Lunch for Two for Under $15 (Almost): Brand BBQ Market
By Caitlin Klein in Food on Mar 9, 2011 7:00PM
We’ve been dying to try Logan Square’s Brand BBQ Market, and we finally made it in for lunch. Brand has a current lunch special of a chopped pork sandwich, a soda, and fries for $6.95. That’s for dine-in only and does not include tax or gratuity, but what a deal! We couldn’t pass it up so we stopped in to see what Brand could do with their pigmeats, and find out what else they have to offer.
The Food: Brand’s enthusiasm for the process of making barbecue is infectious. Chalkboards lining the walls of the dining room list the types of wood they use, and for what. The chopped pork was good, with larger chunks of meat and more diversity of texture than you’d find on a standard pulled pork sandwich at other places around the city. There are tradeoffs to this method; we like the larger pieces of pork for the substance they provide, but you run the risk of getting pieces that are particularly tough or fatty. Overall though, we thought it was a great sandwich and would order it again. The fries are particularly good; the coarse sea salt adheres to each fry and they were hard to stop eating. Brand also makes “Burnt Ends” - the fat cap of the brisket is smoked and tossed in Brand’s classic sauce. The menu warns you upfront that Burnt Ends “contains a large amount of fat.”.
Brand is BYOB, so you’ll only get pop or lemonade if you didn’t think to pack ahead. Drinks are charmingly served in mason jars filled to the brim with ice. We saw a few fellows leaving the restaurant with a half-empty bottle of whiskey. Now there’s an idea. Whiskey cokes with your barbecue, anyone?
The Extras: As far as we can tell, the thing that really sets Brand apart from other barbecue joints in this city are the extras. Chef Sweet Charity Smith has interests outside of the normal realm of traditional barbecue, and it shows. They sell bourbon smoked candied pecans, their own house rub (that unbelievably contains no salt), ice cream in daily-changing flavors, and a variety of sides such as sweet potato fries, bourbon creamed corn, spicy broccoli, and cornbread with Brand’s own homemade bacon honey butter, which is also for sale to take home. We checked out the blueberry ice cream, and while it was slightly salty, it tasted very fresh and had chunks of real blueberries in it. Cool. Brand’s products are also sold at specialty stores, including Logan Square’s Provenance Food & Wine. Chef Smith is trying to brand Brand.
The Sauce: The unbridled eagerness to experiment with barbecue shows up in the selection of sauces present at each table. There are no less than eight - count ‘em, eight: Brand’s signature sauce, sweet heat, classic, smoky spicy, bourbon mustard, Caribbean jerk, brandy cherry, and sweet southern peach. We of course tasted all of them on our (clean?) fingers, and recommend the smoky spicy and southern peach. Heck, combine the sauces right at the table to create your own signature sauce. Why not? We like the creativity the variety provides to the diner.
The Prices: Brand’s normal prices are extremely reasonable, but we don’t think this $6.95 lunch special will last forever. We’d jump on it if we were you.
Brand BBQ is located at 2824 W. Armitage.