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The Meat Life

ManBQue is a Chicago-based grilling and lifestyle organization for outdoor cooks, music lovers, craft beer obsessives, and all manner of modern urban Viking. Once a month, in cities across the country,  our chapters meet in back yards, back alleys, rooftops, beaches, and anywhere else with room for a grill, a cooler, and speakers at maximum volume.

It’s delicious, it’s messy, it’s loud. It’s ManBQue! 

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We wrote two books. Two! That’s two more than that snobby guidance counselor said we could write. Show him what’s up and purchase the greatest meat-cooking literature around. We enjoy cooking delicious meats, and we think you will too.

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We started with shirts. Soon you will be able to purchase more clothing, hats, aprons, and whatever other crap we slap our fine name on. We don’t handle criticism well, so you know it’s good. MANBQUE!

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About Us

About Us

ManBQue was born in Chicago – birthplace  of pretty much every delicious idea fueled by beer and self-confidence.  That first night, we were seven guys on a rooftop, realizing we hadn’t been making the time to get together, grill meats, drink beer, and catch up with each other. The idea to do it every month, like all beer-fueled 2 a.m. ideas, seemed fantastic at the time. But for once, the meat-stuffed boozers in question stuck to it. And then we did it the next month. And the month after  that.  Before we knew it, friends were bringing new friends who were bringing their own new friends. The Tribune came calling. Chicago’s Best TV came around not long after. The Today Show shot a segment, and we got the singularly odd experience of hearing Matt Lauer and Al Roker say “ManBQue” on air. Their envious faux-horror at our Midwestern eating habits led to a book, which led to another book, which brings us to you today. If you ever need a hilarious fact at a party, mention that Jacques Pepin, Rick Bayless, and ManBQue all share the same agent. It’s true, and it’s just as bizarre to us as it is to you.


The whole time we were bringing in new meat fanatics, we were still MEATing every month (that’s not us being cute – they’re called MEATings) and throwing beer to ice and meat to fire. And we still do it on the last Thursday of every single month. If it’s 90 degrees at night, we grill. If it’s -20 and the weatherman’s calling for an icy hellscape, we’re still grilling. We started ManBQue to cook good food and enjoy great beer, and we’ve  done it every month since we started this thing in 2006. We’ve cooked at Baconfest twice, we’ve catered for Goose Island beer releases, and we’ve even bested a Michelin-starred restaurant in a straight bare-knuckle hot dog cookoff.

(Once. When were were having the  greatest cooking day of our lives. Oh god, we hope he’s not reading this.)


So that brings you to here, scrolling bizarrely far down a rote bio page on a website. Here’s were we mess around, play with new recipes and techniques, and try  to pass on our love of good food and cold beer. Cook something, drink something, and come on out to tell us about it.

Welcome to the cult. Welcome to ManBQue!


Add yours
  1. 80
    Cara Roxanne

    If the smelliness of the five boys (under the age of 22) that stayed at my home this weekend was any indication of what I might have experienced on a mass scale, I feel safer having stayed home.

    Also, when questioned about the most EPIC band performing that weekend? “Ah, man, AFI. TOTALLY.”


  2. 87

    This is pretty hysterical, I really enjoyed it, thank you. I love that Bikram is mentioned, he really does look like a lesbian woman. You are spot on the 13 year old shithead mentality that he has never evolved from. It is so sad, that someone with his power acts like such a douche.

  3. 89

    Ohhhh come onnnnnnnnnn How can you possibly hate on Radiohead?

    The best thing about the new style Juke Boxes, its a rich mans game, you pump and dump a touch tunes full of enough play nows and you can right the ship while watching the underlings deal with they’re songs not being played.

    Other songs that should have made this list:
    Mumford and Sons
    anything New Metal or Screamo or “Suburban Punk”

    Great Alternatives:
    To Journey: Sweet Madame Blue by Styx, or anything by Boston
    To Neil: Rod Stewart (other than do you think im sexy) and James Taylor
    Radiohead: Pixies
    Zack Brown Band: IDK i think that song is the alternative for most country music played… basically if country is being played.. hope that song comes on

  4. 91

    When I’m drinking metal does it for me… or silence. I try to go to places where the d-bags aren’t putting crap on the speakers and making us all suffer. They should be doused in Malort and set on fire.

