It’s no secret to any of my bests that I love barbecue. All of it. Though I’ve made quite the variety here, I really don’t discriminate on style. Much to my surprise, I found that I loved Carolina barbecue as much as what I consider traditional, and in my opinion, barbecue is not only made by the meat and the sauce but by the sides, equally important; cornbread, mac and cheese, grits (if you choose), greens and of course, french fries. Mess those up and you might as well just throw in the whole towel. I mean it. It’s all or nothing.
A few weeks ago, Kettle Corn, my partner in crime and overindulgence, and I had the chance to dine at Porkchop, one of Chicago’s own establishments and give their barbecue a go.
Unlike other restaurants here in town that may focus on one or all of the barbecue styles, Porkchop ditches all convention to offer it’s own twist and take on the traditionals, resulting in a truly unique menu. Fried ribs are a signature dish, as is their fried chicken, and hints of Porkchop’s extensive whisky collection appear throughout. Not one bite disappointed.
Top to bottom, that would be fried pickles, PULLED PORK MAC & CHEESE (!), the perfect fried chicken sandwich and a short rib reminiscent of a dish that would be found in Bedrock.
My favorite sauce in the collection was Porkchop’s own “Chicago” style sauce; tangy, infused with rosemary and vodka. I wanted to drink it. Literally, and on everything it went. It’s innovations like this sauce that pushed Porkchop over all other barbecue restaurants I’ve tried.
We both left Porkchop fat and happy, just the way it should be.
Not only did we get to try all of the above, we also had a chance to sit down with the restaurateur, Jovanis Bouargoub, and chew the fat about his history with food, his favorites and why, among all things, this French-born foodie chose American barbecue as his restaurant theme of choice. To read all about it, including who he’d choose to eat dinner with and what he’d serve, hop on over to Dining at my Desk for the recap.
And finally, because all of you deserve a treat too, Jovanis shared with me (and you) the restaurant’s recipe for Cajun Fettuccine.
It’s an easy one to throw together, packed with flavor and the perfect weeknight meal. And, for those of you on the low carb train, Kettle Corn and I tested this with zoodles with great success. I will confess that I tweaked it just a bit, and added my requisite herbs & citrus to Chef’s recipe, but that’s because I physically cannot help myself. It’s a sickness. I’m not seeking treatment (nor, do I intend to).
I bought frozen, cooked crawfish tails. Can’t find them? Use all the shrimp.
Make sure you add the seafood at the end so it doesn’t overcook and get rubbery.
I made this Cajun seasoning from spices already in my pantry. If you have a fave, use that.
Chicken sausage was the name of this game. If pork is your thing, do your thing.
- 4 ounces uncooked Fettuccine noodles (about the size of a quarter in diameter)
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/2 TB olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2 links chicken Andouille sausage, cut at a bias into 1/4” slices
- 1 cup clam juice
- 1 TB Cajun seasoning
- 2 TB heavy cream
- 6 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup crawfish tails
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 TB lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- Preheat the oven to 375. On a line cookie sheet, spread the tomatoes and toss in 1/2 TB olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until shriveled and soft, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill a large stock pot with salted water. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Set aside.
- To a large, deep skillet, add 1 TB olive oil and the sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 minutes. Add the tomatoes, seasoning and clam juice and simmer until reduced by 1/2. Add the cream and lemon juice, give it a stir and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is pink.
- To the pan, add the noodles and toss well to coat. Add the parsley, give it a toss and serve immediately.
Porkchop has multiple locations throughout Chicagoland, including 941 W. Randolph.
Written and singing, Defying Gravity, on loop.