Smile Politely

Sooie Bros Bar-B-Que Joint has great barbecue and amazing bourbon pecan cheesecake

A cropped image of wings and fries from Sooie Bros Bar-B-Que Joint. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

It’s not bragging if you can back it up. –Muhammad Ali

Sooie Bros. calls their BBQ the “Best Damn BBQ Ever!!”

The sign outside of Sooie Bros Bar-B-Que Joint faces Kirby Avenue in Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

Barbecue is like chili, gumbo, or your mom’s potato salad: everyone thinks they make the best. Every region in the county thinks they have the best version. There is nothing wrong with confidence. In fact, I’ll state right here that no one makes a better bowl of Cap-n-Crunch cereal than me; it’s the way that I pour the milk. I keep it a secret, but maybe I’ll post on YouTube someday. So when a place says they have the “Best Damn BBQ Ever!!”, I believe they have the food to back it up. After all, they used two explanation points! This past week, we visited Sooie Bros. Bar-B-Que Joint and found they do indeed have the food to back up the talk.

My wife’s Uncle Wayne was a fry aficionado. He loved fries so much he saved them until the end of his
meal for his “dessert.” To him, fries were to be treated like the finest steaks, eaten with absolutely no ketchup. Whenever my wife and I put ketchup on our fries, he would just shake his head in disapproval. In his opinion, if a fry was made and seasoned properly, why ruin it? The reason for my story is that you will not find ketchup for your fries at Sooie Bros. Their fries are wonderfully seasoned that ketchup is not necessary. They will accommodate you if you want some barbecue sauce with your fries. I did enjoy their fries by themselves, but I am such a barbecue sauce freak, and I did enjoy dipping them in their wonderful sauce.

A platter of sauced wings and fries is on a table for dine in at Sooie Bros Bar-B-Que Joint in Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

My wife ordered three wings with fries ($8.99). I know what you are thinking; only three wings? Well, these are not the wings you are picturing in your head. These are three full-sized wings. The only time I have had wings this big was in Kansas City at a place called The Peanut. These were damn near turkey-sized wings. Size doesn’t matter if the taste isn’t there, and these wings delivered. They came dressed in their well-balanced barbecue sauce and were wonderfully tender and easy to eat. The smoke level was on point.

If you want to have them as an appetizer, I suggest sharing them — or you may need to take your entrée home.

A platter of brisket with a side of sauce, fries, toast, beans, coleslaw, and cornbread muffin are on a table for dine in at Sooie Bros Bar-B-Que Joint. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

I chose the beef brisket meal ($17) which had eight ounces of brisket, slaw, beans, fries, and bread. Brisket can be difficult to do well consistently, so it is a real treat to enjoy it from someone who knows what they are doing. This brisket had a wonderful flavor, and most important to me was that it was fork tender. I enjoyed it both with and without sauce. The fact that it came with slaw, beans, fries, and bread made it a great value.

Carl Busch

Our son ordered the pulled pork sandwich with fries ($6.99). The pulled pork was a generous serving, and the large bun held up to make a great sandwich. The bun was fluffy soft. Their sauce was the star of this sandwich. It had a great balance between tangy and sweet — and was also great to dip fries in should you choose.

After all that great savory food, we needed something sweet to end our meal. Yes, dessert is a need! I’m not going to be on my deathbed and think, “Man, I’m glad I passed on that pie last week.” We did get a bit crazy and ordered two: the banana pudding cup and bourbon butter pecan cheesecake.

A plastic cup has banana pudding with whipped cream topped with a vanilla wafer cookie. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

The banana pudding cup ($4.75) had a wonderful custard with large pieces of banana, and (my favorite!) vanilla wafers. It was topped off with whipped cream. This dessert was rich, creamy, and refreshing. It had fruit in it, so tell ourselves we’re getting that fruit serving in for our daily food pyramid.

A pecan bourbon cheesecake has a caramel sauce with chopped pecans inside a white styrofoam container. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

How can I not order something called a bourbon butter pecan cheesecake? I mean, that is decadence unleashed! The cheesecake ($4.89) on its own was wonderful. It was creamier and lighter than most cheesecakes, which I found to be profoundly unique. The graham cracker crust had great flavor and texture. Then, add this bourbon butter pecan sauce with pecan pieces? That puts this dessert over the top. The sauce was buttery, sweet, and salty. I would order a bowl of the sauce and eat it like soup if they offered it.

When you get the chance, give this new restaurant a try. Their menu is so diverse and has many unique items that you won’t run out of things to try. Or, if you prefer the traditional BBQ fare, they have you covered. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. We had a lot of questions for the lady working at the front counter, and she gladly answered them all. It was refreshing to be at a place where the staff know how everything is made and what makes it unique.

The front entrance of Sooie Bros Bar-B-Que Joint at the new location in Champaign. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

I have the sloppy Sooie and the Sooie double burger on my list to try in the near future.

Sooie Bros. Bar-B-Que Joint
103 W Kirby Ave
T-Th 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Su noon to 6 p.m.

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