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Chicago Williams BBQ What's beef?

Wednesday, October 19 2022
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Opening Times

Daily: 5:00pm - midnight

Kitchen closes at 11:00pm

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Chicago Williams Berlin
Marburger Straße 16
10789 Berlin-Charlottenburg
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+49 30 280 424 23
.chicagowilliamsbbq.de

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Fire and meat have always connected people. Barbecuing is at the core of numerous food cultures around the world and an essential gathering - and yet it means something completely different in every culture, has its own rules and finesses. While on this side of the globe mainly sausages and neck steak go on the kettle grill, in the USA, there's the smoker and a BBQ culture all of its own. And if you go looking for it in Berlin, you can hardly get past Chicago Williams BBQ.

Since 2012, Nawid Samawat has been serving American BBQ in his US-inspired restaurant, which is unparalleled in Berlin, and was even one of the first. When he opened Chicago Williams BBQ in Berlin Mitte, hardly anyone in this country had heard of pulled pork. He discovered his love for American food when he visited his brother in New York: "I was in New York for a fortnight and twelve kilos, I always say," laughs the charming host, patting himself on the stomach. 

Yet the traditional US BBQ culture originates more in the south of the USA. In the southern states, it is not only a form of preparation but also an essential identity-forming element. In the meantime, however, you can also find numerous BBQ kitchens in classic African-American immigrant cities in the north, such as Chicago or New York City. What they all have in common is that you cannot compare an American smoker and a German kettle grill in any way - just in terms of their dimensions.

In contrast to grilling, classic BBQ favours large pieces with a lot of fat and connective tissue, such as pork shoulder or beef brisket, and cooks them for a long time at a lower temperature and with a lot of smoke. We only notice that there is surprisingly little smell of smoke and fire at Chicago Williams BBQ in Charlottenburg when Nawid tells us about his ingenious ventilation system, which also makes it possible to smock on site. This was impossible in the old location, so the smoker was outside. 

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While in the USA, depending on the region, it is almost like a religious conviction what belongs on the smoker, Nawid at Chicago Williams is not quite so serious about the location of his menu. The menu includes BBQ classics like pulled pork and beef brisket but also BBQ ribs, pastrami and BBQ chicken. Even vegans can be very happy here with aubergine and cauliflower, and every now and then, in keeping with Berlin's immigrant culture, there is also a merguez from the smoker.

Sample culture par excellence, which no one in Berlin will complain about anyway, especially when it comes together so deliciously on the table. We enjoy the BBQ plate for two and especially love the spicy BBQ ribs to lick our fingers over; especially recommended with some apple sauce. It "makes your mouth water," Nawid says truthfully. The Alabama White Sauce, on the other hand, goes perfectly with the smoky and super juicy BBQ chicken. The homemade vinegar-based Georgia-style BBQ sauce and the not-too-spicy but super tasty chilli sauce go perfectly with the pulled pork.

We enjoy classic, crunchy coleslaw and comforting mac & cheese with it. An excellent complement to all the meat and a true US-American soul food classic. Very fitting: Golden Era rap sounds from the speakers. Speaking of hip-hop: the wine list was penned by the Wine Damager, because Tony is a friend of Nawid. Nawid thinks that Chicago Williams is more of a beer and liquor shop, but if you want to drink wine here, you should also be able to have something special.

We think that fits like a glove, but today we still drink drinks like a Henny with ginger - especially remarkable as a grown-up slushie. There are a few hip-hop references throughout the shop, such as graffiti, tags and cartoon characters on the walls. All this meets a lot of dark wood and an open kitchen, where it's worth taking a seat and watching the guys in the kitchen grill ribs and brush them with delicious marinade or cut and serve juicy brisket. The latter, by the way, is also extraordinarily juicy and highly recommended, although not for calorie counters - but that's not what you come to an American BBQ for!

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