Anyone who knows me knows that I nearly have a pedigree in BBQ. My father was a pitmaster and one-time BBQ restauranteur, I’m a backyard pitmaster, I produce BBQ food media, I shoot BBQ food photography, a couple of years ago I produced “Behind Ribfest” a feature length documentary film about Naperville Ribfest, I’m a charter member of the Illinois BBQ Alliance, I’m a member of NBBQA and my company even manages social media efforts for one of Chicago’s legendary BBQ joints. *Deep breath*
Needless to say, joy filled my heart last year when Q BBQ, based in LaGrange, opened its doors in one of my favorite places in the world… Downtown Naperville. The restaurant space is a wonderful tribute to the BBQ culture, with glorious smoke aromas that cover a multi-block radius, counter service, visible stacks of wood and walls adorned with framed pages from Wyatt McSpadden’s “Texas BBQ” coffee table BBQ photography book (a must have for BBQ fanatics).
Since my first visit the first week of their opening last year, I’ve just about tried everything on the menu at least twice and they’ve really fine tuned their operation in terms of consistency and quality. The Q BBQ meat line-up is a deliciously flavorful salute to all the great BBQ regions, from your Carolina pulled pork complete with house made vinegar sauce to their Texas Brisket (chopped or sliced) and Smoked Sausage to their KC Burnt Ends. Did I mention ribs? I recommend their Memphis Sweet Sauce and you definitely don’t want to miss their more recent arrival… Smoked Turkey. Sides include a short list of perennial BBQ favorites, including fresh cut crispy fries and mac-n-cheese with a cheese-cracker crumbled topping.
Aside from all of the above reasons to visit Q BBQ, there is one reason that has led to an almost weekly pilgrimage into Downtown Naperville for lunch… one reason this particular menu item should on the list of 100 things to eat before you die… one reason that surprised me immensely in my love at first bite… Q BBQ‘s Memphis Chicken Wings. Allow me to premise this obsession by saying that up until my first trip to Q BBQ shortly after they opened, I was never a big fan of chicken wings in general, but these little babies are different. First the wings are slow-smoked to lock in that heavenly flavor, then fried with a sweet rub applied while they are still hot (I presume). The result is a rich, smokey, lingering savory sweetness. At my small company here in Naperville, my colleague and I have declared each Friday as “Q Wing Friday”.