    How’ve you been, Jesse?

  5. 92

    One time while i was drinking at quenchers someone played the entire Ritual de lo Habitual album. That album is a compilation of 8-minute bummers. I wanted to punch whoever that was in the face.

  6. 93
    Chili Powder

    This is why I hate the new digital jukeboxes. Sure you get the ability to search out the song you want, but it allows so much awfulness into the world as well. I love any bar that continues to hang on to the CD jukebox and takes the effort to keep good things in it and bad things out.

  7. 98

    Hey, I’m a season behind! I had a SKA Autumnal Mole Stout today (SKA BREWING – DURANGO, CO) at Howells & Hood in the Trib Tower (someone else was paying!) It was a sweet stout, I guess…this is their description:

    “The Autumnal Mole Stout is an ale brewed with cocoa nibs, spices and three varieties of chile peppers: Mulato, Ancho and Hatch green chiles, also known as Anaheim Peppers. ”

    To me, it tasted a bit too strongly of cumin and maybe the ancho chiles. I enjoyed it…but not nearly as much as the Unholy Mole! You guys should be proud of that stuff, motherfuckers!

  8. 99

    Thanks, buddy, for eating all these burgers for me…it’s just hard to get away sometimes, but I feel I was almost there reading this review. And I will DEF be going to Tumans with Brett one of these days soon! Oprah, ya got a date!

  9. 101

    OMG, Hawkwind! Saw them at The Fucking Auditorium Theatre in 1974…first balcony…just totally intense! They had just careened through some long number and then brought it down to a whisper, when some poor young shirtless dude stood up a couple of sections over and yelled “MY GOD, HELP ME!”

    His friends carried him out, flailing, a couple of minutes later…

  10. 104
    Mike Janowski

    Thanks for this! LOVE me some raw food, especially proteins. Brett did himself proud with this one (it’s NOT a second place dish anywhere else unless Tomax is there…). And did I mention how beautiful the photo is? Thanks, Aubrey!

  11. 105

    Cheers and Kudos to Clint at Lake Effect!! We went through that barrel of Unholy Mole real quick and now people are calling to make sure we still have some of the next stout he created…Espresso gone Stout…We just finished our barrel of Scurry which was on Nitro and we still have just a few BCS Proprietor and barleywine in addition to the coffee, rye and 2013 edition. Come stop by and join me for some real good beers!! Cheers!!

  12. 107
    Travis Hoewischer

    Hey guys! Doing a few things meat-related in our February issue, and it could be a chance to put the focus on you guys for a short piece. But, the 24th is past our deadline. Any other events happening in February? I see something at the North Market mid-month…any help? You can contact me at the info below…thanks!

    Travis Hoewischer
    Editor-in-Chief (614) Magazine

  13. 108
    Katy w

    I recommend chasing pepto and ibuprofen with parrot bay instant piña coladas, a frozen 5% malt beverage in Capri sun packaging

  14. 109
    Mike Janowski

    Oh, FUCK yeah! I’m old enough to remember when this album came out, and may even have a (uh, borrowed) copy in my LP collection. “Summertime Blues” was an awesome chart hit in a day when AM pop radio could still somehow actually play good songs.

    And btw, the flip side of the 45 release was a song called “Out of Focus”…gee, I wonder what that was about!

  15. 110
    Mike Janowski

    I think the first Sabbath album is way overrated, sonically. Maybe the songs are good but it sounds like it was recorded on scotch magic tape through a 100 watt wastebasket, making the songs (no matter how good War Pigs is, which could be debated in this forum…) far less powerful than they ought to be for a band purporting to be the harbingers of the Antichrist.

    How about reviewing The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep?…another band that truly paved the way for metal.

