Barbecue purists from the Carolinas to Texas might balk at the notion that Chicago, Illinois, has a barbecue tradition all its own. But owing to the Great Migration, and to a special piece of equipment called the aquarium smoker, reporter-producer Ambriehl Crutchfield finds that Chicago barbecue has evolved into a style unto itself.
Robert Adams of Honey 1 BBQ is interviewed for this Gravy episode, but we’ve explored Chicago barbecue in the past. In this 2008 oral history interview, SFA spoke to James Lemons of Lem’s Bar-B-Q. Mr. Lemons, who passed away in 2015, grew up in Indianola, Mississippi, where his mother taught him to cook, and where he worked each fall slaughtering hogs. When he was fourteen, James followed his brothers to Chicago and into the barbecue business.