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Chicago may not necessarily have it’s own authentic brand of barbecue, but you don’t have to travel far within the city limits of Chicago to find great barbecue hailing from other parts of the country (hey, Fat Willy’s!). At long last, the folks behind DMK Burger Bar have decided to open a new hot spot with a whole lot of old fashioned Americana, grit, smoke, and more barbecue than you can shake a cattle prod at. Meet County BBQ.
You can’t miss the brightly-colored gingham paint job on County’s facade (even if you’re wearing polarized shades). Step inside, and you’ll find yourself in something of a mashup between a Western hunters’ lodge and a 1970s groove house, with mounted animal heads, stacks on stacks of bottles, and a bold orange and teal flag that makes Betsy Ross’s magnum opus look like something crafted by Helen Keller on downer drugs. Long live guns, funk, and carnivorism, my friends.
The best part of County? The “Bacon Bar” section of the menu. Yes. They have FOUR menu items starring bacon. From bacon deviled eggs and BLT sliders to maple-brushed slow-cooked smoked bacon and this bacon parfait (hello, succulent layers of barbecue sauce, bacon, cheesy grits, and more bacon), County has managed to pander to one of the largest demographics in existence: bacon lovers. All of these bacon items are petite, however, so I’d recommend ordering them as appetizers.
If you gotta’ have a meatless dish, try the fried green tomatoes. They’re dredged in a seasoned cornmeal coating before they’re fried, and are accompanied by a mint garnish and whipped goat cheese. Try to get a bit of each element in every bite.
Ordering the ribs is non-negotiable, because County’s ribs are to other ribs what McDonald’s fries are to other fast-food fries– better in every way, and the result of combining carefully curated ingredients. The meat is juicy and tender and rubbed with just enough seasoned spice to make the tip of your tongue feel heat, it falls clean off the bone, and is flavorful enough to eat without needing to add sauce to the equation. That said, feel free to add one of County’s 3 homemade BBQ sauces because they’re mouthwateringly good.
Want your meat served in carbalicious gift wrapping? Go for the pulled pork sandwich served with their signature Carolina BBQ sauce, house-made pickles, and tangy slaw. Speaking of fries… if we’re sticking with the present metaphor, the side of garlic fries are the frivolous-yet-fabulous raffia. Or confetti. Or ribbon. Or whatever. You can go ahead and tell yourself you’re just going to have a few, but let me level with you for a moment: you WILL dunk fry after fry in your favorite BBQ sauce, and you WILL leave none on your plate.
Your momma might have warned you about the risks involved with raw cookie dough consumption, but at County, momma’s rules are meant to be broken. Like bacon, cookie dough consumption is meant to be celebrated, not stigmatized. Take a couple spoons for the cause.
*Check out County BBQ’s website for menu and additional information.