This time it’s for real: the sweet narcotic haze of smoked meat will haunt the streets and alleys of Irving Park. That’s when Odesza, Charles Wong’s candy apple-red, 22-foot, 500-gallon mobile road pit, will pull up at the corner of Kedzie and Belle Plaine for Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s weekly guest chef pop-up at the Kedzie Inn.
It’s the return of Odesza’s keeper, the peripatetic new-school, Asian barbecue pop-up Umamicue, aka Wong, the hardest working pitmaster in Chicago showbiz. Wong’s shown up for many a Foodball, helping out his comrades even when he wasn’t headlining. This week a rogues’ gallery of five chefs has his back, each one harnessing Odesza’s smoky mojo in the service of a dish of their own. It’s a combined prix fixe platter that will shatter your assumptions about what barbecue is and shall ever be.
Central Texas brewery barbecue ronins Heffer BBQ will preview their December guest residency at Kimski with a smoky chicken thigh tostada, with pinto chipotle salsa, pickled red onion, and queso fresco. Mike Shaker, aka Shaker BBQ, is a Texas apostle himself, bringing in a peppery prime beef brisket and jalapeno-cheddar beef-pork sausage duo. Returning Foodball heroes SuperHai are throwing some cabbage on the grates for yakisoba with honey-miso poached shrimp, shiitakes, tamago, and Kewpie; while another illustrious MNF OG, Thattu, returns with a Keralan-style smoked bean curry.
I might be most stoked for Wong’s tea-smoked duck breast bao, a collaboration with yet another Kedzie vet, Annie Xiang of Volition Tea, who will post up in the bar with a pair of cold brews for sale, along with her exquisite dried teas.
The mad rush for limited walk-in orders begins at 5:30 PM this Monday, September 19, but you can secure your preorders for this barbecue supergroup right now.
Meanwhile, gaze upon Monday Night Foodball’s fall schedule in progress. More dates to come.
9/26: Chicken and waffle night with Avrom Farm
10/10: Night of the Copi (the invasive species formerly known as Asian carp) with Chả Cá Nuggs
10/17: Traditional Jewish deli with a modern purpose with Schneider Provisions
10/24: Sausage party with the Hot Dog Box
10/31: Halloween bye night
11/7: plant-focused taqueria pop-up Piñatta
11/28: Thanksgiving break