Rejoinder! The A.V. Club is all, "no you di-in't, Michael Nagrant" to the Ludicrously Prolific one's claim that Chicago has the best barbecue in America. "Nagrants arguments are based on one trip to Memphis," the Club points out, "where he may or may not have eaten at the best places in town." Burn!
And it continues: "Sure, we have great barbecue, but barbecue is inherently pretty great ... Do places like Honey 1 or Honky Tonk, which do exceptional work, mean that the Second City is doing it better than anywhere else, though?" Thanks to a strong analogy to Hot Doug's, where hot dog magic is worked on a level that far surpasses any other attempt, we're cottoning on: Chicago's barbecue scene is delicious, absolutely, and up-and-coming on a national level, to be sure. But folks don't talk about "Chicago barbecue" or even Chicago places doing other-city barbecue with the same wistful tones in which they refer to Doug's venison or foie gras or, well, Memphis Barbecue. Until then, are we even a national contender? Oh god, we just don't know who to believe.
Update: Nagrant replies to the reply back on Serious Eats, defending his position that the best of Chicago is better than the best of Memphis, and noting that A.V. Club writer Marah Eakin's admission that she hasn't eaten very much Chicago barbecue is akin to "a Catholic Priest writing a sex advice column." Double burn!