  16. 113

    And may I remind one and all, Prince played that set on an electric guitar in the driving fucking rain. He’s lucky he didn’t turn into Purple Smoke! Simply THE BEST SBHTS evah!

    And, who’s Bruno Mars?

    • 114
      The Other Woman

      Agreed! While most halftime shows are whitewashed marketing BS, Prince took things to a whole other level. Amazing how many people forget what a great musician he is! I think he won the Super Bowl that year.

  17. 115
    Meg Delcher


    I saw your Manbque Stadium online and I’d love to show it on an upcoming episode of ABC’s The Chew, which would be distributed across our various media platforms.

    Could we get your permission to show your photo on The Chew?

    Thanks in advance for your help!


  18. 117

    Awesome primer for me…in 1992 I had two kids and hadda sneak into the basement to “listen to music” (ahem…cough,cough). Guess I’ll have to git me some o’ this Chronic.

  19. 120

    Home made sausages are fantastic! Probably since you know what they contain och you have selected the spices yourself 🙂

  20. 122

    Hey, add a shot of gin to that wheatbeer-grapefruit concoction, and now you’ve got a real cocktail. Add a slice of lime to fancy it up a bit. I’ma gonna be experimenting quite a bit this summer with beer/booze combinations…it’s easy to make a cocktail with classic ingredients (booze, sour, sweet, bitters), but will be much more invigorating to use brews in addition to the other ingredients.

  21. 123
    Salar Madadi

    Gotta disagree with you about smoking steaks. As a one-step smoke your steak low and slow until done, yes, you are right. But doing a reverse sear on a thick steak by smoking it at 225f until it hits 115f internal, then throwing it on a super hot grill to sear until done is a thing of beauty. You get some smoke flavour and you get a steak that’s done more evenly than just straight grilling.

    Only works with steaks that are 1.5″ and up, but I know you’re not cooking those little steaks anyway.

  22. 124
    JB Mays

    A quality steak doesn’t have much collagen and connective tissue to break down at low temperature, so the cumulative effect isn’t nearly as dramatic. Add to that the need to get a butcher to custom-cut 1.5″+ steaks, and it’s pretty clear that smoking is not the best application for a steak. It seems like the effect you’re describing could be achieved with a cold-smoking gun post-sear. Which isn’t to say we won’t give your way a shot. For science, you see.

  23. 132

    the coolest event I have ever been to…..some many people from all over the world ….hanging out …sharing beer and stories and new friends. #EPIC

  24. 134

    Thank you for reviewing (I would never accuse you of actually listening to) these songs so we don’t have to.

    • 135
      Kevin D.

      Just doing my job, sir. Interesting side effect of listening to that much bad music: every time I push the lever down on my toaster now, I hear the screaming of a thousand tortured ghosts.

  25. 137
    Gary Hauser

    Great job guys! It seems that Daisy Cutter got lost among the giants. Would not dispute Zombie Dust as #1 it’s perfection in a 12oz bottle. As for the RIS Old Rasputin is best on the nitro pull.

  26. 143
    Peter Coffin

    How to fat-wash (side benefit, you get to eat the bacon):

    Vodka goes in a lidded container. Cook some bacon. Eat it. Filter the still-warm pan drippings through a coffee filter or paper towel so they’re nice and clean. pour the liquid filtered drippings into the vodka. Doesn’t take a lot; 5% or so of the volume of vodka is plenty. Lid up, and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds so you get an emulsion. Leave it alone for a day, then pop into the fridge until well-chilled. Run chilled vodka through a fresh coffee filter or paper towel in a funnel back into its original bottle or other suitable container for storage.

    Works nicely for whiskey too. Ham fat is awesome in a sweetish rum.

  27. 146

    Awesome! I especially appreciate tip #4…this whole “searing in” nonsense was disproven by Harold McGee back in the fucking 80s, yet I still hear “chefs” touting it as God’s Truth. Maybe on Faux Newz…and YES, FOR GOD’S SAKE, let it rest a bit.

    Now for me, I’ma gonna try and convince the old lady that the bison ribeye in the freezer needs “liberation”…happy 4th, all!

