To Sauce or Not to Sauce…

By Carmen Schmidt |

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When most people think of really good barbeque, they don’t first think of Chicago. Our thoughts tend to go to the southern part of the country. This week on Check, Please! reviewer Zach Moore tells us you don’t have to make a road-trip for great barbeque. You can find it right here on the Gold Coast at Chicago q. But, our guests had mixed reviews of Chicago q, which ultimately came down to the sauce.

When I think of barbeque I almost always think of slow-cooked, flame-broiled meats with deliciously spicy and/or sweet barbeque sauce slathered on at the end of roasting. However, Chicago q Executive Chef and award-winning Pit Master Lee Ann Whippin sees it another way. When most of us are still dreaming or hitting the snooze button in the early hours of the morning, Whippen’s crew is treating their brisket to a homemade rub-down and getting the smokers going. Chef Whippin prefers not to cover up the meat’s flavor in advance of serving. She leaves the added extras to her customers’ discretion. The barbeque dishes are accompanied by a selection of homemade sauces in small bowls. When served, you can pour the sauces over or dip the meat to your heart’s desire. Chef Whippen knows her stuff and, in her words, has a passion for making great barbeque. As a competitive barbeque chef she has won many prestigious pit competitions throughout the country and even won a “throw down” with well-known television personality and barbeque chef Bobby Flay. Regardless, Reviewer Niccii Grimm still thought her meat tasted a bit dry without the sauce cooked-in.

So there in lies the question – to sauce or not to sauce? This seems to be the eternal argument over BBQ even at home. It can be heard in backyards everywhere: “Honey, should I put the sauce on now or do you want to do that when we’re serving?” I don’t really think there’s a right way or a wrong way. It’s really up to what you like. But, let’s hear from you! How and when do you use barbeque sauce? Let us know.

Meanwhile, when you have a craving for something unique and spicy, make plans to visit reviewer K.D. King’s suggested eatery, Mabovi African & Caribbean. This is the kind of place where you can enjoy rarities like oxtail, and a homemade bread roll will warm you down to your toes! All of our guests were delighted with their meals. It’s all cooked fresh and to order so items on the menu might be out, but smiling Chef Bea will make up for it with something memorable and delicious.

Happy eating!

Carmen M. Schmidt
Associate Producer, Check, Please!
WTTW