Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ

New BBQ spots are all the rage right now in Chicago. It's not shocking that one of the prominent restaurant groups in town (Rockit Ranch) would throw their two cents into the pile. I liked the look and feel of Dragon immediately, long and narrow with wood bench tables throughout (semi communal), and a small but lively and interesting bar. The concept of fusing bbq with Asian influences is unique and something that is not in the city already - and an area that the Rockit world knows well. the menu has a nice layout, starters along the side, a few salads/soups, then the main meat section center stage with all cuts available (ribs, chicken, brisket, pork). There's a nice section of "Fix'ns" that have a mix of traditional bbq (mac n cheese, cornbread) as well as Asian (Chinese water spinach, grilled asparagus in soy and sriracha). And finally near the bottom is a "Sandos" section with a similar mix of American and Asian (BLT and grilled cheese vs. steam buns and Banh mi). I do like the fusion and think it works well if you enjoy a little taste bud confusion. I also tried the 'moonshine' - and I thought I was a whiskey drinker but maybe I'm not sophisticated enough to appreciate the real stuff. (It was clear and definitely packed a punch but without a lot of whiskey flavor - is that moonshine??)

When it comes to BBQ my main concern and interest is always the sauce - I assume if you open a bbq place you can smoke/cook meat. At Dragon Ranch I was more impressed with the meat flavor and presentation than the sauce, and is the main reason I wouldn't say this is one of the best bbq in the city. The four sauces are all good, but I kept trying to figure out which one/combo I wanted to use which means none of them really grabbed me. They have a mustard, a regular, a spicy and an Asian. Our main use for the sauce was on the combo platter (chicken, brisket and pulled pork) as well as a half order of ribs (tried it all!). The meats were all great and the only small gripe would be for a combo plate ($28), you get a lot of chicken, but not a lot of the other meats so you feel a little robbed. The ribs were well cooked with a nice rub, but they didn't have a lot of meat on the bone, and I'm a huge fan of big thick ribs so I can lather them with bbq sauce. Oh well. The cornbread side was delicious. Other items we ordered included some deviled eggs, mac n cheese, grilled vegetable tempura and grilled asparagus. The eggs were fine, tasty but nothing distinguishing, mac n cheese was a little 'soupy/saucy' for my liking but nice and I really liked both Asian style sides. The tempura vegetables were a great finger food because they were cut in small pieces and served with a awesome sweet spicy chili sauce. I also couldn't get enough of the asparagus in the sweet soy and sriracha with crisp rice noodles. We finished the meal with the homemade s'more which was ridiculous - two inch high marshmallow and quarter inch chocolate fudge on homemade crust.


I liked our meal at Dragon Ranch. It's a fun place with good vibe and a fun menu of traditional BBQ and a few Asian dishes to keep it interesting. I don't think it's the best BBQ, and I wish I liked the sauces more, but there is definitely no similar place in town to eat BBQ with that atmosphere and options.

Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ on Urbanspoon


  1. Barbecue places are really rampant here in Chicago. I was actually thinking of hiring several shopfitters to widen the my barbecue place. This is an awesome blog! Keep it up!

  2. This menu is a dream for my upcoming wedding! We're the couple who loves good food and a nice venue. This will surely lighten up the already good venue we have for our special day.

  3. We’ll surely include BBQ in our wedding menu! My fiance and I love to eat Asian dishes especially their BBQ recipes. I can't wait for our big day to come!

  4. The sauce is also my main concern when it comes to BBQ. I must agree that the sauce contributes to the food’s quality and presentation.

  5. I remember eating some good pasta and steak while driving into my parents' home. One of the reasons why I love traveling.

  6. Stopping by at a good resto makes our road trip more unforgettable. That’s why we see to it that we visit restos like this one before we finish our trip.

  7. Sounds like a barbecue party for me! Perhaps, I should try challenging my friends in bringing in their unique and delicious barbecue recipe with them when I hold a party next month. Looks like a good idea!

  8. These dishes look wonderful! I spent almost half an hour just by staring at these photos. The wings are mouth watering, I bet they are one of the best sellers.

  9. I have seen fantastic blogs and I have seen the other ones. This blog is pretty informative in many ways, I appreciate the information provide thank you.

  10. I love how the food was being presented! Especially the plates being used; I just wish I can find something like this one and add it to my kitchenware collection.

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