  28. 147

    Nice article, though I have to say that I think Chad Kroeger’s eyes are framed by his dark-n-stormy eyebrows…but I nitpick with the editorial choices. Nice Michaelangelo rip, howevs.

    Oh, and did Madison Rising really spell it “…Regan”? Maybe they thought former Treasury Secretary Donald Regan actually ran the show back then (lord knows Ronnie hadn’t a clue), in which case I’d suggest that MR has their collective thumbs on a new and totally jaw-dropping conspiracy theory which will blow anything from The Motely Fool to pieces…

    Finally…”except Memphis”? Puh-lease, that’s pretty much unforgivable blasphemy for men who claim to respect BBQ and music…now excuse me while I kiss this guy.

  29. 151
    John Carruthers

    Peoria Packing or any of the West Loop butcher places should be able to hook you up. Aside from that, I’ve always had luck with Asian groceries.

  30. 152

    We checked it out the other night and while we’re not huge beer drinkers, the food was excellent.

    Did they not have the Purple Line beer available for you to taste? The table next to us seemed to really enjoy that one…

  31. 153

    I’m surprised SLC Punk isn’t listed. Minor Threat, Adolescents, Dead Kennedy’s… even a little Glen Campbell. Excellent soundtrack.

  32. 155
    John Carruthers

    I feel his pain. Until Reebok lost the contract to make Bears merch, they literally didn’t make any easy-fitted hats big enough for my head.

  33. 156
    Beer Grills

    Cans really are the best container for beer. Not only does it completely block out harmful light, as mentioned above, cans also completely seal out any oxygen or bacteria. Bottle caps and “cork & cages” are good, but caps can be dented and corks can shrink in which cases oxygen will find it’s way in and ass-rape all the yummy out of your baba. Oxidized!

    Smartass: “Well if you lay the bottle on its side, it’ll keep the cork from getting dry.”

    Response: Although this is true, laying it done with your moist cork is still not getting the job done. You are still exposing more of that beer to air that’s already in the bottle. Look at a full bottle standing upright. That little gap of space at the top of the neck between the surface of the beer and the bottle cap or cork has air. Lay that bottle on it’s side that same space just got a whole lot wider exposing more beer to that air. Not even your moist cork will fill that gap.

    Lesson Learned: Be a man. Take it in the can.

    moist cork

  34. 158
    john evans

    Great article – thanks for the pic of The Ohio Taproom’s mobile taproom — we had a blast serving up Hairless Hare, Zaftig, and Rhinegeist. The Mobile Taproom is available for events and parties state-wide. Thanks again guys — cheers!

  35. 162

    Love it! Zauber makes great beer, is a fun place to visit, and Geoff is the best. If you ever get to that part of town, Zauber needs to be on your to-do list! After that, it will probably be on your to-do list all the time! I love the Myopic Red.

  36. 163

    And gawd, wasn’t the remix of “Pretty in Pink” just lame? So glad I got out of HS before Ducky and his ilk showed up.

  37. 167
    Adam Holtzapfel

    Pic of Boysetsfire is at Euclid Tavern, Cleveland, OH. Pic of Buried Alive is at Fire Exit, Columbus, OH. Pic of Earth Crisis is at Alrosa Villa, Columbus, OH.

  38. 169
    Chili Powder

    I have that grill and its great. I’ve had to replace a few parts over the years and it’s been easy to do through the Char-Griller website. The custom cover is nice but after two years it deteriorated and fell apart.

  39. 172
    Sophia Aley

    Hello! We were so happy to see this–but if you’d kindly make the following corrections to this awesome post:

    1) We are Bent River Brewing Co. (not Bent River Brewery)
    2) You have us tagged as “Benter River Brewery” at the end of this blog..

    Out of curiosity, how did you come across our Jingle Java Holiday Stout?? Where did you find it? We do distribute in the Northwestern Chicago burbs (via Superior Beverage Co. Distributor; Aurora).

    Thanks for the love–and for reaching out to our Facebook page (


    Sophia Aley
    Marketing Director
    Bent River Brewing Co.

