• Mike Sula
  • Tips al trunko, Alice’s Bar-B-Q

Earlier this month when I wrote about Bronzeville’s new Puerto Rican spot Maracas, I made a note to point out that despite the ongoing gentrification in the neighborhood, one old, reliable joint is still going strong. Alice’s Bar-B-Q rarely gets mentioned in discussions about the south side’s great aquarium smokers like Lem’s, Barbara Ann’s, and Uncle John’s. But they’ve been smoking tips, links, ribs, chicken, and turkey legs for at least 20 years through some very dark days. In 2011, 20-year veteran pit master Gregory Johnson was killed after he stepped outside for a smoke break and got caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting.

I’d forgotten that I first ate at Alice’s in 2004 when I stopped in recently, and I don’t remember whether the rib tips are any better or worse today than they were then. But they are pretty good, nicely smoky with a good ratio of chewy bark to rendered fat. You’ll notice they’re rather roughly chopped (no big deal), and served in the standard south-side presentation: limp frozen fries soaking up grease on the bottom of the boat, two slices of white bread on top.

It’s pretty much straight out of south-side barbecue central casting. There’s the aquarium smoker chuffing along behind bulletproof glass. It’s cash only, and take-out only, but there’s some nice motivational material to read while you wait. It isn’t the most miraculous barbecue in the city, but I can think of a bunch of noobs that could learn a thing or two from Alice’s.

Alice’s Bar-B-Q, 65 E. 43rd, 773-924-3843