Chicago’s Best Comfort Food: Canteen Restaurant


(calm guitar music) – For most people, smoke
signals an emergency. Here on Chicago’s Best,
smoke signals comfort, and Linda and Clark
will tell you, if you follow those
billows in Barrington, they’ll lead you
directly to the Canteen, where they’ve been making people feel comfortable since 1947. Cam, did we do this? (upbeat instrumental music) Over 50 years,
Canteen’s been here? – Like, 70 years. – Is this all the
original interior, and– – No, it’s not. The planes are still here. After World War II,
pilots came back, and somebody put the plane
up, and they kept coming, so they all belong to customers. – I like the planes
that are hanging. It’s a throwback
to maybe the 40s. A little bit of a diner feel. You walk in and
you just feel like it’s welcoming right away. – Oh, just the feel. I mean, look around. (calm guitar music) – There is a smoker
that sits alongside the exterior of this building
which is why we’re here, so what meats do you guys
smoke on a regular basis? – We do a brisket, Boston Butts. – Boston Butts, by the way,
that turns into pulled pork. – We do the (mumbles). – And also, from time to time, you guys do a whole pig
roast, as well, on weekends. – Oh, but of course. – Tell me about your brisket. – We keep it simple. We buy good meat. We use our own rub. We smoke it for 18 hours,
and it’s just that simple – It’s a science. There’s a reason they’re
called pitmasters when they barbecue. You need to get
that timing right, the temperature has to be right, otherwise you could ruin it. – You can because every
piece of meat is different. – I love the brisket here. I come in for brisket
about once a week. – Love the smoked meat. Love the brisket. The rub’s great. – Moist, flavorful, excellent. The best I’ve had. – What makes you Chicago’s
Best for comfort food? – Our food. We do brisket. We do all the smoked meats. We also do an amazing
Avgolemono soup. – I don’t know.
– It’s a great soup. – It sounds like a
medicine that you take– – Absolutely, it is.
– With a screen that says– – It works.
– May cause nausea. Don’t drive.
– It makes everything good. – Don’t operate machinery. – No, no, no, it’s
really amazing. – What is it called again? – Avgolemono. – Okay, take two of
those twice a day. (calm guitar music) This is Miguel. He’s the chef here,
and this is the soup he was telling me about. I’ve gotta take
this twice a day? – Yeah. – Okay. So these are our ingredients
for our special dry rub here. – Yeah. – [Elliott] So. – [Miguel] Brown
sugar, seasoned salt. – [Elliott] And again,
the whole thing? – Yeah. Paprika.
– That’s a lot of paprika. – [Miguel] Yeah. – [Elliott] All
of that in there? – [Miguel] Yeah. – Bringing the spice
to our brisket. – Garlic powder,
black pepper, oregano. – Can’t have a Greek owner smoking meats
without some oregano. – [Miguel] Basil. – [Elliott] Basil. – [Miguel] Coffee. – Wow. Just to give you
that perk, wake up, and then spoon it? – [Miguel] Yeah, you mix it. – You’re a man of
few words, Miguel. (Miguel laughs) Our dry rub is mixed. Can I apply a dry rub? It’s over there. All right. That’s a piece of meat. Beautiful piece of beef. We need to trim the fat? – [Miguel] Yeah, a little bit. (upbeat guitar music) – And we just sprinkle
it on the top. – Yeah. A little massaging. – Oh, yeah. All right. (upbeat guitar music) I’m gonna see Sam outside. The smoker’s this way? I guess I just follow
the smoke, right? – Yeah. – Okay. (upbeat jazz music) Waiting for the brisket to
cook up 18 hours, right? – We’ll figure
it’s almost ready. – Oh my good God. People say those that
stand around doing nothing get nothing accomplished. That’s what can happen. Brisket. – Oh, man. – Too thick? – Yeah, the wrong way. – I’m going the wrong way? – Yeah. You wanna see? You’ve gotta go
against the grain. – Oh, okay. – Okay? Look at that. – You carry on carving. See that steam? See that wobbly little fat? You see that bark? (upbeat guitar music) Look at this. – What? The hands of a man
who smokes meat. – Both of them.
– Both of them, yeah. For me, I mean, I don’t, are you left handed
or right handed? – Left, no, right handed. – You’re right handed, okay.
– So this one, yeah. – Screw this hand.
– Yeah. – Get this hand out of the way. This is the hand of a
pitmaster, right here. (Sam laughs) You come into this place,
you shake this hand. The reality is, this
man is a pitmaster. This is beautiful
smoked brisket. The smoke hits you first. The dry rub, which I thought had a ton of paprika
and coffee in there, but it’s the subtlety
that breaks down after it’s been in that smoker. – It’s all pretty good, yeah. – Beautifully smoked. It melts in your mouth. It’s the perfection
of good brisket, but it’s also the
curse of good brisket because it’s gone. That mouthful is gone. Smoked meats, mac and
cheese, fried chips, is this a meal, or is this
a last man’s dying request? – If you had to have a last
meal, this would be it, right? – Are you threatening me? – Then it will be a threat. – We’ll talk about it. (upbeat guitar music)

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