  40. 174
    Aliya Sharif

    Hey Cuz,

    This was a great read, quite funny! I was so anxious to see a pic of the finished product though 🙂

    Happy Holidays


  41. 175

    Sacriphyx the dark book is an unholy piece of black thrash that was way more intense then any prominent metal band of then and now there is nothing more kvlt than the first press of that album limited to 0.66 copies haha. Rumor has it that tom warrior of hellhammer and Celtic frost fame heard the rough mixes of the dark book back in 1987 he supposedly pissed and shitted himself from the sheer intensity of the music and the demonic creatures that appeared from being conjured up by the music. This was what ultimately caused TG warrior to wimp out and thus recorded the horrid “cold lake” album in 1988 which is one of the worst albums ever. Tom wanted nothing to do with any type of morbid tales and he sure as fuck isn’t going to any mega therions following this traumatic incident in 1987. Of course this was kept underwraps in the underground scene for the most part but the news did make it to Sweden namely quorthon of bathory fame who played satanic black metal on his first 3 albums but played what happened to tom cautiously and knew it was best for bathory to go the Viking metal route to avoid the same traumatic episode which was bestowed upon tom warrior. Due to the fatal potential of the dark book album it was erased and appeared as a fictitious band in the movie ” the gate”. None have dared to go to the lengths that sacrifyx did, bands like Sodom, slayer, possessed, kreator and venom dabbled into demonic incantation early but got the fuck off of it when they realized its fatal potential. Of course the afformentioned bands deny ever being real satanists, think why? Sacrifyx took it to a level that has never been topped and thus the band payed the ultimate price as they all died mysteriously perhaps they’re in sumeria side by side with ancient ones no one will ever know for sure. The only band that may have been able to match sacrifyx is the cult death metal band from Texas called “necrovore” who released a legendary demo entitled ” divuus De mortuus” which got almost unianomously praised in the underground. Morbid angel was terrified of them, necrovore were schooled in demonic incantations just as sacrifyx were. They went into the studio in 1988 to record a proper album but the producer was terrified of their potentially fatal intensity of necrovore’s music and was constantly defecating himself out of sheer fear of their music. Many supernatural occurrences started to happen and the recording was aborted and much of their material was never recorded who knows what may have happen perhaps the seven gates of hell would have opened. The are still alive so they never topped sacrifyx but definetly had the potential to match them. Nothing is more kvlt than that muhahahahaha

  42. 176

    Thanks for positive remarks to Deschutes Brewery Jubelale.
    Got your book for Xmas can’t put it down.
    Cheers Guys,

    Your Deschutes Chicago rep


  43. 178

    Hey Kam,

    Just saw your comment. I dig the SLC Punk soundtrack, but it doesn’t make my top list. The band’s on it are great but kind of standard punk classics.

  44. 181

    Enjoyed the article Mike.

    I’ve been into barrel aging at home as well(both bourbon and hot sauce). I didn’t know that this labeled me as a hipster. I think I have to go back and question all my life decisions now.

  45. 182

    Wow. If I take nothing more from my relationsihp with ManBQue, learning about Nowhere Man and His Whiskey Girl will be enough. Confirms my basic belief that loss is the essence of life.

  46. 183
    Murphy Karges


    Really enjoyed reading this. brought a smile to my face… ‘to sell real estate’ funny. But you didn’t even mention Stan. Perhaps you meant Stan, as he lives in Orange County, not Craig…

    Anyway, keep on writing. I’ll keep on reading.

    Murphy Karges

  47. 185

    Thanks for the great series. The steps are logically broken down and easy/fun to read, and appreciate the comparison with all-grain along the way too.

  48. 187

    Nice job. Love this post.

    I was there, too, competing in my second-ever KCBS with my friends on the BBQ Woodbox team. (The week before, they helped my team, “Smoke Freaks,” survive our first KCBS up in Madison.)

    I got to meet a lot of these same folks over those two weekends, and I was really struck by what a great crowd the BBQ competitors are. After all, I was there to beat them all (eventually), and yet most folks were really great about helping this noob out with advice and tips.

