Caramel glazed spare ribs Credit: Knox Ave Barbecue

The Pilgrims were not invited to the first Friendsgiving in 1622. The year before all that Puritan-flavored canned cranberry sauce, chalky white meat, and bland so-dry-you-choke-on-it stuffing taught the Wampanoag a lesson. So a few days ahead of November 24, they secretly gathered on the shady side of Plymouth Rock and pregamed their dreary holiday obligations with a serious throwdown, centered around a 500-gallon offset smoker and flavors that would certainly send the Calvinists straight to hell.

This November 21 we honor that noble tradition with A Very Umamicue Friendsgiving, an epic barbecue collaboration at the next Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s weekly chef pop-up at the Kedzie Inn in Irving Park. 

Surely, you recall the barbecue supergroup Umamicue that pitmaster Charles Wong assembled last month. A few are returning, including the Asian stoner food duo SuperHai, with wasabi turkey confit croquettes with five-spice cranberry sauce; and Shaker BBQ with smoked turkey breast bathed in black pepper, chicken stock, and butter. Other old friends of Foodball are in the house too, like Jasmine Sheth of Tasting India with garam masala, green chili, and chili crunch-spiked cornbread.

Spiced cornbread, Tasting India

There’re some promising rookies in the lineup too: Texas transplant Joe Yim of the elusive Knox Ave Barbecue is glazing pork spare ribs with caramel sauce. And then there’s Thomas Rogers and Adam McFarland, a pair of Michelin-trained chingones together known as Better Boy, with a black-truffle celery-root stuffing, and brown-butter butterscotch pudding, just like the Wampanoag made.

As for Wong, he’ll be bringing in Vietnamese-style shaking beef sausage, stuffed with prime brisket trim and smoked in Odesza’s secret lair.

What’s the giving part, you ask? The crew will also be offering five-pound smoked turkey breasts, vacuum sealed and chilled for takeaway. For each one sold ($125), another will be donated to Community Kitchen & Canteen for folks in need.

Preorder à la carte–or it let ride on a $60 one-plate, seven-course Friendsgiving feast–right now. A limited number of walk-in orders will be indulged beginning at 5:30 PM at 4100 N. Kedzie.

Meantime feast your eyes upon the remaining fall MNF schedule below. Four more Foodballs for 2022.