So many delicious mouthwatering barbecue options, we’re not sure where to stop
Here at chambanamoms, we’ve compiled a “bucket list” for ice cream and pizza (and many, many more — see below) so it’s only logical to hone in on something that everyone seems to love, in one form or another: barbecue. Or barbeque. Or Bar-B-Q. Or BBQ.
As always, for the purposes of these extremely non-scientific lists, we avoid national chains.
Black Dog Smoke & Ale House (320 N. Chestnut St., Champaign; Urbana location currently closed): What more can be said about Black Dog? It is considered among the best BBQ restaurants in Illinois, if not the Midwest. Perhaps the most appreciated menu item are the burnt ends, but you can’t go wrong no matter which way you turn.
Hickory River Smokehouse (1706 N. Cunningham Ave., Urbana; 3514 Fields S. Dr., Champaign): Hickory River has grown into six locations, but the business has been well established along Cunningham Avenue in Urbana (with multiple names) for a while. It is Texas-style barbeque, which is to say the smoky sauce (we prefer the mild sauce) makes it special, especially when spread across the beef brisket. Don’t miss the smoked turkey. And from a reader: “Voted #1 by my Texan husband, who has BBQ in his DNA.” After a pandemic delay, southwest Champaign was excited to welcome another Hickory River in 2022.
Li’l Porgy’s (1917 W. Springfield Ave., Champaign): Serving barbecue to Champaign-Urbana since 1979, Li’l Porgy’s survived a closure of several months in 2021 after a devastating kitchen fire. “The new cooking set up after their kitchen fire turns out the most amazing ribs every time. The Sunday chicken special is the best bbq deal in town.” Another reader expressed perhaps the most succinct preference for Li’l Porgy’s: “Duh.”
Pauly’s BBQ (310 E. Columbia St., Arthur): Pauly’s has, hands down, the best logo in barbecue-dom: “If you’re not messy, you’re not eatin’ it right.” Amen to that. And amen to Pauly’s terrific pulled pork and outstanding slow-cooked, thinly sliced pork tenderloin.
Smoky’s House BBQ (1333 Savoy Plaza Lane Ste 8, Savoy): Don’t miss the baby back ribs. Lots of sides to choose from too!
Sooie Bros Bar B Que Joint (103 W. Kirby Ave, Champaign): A brand new entry to the world of C-U BBQ, opening in mid-May 2023. One reader tells us “Just tried Sooie’s. Great Texas BBQ!” We look forward to visiting soon.
Wood ‘N Hog (500 N. Walnut St. Champaign; 101 W. University Ave., Urbana): “All Smoke No Joke” isn’t just a slogan, it’s a way of life for the folks at Wood ‘N Hog, who parlayed their successful barbecue business into two current locations. (Fun fact: their current Urbana location used to be home to a second Li’l Porgy’s location. Try to keep up.)
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