I'm always on the lookout for new places to eat while I'm on the road. It just so happened that I heard of a place in the western Chicago suburb of Westmont that supposedly had great ribs, Uncle Bub's Barbecue. I was in the area one night recently and decided to give it a try.
Uncle Bub's is housed in a large barn-like structure on Cass Ave. in the small downtown area of Westmont (see map). I read that the original building was pretty small, but they expanded about six years ago to their present size. Mark Link is the managing partner of the restaurant and I understand that he does a lot of the smoking of the meats himself.
As you walk into Uncle Bub's, you go through the entry way, then keep going through a little hallway that also houses a pay phone, then turn left and go order at the counter. There are tubs of domestic and imported beers at the counter, and you can also order 22 oz. draft beers. Cold 22 oz. draft beers. Ice cold 22 oz. beers. The cold beer and the barbecue gives Uncle Bub's kind of a "roadhouse" feel to the place.
They have nightly food specials and I got there a little after 8 p.m. and I was told they were out of the baby back rib special for the evening. No problem.
Since I'd never been there before, I went with the sampler platter - three pork ribs, a chicken thigh and leg, pulled pork, beef brisket and something called "riblets" which reminded me more of a pork jerky (if there is such a thing). Two sides came with that, so I went with the old stand by of baked beans and fries.
They give you a carved wood cow or pig with a number on it and you take it back to your table. They bring the food out to you in a jiffy.
I normally don't care for barbecued chicken, but Uncle Bub's chicken was pretty good. Not great, but not bad. Their pulled pork and beef brisket was moist and flavorful. The riblets were a little tough and not too meaty. The pork ribs were dry and not very good.
Uncle Bub's had two different types of sauces - a mild sauce that was sweet and smoky; and a hot sauce that sort of sneaks up on you after the initial bite. Uncle Bub's sauce recently won the "Best Sauce" category at the 2006 Naperville Rib Fest, one of the largest rib festivals in the Midwest. They were good, but I wouldn't say they were outstanding.
Overall I'd give Uncle Bub's a B-, but I think I'd like to try the place again. It has some potentially good food with their brisket and pulled pork.