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Bub City
Charred lamb ribs at Bub City.

Smoky, fall-apart pork, charred around the edges and topped with a sweet or spicy sauce--let?s just say barbecue always excites us. These three Chicago spots are keeping our cravings at bay.

Bub City The Melman brothers have loosened their ties at their latest River North spot. The meat is slow-smoked (go with a group, get the whole pork shoulder with four sides for $76), the Paul McGee-made cocktails are whiskey-focused and the music is pure country. Catch an act on the Bub City stage (Brandon Alan plays tonight at 8 p.m.) or get up there yourself on live-band karaoke night (Tuesdays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.). 435 N. Clark St.; 312-610-4200 or bubcitychicago.com

Lillie?s Q Live or work in the Loop but haven?t made the trek to Wicker Park for award-winning barbecue? Here?s your chance. Lillie?s Q just opened an outpost in the French Market, serving up half of its regular menu (we?re partial to the crispy smoked hot link on a brioche bun, $8), plus addictive Carolina dirt-crusted kettle chips that you can?t get on the North Side. 131 N. Clinton St.; 773-772-5500 or lilliesq.com

Chicago Q The owner of this upscale Gold Coast joint once whipped Bobby Flay in a barbecue throwdown. Get the winning experience by ordering the tender, sweeter competition ribs ($35), or play pitmaster at home with Chicago Q?s new retail products: the 13-spice Pig Powder ($10), the salt-and-pepper-based Q Rub ($10) and the Eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce ($8). 1160 N. Dearborn St.; 312-642-1160 or chicagoqrestaurant.com

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