Windy City Smokeout: Chicago

On Friday, I attended the first night of the 3rd annual Windy City Smokeout here in Chicago.  It is a 3-day country music and BBQ festival held near the Chicago River on the west side of town. I took the CTA Blue Line to the Grand ‘L’ stop which is about 4 blocks west of the event site. Head on over there for this final day while the weather is still looking great!  


Windy City Smokeout

Grand L stop near Windy City Smokeout


While I am not a big country music fan, there are some good

acts on the schedule and the crowd seemed to love it.  I, on the other hand, was there primarily for the BBQ.  This year a total of 10 BBQ joints from Chicago, Texas, Missouri, Mississippi, and elsewhere anchored the event.

There were several beers on tap to enjoy, as well as some much loved Chicago restaurants and specialty shops such as Doughnut Vault, Summer House Bakery, and La Colombe coffee. You really need 2 or 3 days to make your way through this foodtastic event.  I only made it there on Friday evening and my strategy was to try the BBQ of vendors from outside of Chicago.  Sure, I stopped by the Smoque BBQ booth because I believe they have the BEST BBQ in Chicago.  After I polished off some their fabulous smoked brisket, I moseyed on over to The Salt Lick booth (Driftwood, Texas) where I tried their super flavorful and spicy pork/beef sausage in a natural casing.


Smoque BBQ at Windy City Smokeout

Smoked brisket from Smoque BBQ

The Salt Lick at Windy City Smokeout

The Salt Lick sausageThe Salt Lick's sausage


I really enjoy some of Chicago’s local brewers.  I was happy to find this Goose Island Green LIne draft on tap.


Goose Island's Green Line beer


Next up, I side-stepped over to Pappy’s Smokehouse (St. Louis, Missouri) where I had the most insanely delicious, fall-off-the bone ribs.  This was the highlight of the event for me.  If I wasn’t already so stuffed, I would have ordered a second portion.  The people of St. Louis are incredibly lucky to have Pappy’s!

Pappy's Smokehouse at Windy City Smokeout

Pappy's St. Louis ribs

Pappy's Smokehouse's ribs


My final food stop of the evening was at Ubons (Mississippi) where I decided to try this “Delta Caviar,” a slightly smoky, vegetarian dish made with black beans, black-eyed peas, corn, tomatoes and peppers.  It provided just the balance I needed from all the meat I had consumed earlier.

This event has lots of merchandising related to country music, BBQ and beer.  TV personality, Adam Richman of the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food show was on-site to sign copies of his new book, Straight Up Tasty.


Windy City Smokeout bandsWindy City Smokeout stageWindy City Smokeout festival

Windy City Smokeout grounds

Windy City Smokeout merchandise


Adam Richman at Windy City Smokeout

Adam Richman's book signing for Straight Up Tasty at Windy City Smokeout

Windy City Smokeout on Grand Avenue and the Chicago River

Windy City Smokeout in Chicago

Windy City Smokeout festival

Windy City Smokeout country music festival and BBQ

Windy City Smokeout on the Chicago River

VIP section at Windy City Smokeout

Smokeout corral at Windy City Smokeout


Overall, I thought this was a great festival.  However, tickets are not inexpensive but that money has to pay for the large musical line-up and running of the event. General admission for one day is $40 and VIP entry is $145.  A 3-day General Admission pass cost $99 and the 3-day VIP pass cost $400. There are plenty of ATM machines if you run of cash to buy your food and drink tickets which are an additional cost.  Food items range from $3-$8.  Beer will cost you $5-$7.


Windy City Smokeout bands

Summer House Bakery at Windy City Smokeout

Doughnut Vault at Windy City Smokeout

Lillie's Q at Windy City Smokeout

Jack Daniel's at Windy City Smokeout

Gus's Fried Chicken at Windy City Smokeout

Windy City Smokeout games


At the time of this post, the show is still going on and it will run through dusk.  It’s definitely a fun and tasty time, if you want to head over there.  Or, put fest on your list of things to do in Chicago next summer, if you have the money.  Click here for more information. 

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Blue Line to the Windy City Smokeout next year.  Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking.  Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!