David Flom and Matt Moore, proprietors and co-owners of the new Southern Cut Barbecue, have hired America’s most famous pitmaster and barbecue expert to run the show: Celebrity Chef Lee Ann Whippen, star of TLC’s “BBQ Pitmasters.”
Located at 198 E. Delaware Place (previously the site of The Local), Southern Cut Barbecue is an elegant and intimate country restaurant that serves up authentic, Southern barbecue that is difficult (impossible) to find north of the Mason/Dixon. The menu reads like a What’s What of Whippen’s specialties: authentic, falling-off-the-bone, competition-winning ribs, savory pulled pork and brisket, tender chicken, honey mustard glazed salmon and flakey, piping chicken pot pie. Not to be forgotten is Whippen’s secret family recipe “pig powder,” a rub that gives her barbecue its distinctive flavor and also seasons the restaurant’s Pig Powder Potato Chips.
“Working in Chicago is so fun because Midwesterners just don’t know good barbecue, so I consider it my job to introduce them,” says Whippen. “When people tuck into a plate of real Southern barbecue for the first time… there’s just nothing like the expressions on their faces! It’s a life-changing moment, in my opinion.”
The menu also includes salads, burgers and sandwiches, Southern sides, and appetizers, including the signature Bar-B-Que Sundae (a pile of smoked meat, layered with baked beans, coleslaw, pickle, BBQ sauce) and Truffled Deviled Eggs with a grilled asparagus and crispy potato garnish.
“It has been thrilling to work with Chef Lee Ann to bring authentic Southern barbecue to Chicago,” says Flom. “She’s insistent on authenticity, so we smoke our own meats and stock the best bourbon. Southern Cut Barbecue is dramatically raising the bar on barbecue as we know it in the Midwest.”
Southern Cut Barbecue features a long bar to serve bourbon and microbrew lovers. Plus, a special counter with six seats is located just outside the door to the kitchen, where diners can interact with Chef Lee Ann.
Whippen is a nationally recognized barbecue pitmaster whose techniques and easy-going persona are rooted in her southern upbringing. She has won myriad barbecue contests, awards, achievements and championships, has opened and run several barbecue restaurants including Wood Chick’s BBQ and Chicago q, starred in the TLC reality show “BBQ Pitmasters,” and famously beat out Chef Bobby Flay in the Food Network’s 2009 “Pulled Pork Throwdown” with her signature pulled pork shoulder.