By The Black Foodies
Restaurant Review of Bear Down Barbeque and Catering Co.
Pitmaster and owner of Bear Down Barbecue & Catering Co., Rashid Riggins, told us he takes his smoked brisket “really serious.” This is a wonderful thing for all of us who enjoy the pleasure of smoked meats. Bear Down Barbecue & Catering Co. is the closest thing to Texas barbecue that you will find in the Chicagoland area. Located in Frankfort, Illinois (20857 South LaGrange Road), Bear Down is full of good eats and Chicago Bears memorabilia. When we first walked into this small, quaint eatery, we were immersed in the nostalgia of the Chicago Bears and the smell of great barbecue. Bear legends like Walter Payton and Brian Urlacher adorn the walls, which greatly enhances the charm of this hidden gem. The staff was both welcoming and warm and very knowledgeable about the menu.
Alright, folks, enough of the pleasantries. Let’s talk about the food. The brisket is certified Black Angus, slow smoked in cherry and oak wood for approximately 12 hours. Pitmaster Riggins would not disclose his secret spice rub (darn it). The brisket is so delicate and juicy that it pulls apart with the slightest tug. We have never had a more tender brisket. The smoke from the cherry and oak kisses this succulent piece of meat just right. The Bear Down barbecue sauce is perfectly tangy, not too sweet and compliments the meat the way a diamond compliments the finger of a beautiful woman. The one downside to the brisket is that it is a menu item on SATURDAYS ONLY. Luckily, everything else is on the menu Tuesday thru Saturday.
Up next is the smoked turkey breast, which is injected with a poultry marinade and slow smoked ‘til tender. Anytime you can cut through turkey breast with a plastic knife like a hot knife through butter, you have something special on your hands. The turkey is perfectly smoked, and the one-half pound portion size is just right for making tummies happy and satisfied. We tried a side of their Cowboy Beans, which is a 5-bean combination of black, kidney, great northern, pinto, and baked beans. The Cowboy Beans also have green peppers, red onions, Bear Down barbecue sauce and secret spices. This dish isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill baked beans. The 5-bean combination makes this dish very hearty, and the barbecue sauce adds a rich depth of flavor. An extra bonus is that this 5-bean delight is a great choice for vegetarians.
Rounding everything out was the smoked chopped chicken sandwich. The sandwich consists of chicken thighs soaked in a poultry marinade and is slow smoked to perfection. The chopped thighs are piled HIGH on a bun with Bear Down barbecue sauce. We added their creamy coleslaw to the party, and what a messy delight we devoured. You are definitely going to need a napkin for this yummy creation; but, that’s okay, messy never tasted so good! Please don’t wear white while eating this sandwich, you will definitely be sorry.
For excellent barbecue at reasonable prices, you have to try Bear Down Barbecue & Catering Co. Our one disappointment is that Bear Down offers no dessert options on their menu. (I guess we had to find something wrong). Other than that, everything else scored a touchdown. The food was so good we wanted to do the Cha Cha Slide, “Everybody clap your hands!” The service was beyond reproach, and we will be making this a regular stop whenever we have a taste for barbecue.
Other menu options include: polish sausage, St. Louis style spare ribs, rib tips, pulled pork sandwiches, and much more. Even Green Bay Packer fans are encouraged to try this Chicagoland specialty, some of the best smoked barbecue money can buy. Don’t fumble the ball by overlooking this place, you will truly be missing out.
The way we rank restaurants is based on kisses (one thru four). One…two…three…four being the best. Bear Down Barbecue & Catering Co. gets 4 smackin’ kisses! Check out the video of our review at https://youtu.be/2PUJCNaHk-I.
We are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 25 years. We are also home cooks that believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review black owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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