Black Dog Smoke & Ale House
201 North Broadway Avenue
You know we love us some BBQ – and we’ve tried to explore all of the options in Chicago – sometimes even venturing into the heart of BBQ country in the south. However, sometimes you can find BBQ in unexpected places – like central Illinois. In an unsuspecting building, this little restaurant is turning out some excellent Que. Black Dog BBQ is almost always packed – even at 9 PM on a Sunday – you put in your number with the host, who on this particular night was the owner of the restaurant. When we arrived, there was about a half an hour wait for a table or booth in the narrow restaurant.
The menu contains BBQ classics like brisket, ribs and pulled pork, as well as burgers and even some vegetarian items. We were also excited to see catfish and burnt ends on the menu. Yum. For each of the BBQ dishes, You have the option of getting either a sandwich ($7.95-8.95) with one side or a platter with two sides ($10.95-12.95). The special on Sunday was a little taste of New Orleans, a Muffaletta Sandwich $8.95. Sides included pit beans, slaw, fries, and sweet potato fries [!!!] among others, however there was no mac and cheese [tsk, tsk]. For our plates we upgraded to sweet potato fries for an extra 50 cents and that was well worth it. The house barbecue sauce is a slightly-spicy Carolina red sauce but there are other options:
- Georgia Peach, sweet & mild
- Texas Sauce, mild w/ancho peppers & brisket drippings
- Carolina Vinegar, traditional w/vinegar, peppers salt & sugar
- Milo’s Mustard Sauce
- Hot Georgia Peach, hot & sweet
- Chipotle, hot & smoky
We ordered a piece of Blackdog Cornbread ($2.95) which contained green chiles, cheese and pulled pork. The cornbread was good, but perhaps a little over-full with mix-ins. The pulled pork was excellent and tender, but not too fatty and the Carolina sauce had a nice vinegary flavor with some zing. M opted for a pulled pork platter with Texas sauce, and thoroughly enjoyed the slight ancho kick. However, we noticed that the platter didn’t actually seem to have any more meat than the sandwich – so keep that in mind when ordering. We are pleased to report that Black Dog has some of the best BBQ we have had recently, full stop, and it is hands-down the best BBQ in the Champaign-Urbana area. When visiting the University of Illinois we now have a new go-to place, that is if we can get a table.