Pint and Plate is a food column from senior Jacob Trivedi detailing his journey through Chicago food and his own kitchen.
I shared my love for food when I was a first-year in San Francisco Hall by feeding forty-some odd peers Indian comfort food — Keema and Basmati rice. As they eagerly awaited to try something other than bland chicken nuggets and fries from the dining halls, they stretched throughout the room.
As I hoped, the food received endless smiles and eye rolls. From that point forward, I threw dinner parties and exposed my friends to new and interesting flavor combinations and cuisines their palates were lacking. If it isn’t clear, I’m an avid foodie and home cook.
With a few of my close friends, I decided to start a video series called MotherFuckingGroceries (MFG), which teaches people who have no cooking experience how to make tasty, shareable and fun meals on a college budget. We get progressively more drunk as the show goes on, showing everyone that even an inebriated college student can cook for a crowd. It’s still a work in progress, and we hope to publish our first video soon.
I joke all the time that one day I’ll retire and open a small cafe where young, broke patrons can explore foods from around the world. The more I joke, the more I realize this dream can truly become a reality and it would bring people from all walks of life closer together through my favorite thing — food.
Now, enough about me and my chummy dreams, let’s get to the meat and potatoes.
Tucked away in an alleyway within the West Loop is one of Chicago’s hidden gems, “Green Street Smoked Meats” (112 N. Green St.), near the Morgan Green Line stop.
From the moment I stepped into the alley, my nose was hit with smoke, slow-cooked brisket and lager beer. As I wandered into the dimly lit barbeque pit, my inner Southerner was drooling, and my stomach growled waiting to devour the savory meal that laid ahead. For those craving true back-to-your-roots Texan style barbecue, Green Street Smoked Meats won’t disappoint.This meal brought me back to the summers I spent down in Austin, Texas with my cousins.
The atmosphere felt like an old-timey Western bar stocked with forty-ounce beers, but it also offered modern cocktails. I stuck to my college roots and grabbed a High Life from an ice bucket overflowing with beer bottles and made my way to the chopping block.
I can’t go to a barbecue joint without getting sliced brisket and baked beans, but I indulged and opted to get the Olly, which is a hot link sliced in half with chopped brisket on a brioche bun topped with coleslaw. Once I grabbed the restaurant’s homemade elote, I was set. I grabbed a seat by the bar, but tables are available for larger parties.
I lost myself in the meat. The brisket melted in my mouth while the elote cut through the meat with a kick of lime and cayenne. The Olly sandwich was the icing on the meat, and I satisfiability washed it down with an iced-cold High Life.
The infectious laughter combined with the humming music added Southern comfort to the meal. The smoke-filled room and lively chatter of strangers brought me back to simpler times.
Barbecue brings strangers together in ways unknown to the average Chicagoan. I found myself having conversations with patrons who seemed like old friends. I never felt rushed while eating. I felt at home.
Green Street Smoked Meats isn’t too expensive for college students looking for a quality meal. My endeavor cost me roughly $25 for about two pounds of meat, sides and a beer. They serve the barbecue sauce on the side and let the smoker and the quality of the meat shine through.
To check out the menu, estranged Texans and foodies alike can head over to www.greenstreetmeats.com/.