As anyone who pays attention to the weather knows, winter in Chicago means one of hibernation. But summertime is another story. We are outdoors. Every day, if possible. One of the many reasons to love living in a city like Chicago are the vast assortment of summer festivals. Chicago has an abundance of them throughout the summer whether food, sports, art or music. No matter where you live, you will find one near you. In its fourth year, one of the most recent food festivals to pop up is Windy City Smokeout.
With the 23 Country music bands playing over the course of the weekend, attendees had the opportunity to listen to their favorites throughout the festival. Music ranging from Billy Currington to Phil Vassar to Big and Rich to Chase Rice to Old Dominion to Maren Morris drew crowds as the warm weather and friendly environment encouraged laughter and a relaxed audience. And with gates opening at noon the entire weekend, those artists are not even the half of it!
Along with the music, this event was all about the BBQ! Along with amazing weather, the Windy City Smokeout features to-die-for BBQ from 21 different shops. Not only were some of Chicago’s finest there (such as Little’s Q, Chicago Q, Blackwood BBQ, Bub’s City, Dinosaur BBQ, 17th Street, and BBQ Smoque), but also some of the best from Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri, and Georgia. You basically get to taste BBQ from all over the nation without having to leave the city of Chicago!
Here is a little taste of what the festival had to offer:
- Bub City had an amazing Pulled Pork Sandwich that was stacked high with handmade pulled pork.
- The Chicago native shop, Blackwood BBQ, offered Alabama Chicken, Pork Belly Po’s Boy, and Egg & Potato Salad.
- Salt Lick BBQ from Driftwood, Texas, shared their sliced brisket and smoked sausage along with homemade coleslaw.
- Lillie Q’s offered Memphis Walking Tacos, which were perfect for those who were determined to get to the front row for their favorite country artists along with a sampling of their famous BBQ sauces.
- Lobster Shack offered participants a fish alternative to the BBQ, serving up New England Lobster Rolls and Whole Steamed Lobsters.
- Fries are the ultimate compliment for any BBQ meal! Sir Kensington served up some amazing Waffle and Garlic-Crab fries.
- Skylight Inn from NC offering a whole hog wood fired bbq sandwich with their homemade coleslaw and choice of sauces.
- If you are an oyster person, then you had to try these Drago’s Seafood Restaurant’s charbroiled oysters. These even have an option to ship you a full oyster party. Take a look at their site for details.
Other dishes included fried chicken, hot dogs, corn dogs, beans, sausage, pork wings, ice cream and so much more. For more information on what this year’s festival offered, check out the 2016 menu.
BBQ and grilling obviously go hand in hand which made it the perfect place to introduce the new partnership between Weber Grill and Marriott’s TownePlace Suites. Add country music artists, Sister C, Jordan Gray and Joey Hyde, a little friendly competition and a cheering audience and the Windy City Smokeout was off to a great start.
As a former business traveler (aka Road Warrior) who once spent more time in hotels than in my apartment, finding comfortable hotels for extended stays was a bonus. Enter Marriott’s TownePlace Suites that offer spacious rooms with personal kitchens, giving a vibe of a more “home-y” stay. With its new partnership with Weber Grill, Marriott’s TownePlace Suites all across North America will feature Weber® stainless steel Summit® Gas Grills.
It is basically an unwritten rule that if there is country music, there must be beer served. The beer row at Windy City Smokeout features tons of craft and local beers, along with the big brands.
Aside from beer, you had additional choices like these summertime drinks from Three Dots and a Dash.
Windy City Smokeout was a casual, relaxing and low key music and food festival. And that was absolutely perfect! Spending time with friends listening to good music and eating the best BBQ couldn’t have been better. You know people always say Chicago has two seasons: winter and construction – but I disagree with that. I believe Chicago has three seasons: winter, construction, and festivals!
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. Make sure to save the date for next year’s Windy City Smokeout–July 14-16, 2017.