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Inexplicably popular barbecue institution.

Our Review

It’s a mystery how Leon’s thrives, given the leathery ribs it serves. At 4:30 on a typical Sunday the smoker was cold and empty but a line had formed to collect desiccated slabs whose meat had overpinked, dried, and flaked like plastic ham. Leon’s process practically fossilizes the relatively fragile small-end slabs that are nevertheless foisted upon the unsuspecting. (If you insist on going, insist that you be shown your ribs before they're wrapped.) Whatever happens here it’s a little kinder to tips, perhaps because the meat is fattier, but this doesn’t explain the links, which also are dry and flavorless despite their generally coarse and fatty texture. It has been theorized that Leon’s omnipresence on the south side has lowered expectations in a volatile business where anyone can claim to be a pitmaster and shacks open and close regularly.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$

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