- Mike Sula
- Rub’s smoked potato
Rub’s Backcountry Smokehouse is the second coming of Jared Leonard’s West Rogers Park barbecue joint Rub BBQ Company, the former day trader having moved his operation around the corner from Lunt to the remote backcountry of Western Avenue in early March. A lot can be said for Leonard’s learning curve. He started out on a gas-powered offset cooker, and the results were less than mentionable. Now his menu proudly proclaims “No gas. No electricity,” referring to his totally hardwood-fueled smokers, and there has been some improvement, though not necessarily in the barbecue department. Ribs—Saint Louis spares—are Leonard’s strongest suit. They hold together nicely, carry the most intense smoke flavor in the repertoire, and while they can be a bit dry, they’re not so bad as to require the application of any of the quartet of house-made sauces. But the latter are essential for the brisket, which absorbs no smoke flavor at all. It would taste braised if it weren’t so dry, yet it contains deposits of barely rendered fat, an indicator it’s been cooked too fast. Pulled chicken and pork are little better—again too dry.