Smoke Signals

A local barbecue guru works the smoker at Barn & Co.

Last time we saw local barbecue guru Gary Wiviott, he was leisurely smoking lamb breast in his backyard.

Fast-forward a year to Barn & Company in Lincoln Park, where Wiviott is manning the smoker, spending long hours ensuring the new restaurant's 'cue meets his demanding standards.

Though he's no stranger to consulting, this is the first time Wiviott has been publicly linked to a barbecue joint. At Barn & Company, Wiviott is responsible for the meat; Bob Zrenner of Hubbard Inn handles the rest.

Wiviott cooks baby back ribs, chicken, pork shoulder, brisket and sausage in a pellet smoker fed with hickory. Post-smoke, the chicken, sausage and fantastically supple but chewy ribs take a turn on an Argentinean-style grill to crisp the exterior and caramelize the sauce, which is glazed on with a paintbrush.

Mikeska Texas sausage ($8), made by a Texas family that Wiviott refers to as "barbecue royalty," is a crisp-skinned joy, with a juicy, smoky interior made richer with a squirt of Wiviott's bourbon-molasses barbecue sauce. Squeeze the thinner and tangier seven-pepper sauce, made with citrus juices and Mexican chiles, onto 12-hour-smoked brisket ($11).

We'll return soon to try the coffee-and-bacon-spiked baked beans, Wiviott's one unsmoked contribution to the menu.

Barn & Company, 950 W. Wrightwood Ave.; 773-832-4000 or barnandcompany.com