I first read about Bobby Q’s on Chowhound’s Chicago board in November, 2003. A newcomer to the Chicago area barbecue scene launched in July, 2003, it was immediately embraced by barbecue aficionados who tend to dismiss most interlopers as pretenders and frauds. Within months, the restaurant named for the owners’ toddler’s pronunciation of “barbecue” was earning accolades and honors in a specialized area which tends to be cynical and unwelcoming.
The house sauces, a spicy Cajun sauce and a sweet Texas sauce have both been accorded with national recognition–20th best barbecue sauce in the entire country and a third place honor for the Cajun sauce in Kansas City’s American Royal competition. In 2004, AOL’s City Guide Chicago made Bobby Q’s their pick for barbecue in the Windy City.
Even before you enter Bobby Q’s, you’re greeted in the parking lot by the wafting, seductive and smoky aroma of meats smoked slowly over hickory (cherry for poultry). Those aromas beckon with the alluring charm of a beautiful siren. Answer the aromatic siren’s call and you’re treated to some of the best barbecue in the Chicago area.
The baby back ribs aren’t of the “falling off the bone” genre (in fact, they may lean toward being slightly tough), but they’re substantial and the sauce is oh so good. Even better is the Memphis style pulled pork sandwich which is smoked for up to 19 hours and slathered in that delicious sauce. Tennessee transplants wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
A smoked meat appetizer featuring “sliders” of brisket, pulled pork and slow-smoked turkey breast is a meal sized introduction to three different meats, all of which are main event caliber on their own. Bobby Q’s sides are also worthy of adulation. The corn on the cob is sweet and juicy and only my brother-in-law Chuck makes better pork and beans.
The one item on the menu we had to send back was a bowl of chili which wasn’t even in the same class as the chili served at Wendy’s. In fact, we considered it inedible and marveled when our waitress told us what a huge hit the chili has been. It goes to show, there just isn’t good chili in Illinois.
The pilgrim-like migrations of barbecue worshippers from the city of big shoulders to the northwest suburb of Arlington Heights can certainly be attributed to Bobby Q’s, an outstanding entrant into a talented yet crowded epicurean arena.
1279 North Rand Road
Arlington Heights, Illinois
LATEST VISIT: 17 June 2004
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Memphis Style Pulled Pork Sandwich, Corn on the Cob, Bobby Q Pork and Beans