Friday, April 3, 2009

Ranking KC BBQ


This may be my most controversial post on Reepicheep to date, I hope not to offend or lose readers as a result...

Barbecue is an art, not just a method for cooking meat. Barbecue is not "barbecuing". Barbecue is the word used to describe the whole complex of activities associated with smoking and eating various meats. In simple terms, barbecue is the art of smoking meat a certain way with particular agents and marrying the meat with the right rubs and sauces during the process. Some might have slightly differing definitions, but I have captured the essence.

So, being in a city that boasts some of the finest Barbecue in the country, how would I rank local establishments? I have certainly not been to every Barbecue restaurant in KC so this list is a work in progress (painstaking work!). Right now here are my top 10 BBQ establishments in the greater KC area. I am basing this list solely on the meat/sauce relationship, the fact that Jack Stack has the best baked beans doesn't help it's ranking, though it might make me go there over some more highly ranked establishments. Man those beans are good...


TOP TEN BARBECUE ESTABLISHMENTS IN KANSAS CITY (descending order)


10. Zarda









13 comments:

Rick Calohan said...

I’m not really a ‘saucy guy’ I think I have been to six of the ten on your list however I did not see K C Masterpiece “burnt ends” on your list. The original Bryant’s on Brooklyn out of sentimentality is my favorite. Gates of course has the best sauce, but if you are going to have the best of both worlds go to Jack Stack any day of the week. Very brave of you mouse to rank your listings I am going to play it safe with just three.

Hammons said...

Gates!!!!??

Anonymous said...

I'm not much on BBQ, but if the sauce is sweet "it ain't good", if the sauce is hot and spicy, it is probably pretty good. Famous Daves is my favorite.
Norma

Zach said...

Excellent work! I guess Gates and Haywards are next on my list to try.

Michael Lockridge said...

Thanks for the list! When I have opportunity to be in your area it will prove helpful. I am always up for a bit of barbecue exploration!

How did the KC/Carolina style debate go? I don't watch a lot of television, but when I do I watch a lot of travel and food shows. The four primary barbecue styles have been a subject of several shows, and inspires my urge to travel and eat.

I love to travel, and am quite a fan of eating. Eventually I want to sample the styles of barbecue in their home regions.

Mike

Reepicheep said...

Michael, if you are ever in the KC area, let me know. I'll treat you to the one of your choice on this list.

Frontier Forest said...

Jack's Stack Rules! Besides he advertises on Christian radio. Don’t know where Jack stands with the Lord, but I do have a friend who works at the Crown Center, Freight House location and Richard tells me that Jack’s sons are “very religious.” From that vague comment you can guess that my friend Richard probably isn’t a believer. But my favorite sauce by far is “Author Bryant’s Original.”

Malcolm said...

I have recently become an Oklahoma Joe's convert. I think the depth of their quality is the reason. While you go to one place for ribs and another for beef, all of them are good to very good at OJ's. To me pork ribs, not baby backs, should be the standard and OJ's certainly stand up well. However, I think there is one place where they are better that is not on the list. Brobeck's has the best ribs in town. They are just about perfect and are so good I rarely put sauce on them. Doug Brobeck used to own the Stilwell BBQ and just opened up about a year and a half ago in this location. They are just east of Roe at about
106th in an old Dairy Queen. Pulled pork and burnt ends are very good. His sides are just ok. Try his mustard sauce too.

Reepicheep said...

I just wish it was "Kansas Joe's" instead of "Oklahoma"...with all do respect.

Brian T. Johnson said...

Gates, indeed.

I always order (in a casual, raised voice) the "beef on bread on bun, lean as, to stay, please!"

Gates, like many BBQ places, will work with you on something like that - getting it a little leaner that is, and on sandwich slices instead of a bun.

Solid analysis, here, Tony.

Jake Hill said...

I'm just getting around to reading this so sorry for the delay. I'm going to have to disagree with your top choice - I have never been a Gates fan.

There is just one that you need to try - or maybe you have tried and have neglected to place on the list - K&M BBQ, in Spring Hill. Great sandwiches and cheap.

Hough said...

I gotta say Big Bubba's burt ends were great, but Bubba's has gone the way of the way of the classy New Yorker. Gone for good. That being said Haywards burnt ends are pretty tasty too.

Bill said...

Well, being a Texan and having tried Bar B Que all over, I must sa KC has ver good BBQ. Arthur Bryant's is very good and a novelty, but the sauce takes awhile getting use to. Loved Hawards open face sandwich and burnt ends, although recently the quality was not there. Jack Stack has the best beans no doubt. Never got use to Gates, not the right taste to me.