The summer is coming to a close, but barbecue season is still going strong. So this week our Patch friends sent me off to pig out and find the best pulled pork sandwich. We tried Jake's (at Oak Forest Bowl), Nick's Barbecue in Tinley Park, and The Patio in Orland Park.
This is actually a restaurant and catering business located at Oak Forest Bowl. I didn't know what to expect here because I usually just bowl at the bowling alley. At first bite, I realized that this restaurant could probably stand on its own. Great toasted bun and a sweet, smoky flavor to the sauce. There was a little less meat on this one, so some bites were lost to the bun. The meat was pulled into really small pieces so I definitely liked that.
Thumbs Up: Quality overall flavor, great bun.
Thumbs Down: Could use more meat
A contestant once before in our ribs showdown, I already knew Nick's had some good barbecue. I ordered my pulled pork and the first thing i noticed was how heavy the bag was—this thing was huge. There was a lot of pork and the pulled pieces were bigger than I'm used to. The texture was tender, not too chewy. I hate biting into a fatty piece in a sandwich. The barbecue was sweeter and had just a little tang. The bun worked well to soak up some of the sauce but thankfully didn't fall apart.
Thumbs Up: Good sauce, tender meat
Thumbs Down: Almost too much meat, big pieces.
A previous winner in our ribs challenge, I was really excited to get back here and try another offering. I noticed right away it wasn't as heavy as the sandwich at Nick's (a relief). I know I love their BBQ sauce and so I was a little disappointed to see they didn't put too much on the pulled pork. I did grab some extra sauce on the side, but judging by the amount they initially put on there it was a little bit dry. The flavor was fantastic and the meat was also very tender. Smaller chunks here for the most part, which makes for easier eating.
Thumbs Up: Great flavor, the right amount of pork
Thumbs Down: Had to add more sauce to bring it too its full potential
And the Top Pick for Pork Goes To:
After touring these three spots and sampling some great sandwiches, I’m declaring two things: one, the barbeque season is far from over; two, though it was a tough call, The Patio put the best pulled pork sandwich in front of me, so they get the blue ribbon in this week’s Chowdown Showdown.
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