I’m really excited about this week’s participant in ‘My Favorite BBQ Joints‘. Chef Charlie McKenna from Lillie’s Q in Chicago, IL. He has won numerous awards on the competition barbeque circuit including the top prize at Memphis In May. Charlie brings this competition style barbeque to Lillie’s Q (named after both his maternal grandmother Lillie, who taught Charlie the art of southern cooking as a young boy at her home in Greenville, SC and for his father, Quito, who is an award-winning barbecue pit master).
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Charlie went on to some of the top restaurants in the United States, doing stints in Miami, New York and Chicago. He honed his culinary craft along the way while keeping an eye on his ultimate goal, opening Lillie’s Q. In July 2010, Charlie fired up his smokers in Bucktown, and has been smoking 24 hours a day since. Returning to his barbeque roots, Charlie is slow smoking pork shoulder, tri-tip, baby back ribs and chicken in custom-built smokers over peach wood and charcoal that go perfectly with his award-winning homemade rubs and sauces.
Here are Charlie’s Favorite BBQ Joints in his words:
10 Bones BBQ – Southaven, MS
They’re our buddies on the competition BBQ circuit. Really love their attention to detail they put into their smoking. Their whole hog and ribs
Photo of 10 Bones BBQ
Smoque BBQ – Chicago, IL
Barry and crew helped put North Side of Chicago BBQ on the map. They make the best brisket I’ve ever had in my life. I also really like their hot link. Barry’s also one of the nicest guys around.
Photo of Smoque BBQ courtesy of Full Custom Gospel BBQ
Honky Tonk BBQ – Chicago, IL
I love the atmosphere here, the live music, and their candy bacon is ridiculously good. Willy’s a good friend from Chicago and the competition BBQ circuit: that guy knows how to party.
Photo of Honky Tonk BBQ courtesy of Justin B. – Yelp
Three Little Pigs BBQ – Taylors, SC
This place reminds me of my childhood. It’s the first place that I really got into eating BBQ as a kid while visiting my grandparents. Their mustard sauce is one of my favorites.
Lillie’s Q – Destin, FL
This is the BBQ shack I helped open with my parents back in 2008. My dad runs the show here: everyone calls him The Mayor. He BBQs on an open pit there — old school style. They just did a great remodel of the space, so it’s not a complete shit hole anymore. I love the corn salad, potato salad, and smoked chicken salad there.
If you want to learn a bit more about Chef McKenna check out these 20 Questions posed to him by the Chicago Food Snob HERE