Honey 1 BBQ

Review by: Michael Stern

Wood Smoke Makes The Difference

Welcome to Chicago with an Arkansas accent. Robert Adams, pitmaster at Honey 1 BBQ, hails from Arkansas. There he learned about smoke-cooking meat. The #1 thing he knows is that only wood smoke does it right. No boiling, no steaming allowed. Nor does he approve of gas heat with a few wood chips thrown in. Adams uses all wood coals, smoldering low for hours. He performs this time-honored culinary ritual in an aquarium smoker. That’s the glass-walled pit that is unique to barbecue the Chicago way.

A Rewarding Chew

Ribs rule here. Just don’t expect fall-off-the-bone baby backs. These are spare ribs. To get their meat, you need teeth. I am not saying they are tough, not at all. But you will yank to retrieve meat from bone. The reward is flavor that blossoms as you chew – a deep, profound taste of pork that overly tender ribs simply do not offer.

Subtle Sauce

The ribs taste so exactly right that you wouldn’t want hot-shot sauce to eclipse them. Sure enough, Honey 1 sauce delivers only enough spice to halo the meat. Subtle but not boring, this sauce wants to be licked off fingers. How right it is that all of Honey 1’s barbecue meats come with soft white bread. Of itself, the bread bores. As a sop for sauce, it earns everlasting gratitude.

Don’t Miss Rib Tips and Hot Links

Rib tips and hot links play a supporting role on the menu, but discerning barbecue buffs do not ignore them. The tips – a less expensive alternative to ribs – demand serious tooth work. The eater must separate meat from cartilage and fat from meat, worrying each piece with teeth and tongue. Those who do it find reward in nuggets and morsels of pork with taste that is gentler than spare ribs themselves.

Hot links don’t get the glory heaped on ribs. But Honey 1’s links deserve special accolades for standing out in city as sausage-savvy as Chicago. More rugged than juicy, they arrive already cut into large, bite-size slices. They want some of that sauce. It glistens on their taut skin and deliciously seeps into the coarsely chopped pork within.


Many customers who don’t spring for ribs go for a half-and-half plate of rib tips and hot links. That costs about half what you pay for for a full-slab rib dinner. With French fries, white bread, and a glaze of sauce, it’s a heavenly taste of barbecue the Chicago way.

Note: business is cash-only.

Directions & Hours

What To Eat

BBQ Ribs

Rib Tips

Hot Links


Honey 1 BBQ Recipes


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