Real Urban BBQ in Highland Park, IL

Double Chili Cheeseburger
2011/02/18 10:59:24
Has anyone else been there? I've been three times in the last few weeks and I'm thrilled with the brisket and the "burnt end" sandwiches. They pull the briskets and chicken out of the smoker right in front of you and chop it right there. There are four different sauce options, none as good as what you'd get in Kansas City but decent for Chicago. The sliced brisket has crunchy, black crust on the sides, just as it should. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. Anyway, highly recommended.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Real Urban BBQ in Highland Park, IL 2011/02/18 11:52:10
That sounds great. Is the name of the place Real Urban BBQ?
Re:Real Urban BBQ in Highland Park, IL 2011/02/18 14:12:17
Been there once and thought it was good, not great.  The main complaint from the local foodie website,, and I have to agree, is that the smoke flavor in RUB's meat is light to non-existent.  The owner says he is trying to cater to the tastes of his neighborhood clientele.  I guess if he has done the proper research, he should know what he's talking about.
Personally, I can't imagine why anyone would want less smoke flavor if they are going to a BBQ joint, but it is his business not mine.  He is no new comer to the restaurant business.  He's been managing restaurants since first getting out of college and has been active in the business ever since, including a prominent stint with Rich Melman of Lettuce Entertain You.
The one time we went, we ordered a variety of meats and sides.  As I said, everything was good, but not great.  The meats themselves were moist and tender with good meat flavor and a decent smoke ring, but little olfactory evidence that they'd been smoked.  Sides were also quite good, in some cases overshadowing the meat.
According from what I've read recently, the discussion on LTH and other food discussion forums has caused the owner to rethink his approach and cook his 'Que in a manner that will give it a little more smoke flavor.  Whatever he does, I don't think he's hurting for business.  Lines have been consistently long.
As for Mrs. Roadhouse and myself, the one time we went there it was because we were on our way to a theater that was within a block or so of RUB.  I would go back, but only if we were returning to the theater.
The best north side Barbecue in Chicago is still found at Smoque.  Admittedly, you need to actually enter the city limits to get it while RUB is way up north in suburban Highland Park.  I guess for those too timid to come into Chicago (not talking about you Danimal), RUB is their best BBQ alternative.
P.S. Real Urban Barbecue has no affiliation with Paul Kirk's New York 'Que joint which also goes by the RUB acronym.  The RUB at Paul's place stands for Righteous Urban Barbecue.
post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2011/02/18 14:16:36