Here, some of the artists and pit masters from the Windy City Smokeout’s lineup share their best cures for an ailing heart (many of which involve bourbon).

By Justine Sterling
Updated May 23, 2017
Scott Roberts

From July 10-12, Chicago is going to get a lot more country. The Windy City Smokeout will fill the city with delicious scents of meaty BBQ from expert pit masters and melodious music from top country stars. While everyone at the incredible event is sure to have a killer time (how could you not with constant supply of craft brews and sticky barbecued ribs?), the fest’s musical entertainment is sure to include a few songs about heartbreak—we are talking country music after all. Here, some of the artists and pit masters from the Smokeout’s lineup share their best cures for an ailing heart (many of which involve bourbon).

Musician: Chris Stapleton
Heartbreak Cure: Bourbon—preferably Single Barrel Colonel E.H. Taylor with ice. “That’s my recipe for curing a broken heart,” he says. “It’s not hard to find in any city.”

Pit Master: Scott Roberts, The Salt Lick; Round Rock, Austin, and Driftwood, TX
Heartbreak Cure: Grease. “The only true cure for a broken heart is good grease,” he says. “I’d go with chicken-fried steak and a side of chili cheese fries at the Hays City Store Cage in Driftwood, Texas. Of course, I only speculate as no woman has ever broken this heart.”

Pit Master: Charlie McKenna, Lillie’s Q; Chicago
Heartbreak Cure: Burgers, bourbon and ice cream. “I think when you have a broken heart it’s a lot like having a hangover,” he says. “You have a turning stomach, body aches, and you typically are just not feeling that great. So, it’s a perfect time to be gluttonous! I like to focus on the three most important healers, which are fatty foods, bourbon and dessert. First, I hit Au Cheval in Chicago for their burger with thick bacon, then move on to Old Fashioneds made with Eagle Rare bourbon, and then top it off with a couple pints of Haagen Daz coffee.”

Musician: Will Hoge
Heartbreak Cure: Ice cream. “Any will do,” he says. But when he’s home in Nashville, he opts for a scoop or two from Bobbie’s Dairy Dip.

Pit Master: Doug Psaltis, Bub City; Chicago
Heartbreak Cure: Ribs, bourbon and an ice cream sundae. “Nothing I recommend more for curing a broken heart than a rack of ribs, a bottle of bourbon—my favorite is Four Roses Cask Strength—and an ice cream sundae made with Ben & Jerry’s and topped with peanut butter and whipped cream,” he says.

Pit Master: Leslie Roark Scott, Ubons; Yazoo City, MS
Heartbreak Cure: Bloody Marys and cheesestraws. “In the hot and humid Mississippi summertime heartache seems even worse,” she says. “To battle the hurt and heat I follow Southern tradition: I take to my front porch with an Ubons Bloody Mary and Sriracha Cheesestraws from the Mississippi Cheesestraw Factory. Nothing heals a broken heart like the front porch, a cool breeze, a Bloody Mary and cheesestraws.”

Musician: Brady Black, Randy Rogers Band
Heartbreak Cure: Brisket, whiskey and bacon. “I would smoke a brisket for 12 hours, kill a few bottles of Jack Daniel’s and listen to Hank Williams on repeat,” he says. “And bacon. Always bacon.

Pit Master: Leland Avellino, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que; Multiple Locations
Heartbreak Cure: Ramen. “I feel like nothing warms the heart (or soul) more than a nice bowl of ramen,” he says. “My choice is a bowl of pork neck ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City.”

Pit Master: Lee Ann Whippen, Chicago Q; Chicago
Heartbreak Cure: Pie. “My Nana Tabb’s Own Design Pie is the perfect cure for just about anything,” she says. “I eat it whenever I have a broken heart or am just down in the dumps. It has the perfect combination of custard, semisweet chocolate and meringue and brings back happy childhood memories.”