    In the end I picked up 8th in Brisket in Madison and 3rd in Pork at Westmont, so needless to say, I drove home from both exhausted but on Clound Nine. (We don’t have a rig, so we had to make two round-trips to our house in Chicago to get all our equipment to Westmont, and do a LOT of heavy lifting.)

    I can’t wait for my next comp, although I’m not sure when it will be. Most of my summer is going to helping organize the Windy City BBQ Classic, a big KCBS comp at Soldier Field September 11-12.

    Hope I see you there, Luke!

    Smoke on, everyone!!

    Brian Neale
    Head cook, Smoke Freaks
    Pork ringer, BBQ Woodbox
    Co-organizer, Windy City BBQ Classic

  49. 189
    sauce simmer|gifts for dads|novelty barbeque accessories|grilling recipes|tools for barbecues|gas grill parts|barbecue ribs|barbecue sauce|chicken recommendations|smoker storage|garde toolstorage|bbq tools|pork rib|grill parts|treatment yeast infection|gr

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you spending some time and energy
    to put this short article together. I once again find
    myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading
    and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  50. 192
    Steve A.

    Nice post! I am restarting a honey bacon project I quit a few years back. Honey cured bacon just burned too easily when cooked on a stove top.

    Like you I’m using honey powder, but adding muscovado sugar too for a deeper flavor. I have shifted to cold smoking after curing. I do about 6 hours of cold smoke using hickor or cherry pellets.

    But I finish my bacon in an oven to an internal temperature of 150F for safety.

  51. 193

    Thanks John, got any recommendations on where to get a good deal on old door knobs? I have an old onion bag I plan on using for this technique.

  52. 194

    I saw you on ch.9 and am wondering if I can get your recipe for the bacon jam it sounds good and would like to put it on my Venison burgers tomorrow.

    Thank you.

  53. 196

    I was fortunate enough to start going to Integrity and Ringworm shows as an 16 year old kid in the early-mid 90s, up until that point I was a straight metal head. It progressed from there. I was extremely fortunate to play in Run Devil Run for a couple years, getting to travel around playing shows and meet all kinds of people. I’m almost 40 now and had to finally “grow up” and quit playing in a band because there just isnt time and the scene has really changed. But hardcore has been an element of every band I have ever played in. Even my high school metal band covered Integrity.

    I missed a Shai Hulud show a month ago in Akron, and I honestly wondered if it would be anything close to what I remember a hardcore show being. I’m sure it was mostly fat old guys like me standing in the back lol. Nothing like the shows of old you guys mentioned with the buzz of social consciousness and activism, everyone knew everyone and gave a shit. Those were great times full of energy and hope; now I’m lucky to have an entire day off. I guess part of me became the person I always hated, but part of that rebellious hardcore kid remains in my attitude towards life and work- I don’t think it will ever die. Someday the nurses at the old folks home will make fun of my tattoos and half-listen to my stories but hopefully my kid will hang up a tattered Floorpunch poster in my room and put a couple Victory Records stickers on my wheelchair.

  54. 202

    I really enjoyed your take on, what I feel is a timeless American classic burger joint. Yeah, it gets a bad rap because of the late night patronage but that’s part of the added charm, right? I agree with your top two as well. I’ve always been a cheese slider guy (5 cheese always and 2 chicken ring sandwiches) but the Jalapeno Cheese adds a certain, “I don’t know what”, that can’t be described and I may be switching things up on my next visit. The Chicken and Waffle slider was a bit disappointing and I have not had the cheese curds but I’ve heard good things. After your next dental appointment (or if the wife is out of town, which is typically when I get my Castle fix) I suggest trying the fish nibblers. They may supplant the cheese curds as a top three.

    It’s always nice to find another Great American who appreciates White Castle culture. Cheers to you.

  55. 205
    Crystal Alleyne

    I spent this Christmas in rhe kitchen with my mom drinking wine and “learning” how to make pepperpot. I really wish that I took more time to learn our traditions and recipes.