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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, May 21

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Event Tue Aug 20 2013

The Windy City BBQ Classic Debuts Labor Day Weekend

windy-city-bbq.jpgBrisket was dead to me. A staple in my home growing up, my mother routinely destroyed it by putting it in a casserole dish, covering it with Lipton's dry onion soup mix, pouring a cup of cold water over it, putting it in the oven and roasting it to within an inch of shoe leather. No doubt her purse tasted better and was easier to cut. Upon leaving home, decades passed with nary a thought.

Then I met a few guys here in Chicago that I trusted culinarily. One of them even wrote what I consider to be a BBQ bible of sorts called Low and Slow. So it was with great trepidation that when they reintroduced me to brisket (gently at first) I tried it and loved it.

Then there were the discussions about soaking your wood (do not -- it drops the temperature and creates an ashy steam) and BBQ sauce. "BBQ is about the meat, not the sauce. If you want some have it on the side."

They were right.

Which brings me to the Windy City BBQ Classic being held in the south lot of Soldier Field on Sunday, Sept. 1. The brainchild of partners Jared Leonard and one of my above mentioned buddies, BBQ Life-coach Gary Wiviott, this is real BBQ -- no gas, no electricity, just charcoal and wood, the way God intended serious Q to be, all piggy and delicious.

Their vision for the event is "a cross between the old Royko Rib Fest and Memphis in May, an unabashed celebration of BBQ and Chicago."

I participated in the first Royko Rib Fest and it was legendary. The guy next to me did a spit-roasted, whole smoked bologna that he crosshatch-scored like a ham, slathered in cheese whiz and pressed maraschino cherries into with gay abandon.

While I can't promise that, with 30 pit masters in competition, a whole pig butchery demo, all you can eat swine (and more) from assorted BBQ-centric area restaurants and craft beers in a live blues soaked atmosphere -- the day shall be quite a BBQ bacchanalia.

Tickets are $49-$99 depending on if you want beer or butlers.

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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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