McGonigle’s Market, a Ward Parkway institution since 1951, has always dabbled in smoked meats.
But it was fairly recently, about 10 years ago, that owner Mike McGonigle gave in to customer requests to add smoked meat sandwiches to the menu. Up to then, the family smokers were mainly used for slabs of ribs.
So they did, and when they pulled the smokers around to the front parking lot, the resulting ’cue-scented clouds wafting across the parkway caused drivers to pull over in droves. This year, from April through October alone, McGonigle’s sold 11,000 smoked brisket sandwiches, the most popular item on the BBQ menu. The numbers for the other sandwiches — pulled pork, beef/pork combo and house-made Italian sausage — were only slightly less impressive.
Lunchtime ’cue traffic drops way off in November, McGonigle said, when the white trailer out front gets mothballed for the winter. But the trailer is only for serving orders; the smoking operation continues all winter.
You can get all five of the basic barbecue sandwiches for $5.99 every day. In addition, a burnt-end sandwich joins the lineup Thursdays through Saturdays. On Wednesdays, the brisket, pulled pork and Italian sausage versions are just $4.99.
The brisket is my favorite: thin ribbons of smoked beef with a perfect cherry red smoke ring around the edges, piled high on a big soft bun. It comes with your choice of sweet or spicy sauce — the sweet is the traditional family specialty.
The beauty of getting your ’cue sandwich at McGonigle’s is you have a whole local-focused grocery store from which to buy sides, from deli salads to gourmet potato chips to artisanal soda pop.McGonigle’s Market
1307 W. 79th St.816-444-4720 McGonigles.com, Facebook and Twitter
Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday