, and they quickly got their fill; several of the competitors ran out of ribs just as the awards were being announced, and the others ran out soon thereafter. After the awards were presented, soul band The Congregation performed. If you haven't caught them yet, be sure to make it to one of their upcoming concerts.

Thanks again to all the competitors for particilating in our first of what will be an annual event, and to the judges, Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, CookItFor.Us CEO Moshe Tamssot, Chicagoist Editor Chuck Sudo and Weber Grill Catering Director Erin Shovlin. Thanks also to Koval Distillery for holding a tasting of their fine organic whiskies. They made for an excellent pairing with some of the city's best barbecue.

Stay tuned for news of next year's BBQ Bowl, and other Gapers Block events throughout the year!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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