One Great Dish: Big Jones' Boucherie Board

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 22, 2013 9:55PM

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Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

Big Jones made the cut for Chicagoist’s list of best restaurants to take your parents because (I wrote) “Paul Fehribach is equal parts master chef and anthropologist, curating a menu from across the southeast incorporating elements of the Carolina Lowcountry, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and Appalachia.” And I did spy a young man with his parents at the Andersonville restaurant on a visit Thursday night tearing into the family-style fried chicken.

That was also my intent when I entered Big Jones last night until I remembered there’s more to the menu than Fehribach’s lovingly imagining of Edna Lewis’ fried chicken recipe. Fehribach has one of the more under-the-radar charcuterie and pickle programs in Chicago and the best way to sample it is with Big Jones’ boucherie board.

The board comes loaded with samples of whatever cured meats are on the menu, including andouille sausage slow-smoked over pecan wood in natural beef casings and served with home-baked Abruzzi rye bread; chow-chow and garlic aioli; hog's head pâté made with brandy and peppercorns with a bourbon-brown sugar mustard and homemade rye bread; and a duck rillette with quince. Fehribach and his staff prepare Big Jones’ charcuterie using traditional Cajun recipes and local pork, all of this impressively plated. At $22, it’s a veritable steal of a deal.

The andouille and rillette are perfectly textured and go well with their condiments but it’s the tête de cochon that stood out. The mustard made for a nice contrast in flavor and texture. I couldn’t get enough of the pickled okra, house made pickle chips and pimento cheese on the board, as well.

You could make a meal of the boucherie board but this is a dish best shared with friends and worth skipping the fried chicken.

Big Jones is located at 5347 N. Clark St.