I love learning new things especially when it comes to cooking! A few months back we saw a Living Social deal for a cooking class called “BBQ 101”. I had to check it out. Walter and I read that in this 3-hour class we would learn all we needed to know about BBQ, and get to eat mighty good food along the way! After living in Austin for four years, I knew how to eat good BBQ but not really the ins and outs of making it. The class was offered by pit master Justin at Rub’s Backcountry Smokehouse. Rub’s is also a place we had ordered dinner from a few times through Grub Hub online so were familiar with how good their food was. They definitely have good BBQ, something I didn’t expect to find in Chicago. It to very little thought — I had to take this class! So we bought the tickets and scheduled a date to take it. I was less than thrilled when I saw I’d have to wait 4 months to take it but, after finally going, it was so worth the wait!
Arriving at Rub’s our adventure began when we met our co-hostess Lauren. She made us feel right at home with her sassy wit and infectious smile. She offered to put our beers in the fridge (the class is BYOB!) and let us know if there was anything we needed during the class to let her know. We chose our seats at one of the picnic tables set up in the pit room. At the table we joined two older guys from the subburbs. We introduced ourselves and shared beers and light conversation before class started, munching on some Texas caviar, tortilla chips, and homemade pickles that were waiting at the table when we arrived.
Jared is not just the pit master but the owner of Rub’s and teaches the class. The class was very casual and informative you don’t even realize that the three hours had passed. Also, the serving of the food is spaced out nicely so you don’t over fill yourself. There was so much, we still had to take some food home.
Jared started off telling how his passion for BBQ started and how he learned in a Colorado food truck, first by enjoying the food, then sort of apprenticing. When he returned to Chicago he started smoking meat for friends and family and they encouraged him to open a restaurant. After getting over some fears, he did (and thank goodness he did so we can eat some really good BBQ here!).
You can tell when a person is passionate about what they do based on the knowledge they have and the joy they exude while sharing it with others. Jared has this passion. He went over how his smoker, made in Texas, is the only one of it kind in Chicago, how he gets a Texas Post Oak wood to smoke with to get just the right smoke flavor. (I have to say, we do go there because it has the flavor of REAL Texas BBQ). He shared his technique of trimming the fat from the brisket, tucking sweet onion into the cavity of the pork butt, and the all mighty custard filled corn bread that is a must order if you go there! It was like an informative dinner party where everyone was having a great time.
If you get a chance to take the class, I highly recommend the experience. You will leave there full, with extra food, smelling like smoke, and ready to go buy a smoker of your own to try out all the new things you learned! If you don’t want to take the class and skip right to eating, take it from us, EAT HERE! It is the best BBQ in Chicago (and some mighty fine BBQ sauces…seriously)! Any Texan will agree!
Rub’s Backcountry Smokehouse
Address: 6954 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60645