Melissa Elsmo

“I guess it is safe to say I have BBQ in my blood,” says Oak Park resident, Josh Darr of his natural inclination toward all things BBQ.

As a child, Darr remembers his grandfather smoking 3-4 briskets a day when he would visit his grandparents during his summer vacations. While Darr can’t remember the if the briskets were especially delicious, the ritual of smoking meat made an impression.

As an adult and operating almost on instinct, the classically trained painter and yoga studio manager, began experimenting with his own smoker after receiving a copy of Frankin BBQ: A Meat Smoking Manifesto. Darr always finds inspiration whether he is looking at a canvas or a kitchen and began creating his own unique brand of BBQ after learning the basics. He began affectionately referring to his smoked meats as Darr-B-Q or DBQ, for short. The name stuck.

“Smoking meats quickly became more than just a hobby, I am too OCD for that;” laughs Darr earnestly, “it was an obsession in no time.”

Friends, family and neighbors benefited from his propensity to smoke large slabs of meat whip up scratch-made sauce. Darr began sharing his Darr-B-Q and thoughtful sides at local block parties and almost immediately started fielding requests to cook for parties around town. Word traveled quickly and before long he had a steady stream of clients looking to get their hands on some DBQ.

Suddenly Darr had a business growing from his love of brisket.

Darr’s approach to BBQ is based in creativity and his desire to fuse his father’s Texas roots with his mother’s Panamanian heritage; the result is an American style BBQ with a Latin flair. Look for DBQ coleslaw to have noticeable notes of cilantro and lime and fusion-focused menu items like brisket empanadas. The pastry-wrapped empanadas feature a filling made of chopped smoked brisket mixed with tomato, annatto seeds, and olives.

Darr-B-Q’s 16-hour smoked brisket is the hallmark of Darr’s menu offerings; he has spent eight years perfecting his recipe and ultimately settled on smoking over a hickory wood base with the addition of apple and pecan wood in smaller amounts. The hickory gives Darr’s brisket a good hearty flavor, while the addition of apple and pecan wood bring sweetness to the finished product.

In addition to offering catering services, Darr-B-Q also offers a weekly dinner club. Hungry individuals or families are free to order for local delivery available between 4-6pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and pick up meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. DBQ Bento Boxes are popular and come with a choice of one or two meats with a choice of side for about $15.

“BBQ carries a level of nostalgia for most people:” says Darr, “and I am trying to integrate this southern cooking culture into my daily life so I can share it with others.” 

Darr is exploring the idea of using Kickstarter to help finance the opening of a little hole-in the-wall carryout focused BBQ joint in the near future. In the meantime, you can keep tabs or on all things DBQ or learn how to place an order by following them on Instagram and Facebook.

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