When it comes to summer food, there’s nothing better than barbecue. And while it’s always fun to fire up the grill and invite some friends over for a little backyard fun, sometimes a day just calls for heading out to a local restaurant and having the hard work done for you. Fortunately, these four local establishments know just the right way to deliver delicious meats smothered in sweet and sticky sauces. Don’t forget to pack some wipes — you’ll need them!
1902 Green Bay Road, Evanston
It’s all about the sauce at this barbecue joint (and luckily, you can have it shipped to you even if you don’t live in the area). Whether you order ribs, rib tips, wings, a pulled pork sandwich, or one of the many other items on the menu, you’ll want to slather on this zesty, New Orleans-style sauce. Pair your order with fries, macaroni and cheese, greens, coleslaw, or a corn muffin, plus a Juneteenth Strawberry Soda and sweet potato pie for dessert and you’ll have a classic barbecue feast.
Hecky's Barbecue, Evanston
Johnny’s Kitchen and Tap
1740 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview
Everything at Johnny's is made with "hometown love," from The Cadillac Burger (Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, crispy onions, and barbecue sauce) and Pulled Wood-Roasted Chicken Sandwich (featuring the restaurant's special recipe barbecue sauce) to the baby back ribs. Visit on Fridays or Saturdays for live music in the bar area, and find specials and other upcoming events here.
Johnny's Kitchen and Tap, Glenview
Smylie Brothers Brewing Co.
1615 Oak Ave., Evanston
This craft brewery and smokehouse is creating unique brews in addition to serving up delicious barbecue. Dine on everything from the Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich and Bacon Hot Link Sandwich to the Barbecue Flight (brisket, pulled pork, and baby back ribs, plus white bread and a side), all of which pair nicely with house-brewed beers. Warning: quantities of seasoned and slow smoked meats are limited, so get here as early as you possibly can.
Smylie Brothers Brewing Co., Evanston
Ten Mile House
1700 Central St., Evanston
This Evanston restaurant is all about comfort food, from starters like Smoked Chicken Wings to entrees like the House Smoked Brisket Sandwich, Smoked Baby Back Ribs, or the U Pick 2 BBQ (choose from smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, or barbecue ribs). Plus, it's the perfect spot for pre- or post-game fare as it's mere steps away from Ryan Field, home of the Northwestern University football team.
Ten Mile House, Evanston