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I first learned of Chicago’Z Fast Foods from their brief run of cheesy local Memphis television commercials. To their defense, I’ve never seen a local Memphis TV commercial I didn’t think was corny. They offered typical Chicago fare-gyros, Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago style all beef (Vienna) hotdogs with a pickle spear, tomato slice, pepperoncini peppers, diced onions, mustard all on a poppy seed bun and finally, Chicago’s contribution to barbecue…rib tips and fries! I spent my my younger adult years at a bible college in right at the lower tip of Lake Michigan in northern Indiana, about forty five minutes outside of Chicago, where I fell in love with the Chicago style hotdog (second only to the Mexican style hotdog). But on this occasion, it was all about delectable rib tip and fries. What’s the big deal about Chicago rib tips and fries? The smoked rib tips (the meaty, cartilaginous ends of pork spare rib bones) are placed on a bed of fries and topped with a standard sweet and tangy bbq sauce. The smoky, meaty juices and bbq sauce drip down onto the bed of fries, so that once you’re done with the rib tips-you’re still not done. You’ve still got those fries covered in meaty juices and sauce to look forward too. For me, it’s bbq comfort food.
Chicago’Z was located in a small urban strip mall next to a thrift store, where I picked up my rib tips and fries to-go. The windows were covered by iron bars and the transaction was made through a window, the kind you see at gas stations in crime-ridden areas of town. I got my goods and was on my way. The rib tips themselves were well seasoned and full of smoke flavor. The downfall with these rib tips was twofold. First, I immediately tasted the charcoal fluid used to start the coals. I haven’t used the stuff for years at my house, so I most always pick up on that petroleum flavor right off the bat. More and more people are getting away from that horrible chemical and back to more natural methods of fire-starting. Secondly, the meat was slightly tough. Overall, these rib tips had potential, but fell short in those two areas. Chicago’Z is closed now, but I’d like to see more Chicago-style delis pop up around town. But since many bbq joints in Memphis serve smoked rib tips, requesting them on a bed of fries is always an option. worth keeping in mind.
Here are a few notes about the ‘que:
- Ribs Tips-Slightly tough, but still palatable.
- Ribs-Great smoke and seasoned bark, but charcoal fluid taste took away from the meal.
Sauce-Standard, but tasty sweet and tangy bbq sauce.
Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Tim Shirley