STUFF TO KNOW
How Do You Cook Your BBQ?:
At Windy City, we don't cook it - we smoke it. If there's no smoke - there's no BBQ! Many people confuse grilling with BBQing. Genuine Smokehouse BBQ is smoked low & slow at 180-250 degree temperature range for a long period, 2 1/2 to 18 hours depending on what you're smoking. Windy City has a custom BBQ pit, made in Texas (where else?). This 2,500lb smoker can turn out up to 1,000lbs of meat at a time, so our smoking capacity can match your group's appetite. We use 100% post oak for flavor and the only heat source is the indirect use of hot smoke. This produces two things: (1) The smoke ring BBQ aficionados love to see in the meat, showing that it's genuine BBQ and (2) The rich dark pink color that comes from the smoke interacting with the meat. Your chicken and ribs are NOT undercooked if you see this. Remember, a rosy-pink ham started its life as a white pork shoulder - the smoke make it beautiful!
How Long Do You Cook Your BBQ?:
We smoke our meat and "cook" it until it's done. This may seem like a smart Alex answer - let me explain:
The art of BBQ and the pitmaster's skill take into consideration many things. The temperature of the pit,
temperature of the meat as it enters the pit, hot & cold spots in the pit, temperature & condition of the wood
you're burning. Different people turn, move, mop, spray, brush, bend, poke & stick their BBQ. The main thing is to
constantly watch the meat. Often the meat can seem done but really needs another 30 - 60 minutes more to be done right.
Brisket cooks until you can turn a fork in it - usually 18hrs. Chicken is smoked to a set temperature - usually 2hrs.
The outside weather & inside temperature, as well as the pitmaster's mood, can all affect the finished product. All of
the above explains why so many people don't really try to do genuine BBQ. It's much easier to buy it from the person who
wanted to get up at 4am to make sure the meat was done just right.
Texas Beef Back Ribs:
These are the racks that remain when the butcher bones out a prime rib. Beef ribs combine the rich meaty flavor of beef with the bone-gnawing pleasure of pork ribs. Salt & pepper ribs are a Texas tradition...rooted in the belief that when the beef is top quality and the pit is hot & smoky, the eating doesn't get any better!
St. Louis Cut (Pork) Spareribs:
Combine the relative tenderness of baby backs with the rich flavor of spareribs. A slab of spareribs is specially hand-trimmed to create this beautiful, nicely portioned slab of ribs. Smoked low & slow to tender pork deliciousness. All ribs want to grow up to become "St Louis" ribs...more meat, more taste, less money!
Brisket (Beef): Brisket is the large flat cut of meat that runs down the chest of the steer. It has a very meaty, beefy taste. It needs to be smoked low & slow (ours is smoked 18hrs) to reach its tender, flavorful, perfection. If you say "give me a sandwich" in Texas...this is what you'll get.
The whole front leg of a hog, sold as two cuts. Top portion called a Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder Roast, and the bottom portion called a Fresh Picnic.
The entire lower portion of a slab of pork spareribs. Windy City smokes the entire strip low & slow, until tender. Cut into bite size pieces, these lean pieces of pork, sitting on top of a small piece of hard cartilage are considered by many to be the tastiest part of the ribs. Cut off - or better still - bite off this mouthful of pork heaven. Great finger food!
Created on the South side of Chicago, the Italian Beef is a unique, drippy, messy variation of a French dip sandwich. Slices of paper-thin beef, soaked in au jus and layered generously, dripping wet onto sections of Italian Bread. The meat is topped with sauteed green bell peppers. Giardiniera (explanation follows) will be added on request. If you want it wet, dip the entire sandwich in the au jus. Very messy - not for beginners!
A spicy hot blend of chopped Serrano peppers, carrots, cauliflower florets, celery, olives and herbs packed in oil. Delicious on Italian Beef sandwiches, hot dogs, salads - everything.
The Classic Chicago Dog:
The famous "Vienna Beef" hot dog. The dog is in its natural casing, which gives the "snap" when bitten into. The "just so" combination of meat and vegetables, provides the "drug through the garden" flavor that marks this classic. Mustard, onion, bright green relish, pickle spear, tomato slice, celery salt, sport peppers on a special poppy seed bun. A no substitute Great Hot Dog!
A small Serrano-type pepper. Medium heat, traditionally served on a Chicago Hot Dog.
A classic Southern green leafy vegetable. A tangy, slightly bitter green, livened up with cider vinegar, spice rub and Carolina mustard sauce. The juice in which it's cooked, called "Pot Likker", is good to dip your corn muffin into. Great taste...good for you!
Capital Meat Company:
Home for over 40 years to the finest Italian meats available anywhere. Our meatballs, Italian Beef, plus the Italian Sausage on our pizzas are all from Chicago's Capital Meats. Hooray for great taste! Served at Wrigley Field and the United Center - home of the Cubs, the Bulls, the Blackhawks!
Shiner Bock Beer:
An Amber Lager with roasted malt flavors and mild hop character. Brewed for over 100 years at the Spoetz Brewery in Shiner, Texas - an historically popular beer.
Big Red Soda Pop:
Since 1937 this unique Red Cream Soda has been made in Waco, Texas. Great with a plate of Texas BBQ...Beautiful to look at and great to enjoy as a "Big Red" ice cream float. Uniquely delicious and different as a Big Red Soda Pop Cake (recipe on request). GO BIG RED!
LET'S TALK PIZZA:
Pizza Crust and the American Institute of Baking:
...or why our customers love our crust! The world of pizza crust is very different all over the country. Chicago is no different - thick, thin, cornmeal, crunchy, classic, gourmet and even vegetarian. Many of our customers from Chicago ask for a "cornmeal bottom" to create that specific taste. Windy City makes a thicker, slightly sweeter bread-like crust. We learned how to make this dough from the original owner - a Chicago native. Bob (owner) furthered his dough-making education by attending the American Institute of Baking in Kansas (where all the grain is grown). More recently, Trish (owner & brains of the outfit), has further improved the process after attending several baking seminars with the institute's "Dough Doctor." Couple our dedication to dough-making with our use of only the best ingredients (Grande Cheese, Fontanini Meats, etc.) - and you'll see why we believe Windy City's version of a Chicago pie is very good. At the very least you'll save $800 for a plane ticket or a $75 overnight Chicago delivery charge!
Hot Red Head:
In addition to the prospect of a hot date, the Hot Red Head describes the classic Chicago preparation of a deep dish pizza.
In Chicago, the cheese is layered on the bottom of the crust for dough protection, then all the toppings are added, finishing
with hand squeezed fresh tomatoes on the top of the pie. If you order the Hot Red Head at Windy City you'll see your pizza
made this way...no guarantee you'll take-out a new name and phone number!
We hope you enjoy our pizza...as they say in Texas, Bone Appetite!