Smoque BBQ, a neighborhood hangout on Pulaski Road near Irving Park, is gaining attention from foodies and curious diners alike for its winning combination of delectable barbecue and friendly, hard-to-resist vibe. For a place where diners order at the counter, happily wait for their number to be called and carry their feast to their tables on plastic trays, Smoque has gotten some primo press -- Gourmet magazine, the New York Times and the Food Network included.
The reason for its off-the-charts success? Smoque is owned by five guys who are passionate about meat (seriously, they have a barbecue manifesto). The menu is straightforward -- ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, sausage and traditional sides like coleslaw, cornbread and mac-and-cheese, and that's about it -- but everything is so good that you'll still have a tough time deciding.
And, yes, Smoque is also BYOB (we assume it's because the owners can't be torn away from their grills long enough to put together a wine list). Pop into the full-of-character (and aptly named) Hangovers Sports Bar and Liquor Store a few blocks south on Pulaski, and pick up a six-pack of Budweiser. If you're more of a wino, Smoque has no corkage fee, but note: "glassware" consists of paper cups.