Welcome to the inaugural edition of MBQ&A – the only advice column that brings ManBQue expertise to ANY topic, no matter how complex or asinine. Every week, we’ll be answering a couple of questions with a rotating cast of ManBQue experts. Today, competitive BBQ gladiator Luke “Tomax” Gelman and ManBQue food editor JB “I’m typing this, so I can’t give myself a cool nickname or I’ll look like a dick” Mays take questions on meat, meat, and chemistry (related to meat). We’ll roll out new questions every week – if you didn’t see yours today, check next Friday. Reach us here or here to submit your meat, music, and drankin’ questions. Or life stuff. We have the wisdom of Solomon. Not the biblical king – the pitmaster who makes those kick-ass pork ribs down in South Carolina.
To your questions!
Dear MBQ&A: Where is the best place to procure large quantities of quality meat in the city?
– An Phan
JB: The best thing about buying meat in Chicago is the insane array of sub-specialty meat shops you have. Even the supermarkets – Mariano’s especially – stock quality cuts and will often meet your weird special requests. Personally, I think Paulina Meat Market still sets the standard. They’ve been doing the quality meat and house-made sausage since long before it was a trendy thing.
There’s also Czimer’s Game & Seafood in Homer Glen. They’ve got a selection exotic enough to piss off half of everyone reading this. You need yak, kangaroo, or black bear? Game on. They also have prices for animals listed as “Not Available,” including African Lion, Ostrich, and Camel. I will not even hazard a guess as to what that means. If you need human meat, you’re out of luck. Otherwise, happy shopping.
Tomax: If you are looking to fill a shopping cart to the rim just with meat Peoria Meat Packing is your place. Great prices but try to avoid the weekends. It gets crazy busy.
Dear MBQ&A: Aside from the monthly ManBQue meetings, do you guys have a list of the top 10 BBQ joints in the Chicagoland area?
In no particular order.
– Imran Ali
Tomax: Chicago Q (Near North), Real Urban BBQ (Highland Park and Vernon Hills), Smoque (Old Iriving Park – get the brisket), Fat Willys (Western Ave., just north of the interstate) Honky Tonk BBQ (Pilsen) Lillie’s Q (Bucktown), and Barn & Co. (Lincoln Park) all from personal experience. I hear good things about Uncle John’s BBQ (South side) and Bub’s (Downtown). Yeah, I know that’s 9 but I have a 100 way tie for 10th place so… yeah.
JB: Can I point out how hilarious it is that Real Urban BBQ is in Vernon Hills and Highland Park? Nothing says “REAL URBAN!” like a Frank Lloyd Wright house and the Ravinia Festival. They’re grinding by up in Highland Park on a $113,350 median household income. Poor bastards. They’ll just end up back on the streets when the consulting money runs dry.
Anyhow, snark aside, Tomax covered this one pretty well, so I’ll offer two way out-there addendums. Smokin’ Woody’s has this bizarre sandwich called the Hot Beef Sirloin that combines melted cheddar, sliced smoked steak, and buffalo sauce. I ordered it for the first time just to see what the hell it was going to taste like. I’m now an evangelist for it. It’s bizarre and inviting in the way of a really weird indie movie you can’t stop thinking about. Serious Eats found the sandwich not long after I did, and came to about the same conclusion. It’s wonderful. Order one and walk it over to the Half Acre Tap Room. Bring a bunch of napkins and get dirty with the Hot Beef while reveling in the jealous stares of fellow patrons and the death-glares of displaced Wicker Park vegans. GLORIOUS.
Shorter, but no less important: if you ever find yourself downstate, you go to 17th Street Bar and Grill (the original, in Muphysboro) or you go to Hell. It’s well worth the 335 mile hike down I-57.
Dear MBQ&A: What are important functions of both pantothenic acid and biotin?
– Carlos Salgado
Tomax: Pantothenic acid sounds like that poison gas from the movie The Rock and biotin sounds more like something rich women have injected into their face. Hope that helps.
JB: We are not your culinary school study guide, sir. That being said, the Rock is an awesome movie. Truly Michael Bay’s very own Citizen Kane.
Biotin is a B vitamin (B7) that provides support to hair, nail, and skin health. It plays a role in your body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, carbohydrates, and protein. Your body doesn’t store it, so eat up. Nuts, pork, tuna, avocados, and cooked eggs. Blend ’em all together and make a horror shake of nutrition!
Pantothenic acid is another B vitamin – B5 – that, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, is essential for all forms of life. It’s found in some quantity in most every food. Deficiency comes only from severe starvation, so given that you’re reading this on a computer, likely in America, you’re probably fine. But, just in case, go for avocados (they’ve got everything!), chicken, and yogurt.
That’s all for this week, ManBQue brethren. Come back next week for more fun and presumably less science.