When we think of Chicago food festivals, our minds often go to the most famous: The Taste of Chicago. However, for meat lovers all over the city, it’s not the only option for prime cuts. Let’s talk about the food fests going on all over the city that awaken the carnivore in us all!, i.e., the Meat-centric Chicago Food Fests.
Chicago’s Meat-centric Food Fests
Chicago Taco & Tequila Fest
A pairing fit for any foodie: tacos & tequila. The Chicago Taco & Tequila Fest features over 20 tequilas to sip, mix, or shoot. Alongside these delightful adult beverages will be exotic tacos that go beyond your basic carne asada and al pastor. If you want to push the boundaries of the kinds of fillings a tortilla can hold while sipping some of the best tequila available today, this fest is right for you.
Old Irving Park Beer & BBQ Challenge
Here’s some enticement: “It’s simple. We pair talented brewers & pitmasters from the local area to deliver the ultimate beer & BBQ pairing. You sample BBQ, taste some craft beer, and you vote on the best pairing of the two.”
Do you really need any more convincing? Our advice: add this event to the top of your summer food fest list.
Roscoe Village Burger Fest
Bring out the whole family for an American classic: the burger. There are over 20 vendors showcasing their best burger bites at the Roscoe Village Burger Fest. Besides burgers, there are always two stages worth of musical entertainment, a children’s activity area, and a burger contest. Donations are welcome and benefit the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce.
The name says it all… RIBS. This festival is all about ribs. We’re talking 50,000 pounds of meat. Ribfest Chicago is growing every year, too. Even though there are vegan and gluten-free options available for attendees, the most discerning meat connoisseurs will find the selection outstanding.
Past vendors include Real Urban Barbecue, BBQ Supply Co., BBQ King Smokehouse, Base Hit Grilling, Old Crow Smokehouse, Carolyn’s Cooking and more! While you’re eating, listen to some local rock n’ roll bands.
Taste of Randolph Street
This neighborhood food festival celebrates all things culinary and music. Over a dozen restaurants bring their A-games at the Taste of Randolph Street. Restaurants that have participated in the past include Alhambra Palace, Backdoor Saloon, Belly Q, La Sardine, and Mad Social.
Your food adventure features a live musical soundtrack from a curated list of popular up-and-comers.
Chicago Jerk Festival
This fairly new fest is celebrating its 2nd year in 2019 at Chicago’s Washington Park. Celebrate all things Caribbean including food, music and dancing at Chicago Jerk Fest!
Cuisine includes amazing jerk meat and seafood dishes grilled to perfection. This isn’t your papa’s BBQ. Don’t miss this unique cultural experience.
Are wings more your thing? Then head over to St. Michaels in Old Town for their annual WingOut Fest. This is literally a chicken wing block party. “From Classic Buffalo, Honey Chili, Jerk, Wood Smoked, Umami, Spicy Garlic, Buffalo Blue, Asian Ginger, Southern BBQ, Habanero Hot and more… over 20 varieties will be represented in all for patrons to indulge in.”
Admission comes with a beverage, UNLIMITED wing samples (you read right), and live music.
You can expect amazing wings from the likes of Aunty Joy’s Jamaican Kitchen, Base Hit BBQ, The Wild Hare, Old Grounds Social, and many more.
BBQ Brunch | Windy City Smokeout
If BBQ is your thing… this is one June event you can’t miss. The best pitmasters from all over the US sling the most finger-licking snacks available. Here are just some of this events food vendors:
- Smoque BBQ – Chicago, IL
- Myron Mixon – Unadilla, GA
- Salt Lick BBQ – Driftwood, TX
- Ubons BBQ – Yazoo City, MS
- Peg Leg Porker – Nashville, TN
This American BBQ fest menu will be full of the best hits. We’re talking brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and burnt ends. There will be a ton of breweries there to wash down all the Q. Come hungry!
Pilsen Food Truck Social
Pilsen is an outstanding neighborhood with a diverse community. Their Food Truck Social is equally diverse. The fest usually takes place in early June on 18th Street, which is the heart of this thriving neighborhood. Among the local meaty vendors are Honky Tonk BBQ, La Cebollita Grill, and Whadda Jerk. Visitors can buy a $20 sampler ticket good for 6 food truck samples. These are LIMITED, so if you want to try everything, don’t miss your chance. Of course, you can pay cash for full-size orders.
Come for the food but stay for the culture. Attendees are encouraged to visit local shops, bodegas, and panaderias (say yes to dessert).
Tacos y Tamales Festival
The Pilsen neighborhood brings it AGAIN for their Tacos y Tamales Festival. This delightful, different fest is hosted by Modelo USA, The Frida Kahlo Community Organization, and Green Curtain Events. Together, they’ve come together to organize what they term a “mostly-authentic” taco and tamale experience. Here’s what else you can expect:
- Homemade tortillas
- Tons of vendors
- Modelo beer garden
- Tequila tasting
- Local art exhibits
- The best tortillas and tamales in Chicago
If you’re brave enough to venture outside of the city, this is the reason to do it. In 2019, a new festival is beginning at the Chicagoland Motor Speedway. The BBQ Smokedown will take place during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
This serious BBQ challenge will feature a Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctioned competition for pork, chicken and brisket. In addition to that will be competitions for burgers, wings and bacon. Whoa. We’re in meat heaven!
And eating isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing at the BBQ Smokedown. Attendees are encouraged to learn to cook BBQ at one of their grilling classes and demos.
We hope, we have inspired you with the most thought after Chicago Meat-centric food fests and wetted you appetite. We are proud to support the Chicago festival scene as Chicago’s trusted wholesale meat purveyor for over 60 years.