Hot!What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City?

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rneiner
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RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/11 08:53:05 (permalink)
It is kind of upscale but i realy like jack stack and usually go to the downtown location.you may want give it a try if you want a nice place to go one night. They also have one in the plaza which would be grest to see the Christmas lights.
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Davidsanders
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/20 19:27:20 (permalink)
buffetbuster
If I only had time for one bbq joint during a visit to KC, it would definitely be LC's.
 

I'm contemplating a trip to Kansas City maybe in March or April. You say if you have time for one bbq joint it would be LC's. What if you have two days, arriving in time for dinner, staying the next day, and leaving the day after, after lunch. I definitely want to try Stroud's for one meal. 
Also, if I drive home through St. Louis, what do you recommend, probably just one meal.
 
I'll most likely stop at Cozy Dog in Springfield on the way down, and possibly the way back.
 
David
 
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/20 20:33:47 (permalink)
My wife and I took a trip to Kansas City this past April and really enjoyed it:
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Royal-Treatment-a-visit-to-Kansas-City-m777742.aspx
 
Frankly, even if all we could eat were McDonald's and 7-11 rollerdogs we'd still go back just to stay at The Southmoreland.
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Davidsanders
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/20 20:59:13 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
My wife and I took a trip to Kansas City this past April and really enjoyed it:
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Royal-Treatment-a-visit-to-Kansas-City-m777742.aspx
 
Frankly, even if all we could eat were McDonald's and 7-11 rollerdogs we'd still go back just to stay at The Southmoreland.


By the way, which is the preferred Stroud's to go to?
#94
CNW
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/20 23:08:05 (permalink)
When it comes to BBQ in Kansas City you really can't go wrong. It may not be your preference, but bad BBQ places  don't stick around (Famous Dave's is an exception). You have LC's and Joe's Kansas City (Oklahoma Joes) that have been to best for the last 10 years or so. You have the up and  comers like Q39 and Slap BBQ that have opened up in the past year and have gotten great reviews. Then you have the traditional places like Arthur Bryant's, Gate's, and Jack Stack. I tend to spread the love around and go to many places. This is my current opinion
 
1. KC Joes has gone downhill some since the owners now have three stores to look after.
2. Arthur Bryant's original location has improved quite a bit within the last couple of years.
3. LC's has gotten slower and slower for the amount of business it does
4. I don't go to Gate's because I don't like being yelled at for my order before the door has closed.
5. Quick's closed their restaurant and their food truck just isn't the same.
6. Q39 is upscale and competes with Jack's Stack for the Fine Dining Crowd.
7. Hayward's is under new management and has improved immensely within the last year.
8. All the BBQ restaurants put out a superior product during off-peak hours.
 
All this said, at this time I would choose Slap BBQ over LC's for Burnt Ends; Arthur Bryant's original location over Joe's KC for a beef sandwich; and Joe's KC if you have to have a Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sandwich. An important caveat is that Arthur Bryant's Sauce is not like the sweet Kansas City style that you are used to. It basically has no sugar in it and most people who bad mouth it aren't complaining about the quality of the smoked meat they are complaining about the sauce. My opinion is that if you are going to have more then one BBQ meal in Kansas City Arthur Bryant's is a stop you need to make because of the history. The best time to go for BBQ at any restaurant is between 1:30 and 4:00, you will get a better trimmed brisket; they will take a little more time on your order; and the sides will be better.
 
As far as Stroud's goes, from a food perspective there really isn't any difference between the North location and the Midtown location as far as I have been able to determine. From an atmosphere standpoint now that the original location no longer exists, the North location is the best especially if you are going during peak hours and have to wait outside. The Midtown location does have a larger bar that you can have a drink at than the North location. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
 
CNW
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Ketteract
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/21 07:24:12 (permalink)
CNW
1. KC Joes has gone downhill some since the owners now have three stores to look after.



How?
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BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/21 14:14:05 (permalink)
Just arrived in KC early this morning.  LC's, SLAP, and Stroud's are all on the agenda.  Q39 is on our radar, and based on CNW's comment above, Arthur Bryant's may be under consideration after years of avoidance.
 
I agree with most of CNW's assessments and would add this general observation in choosing the KC 'Que that's best for you:
There are two styles of BBQ in KC: white and black.  White 'Que tends to be less smoky and more lightly seasoned in terms of dry rub.  IMO, it tastes more like roasted meat than BBQ.  The black version has heavier smoke and more aggressive seasoning and better represents the BBQ "ideal" most folks have in mind.
 
As for KC Joe's, I've always thought it was overrated.  There's not a darned thing wrong with it, but it definitely falls into the "white 'Que" category, and I prefer the more assertive and intense flavors of "black 'Que" represented by Gates, LC's, Bryant's, and Hayward's.
 
CNW is absolutely right about not going wrong with whatever you pick.  KC is to BBQ what NOLA is to restaurants in general: If it ain't good it won't be around for long.
 
I'll let you know where we end up as our visit progresses over the next nine days.
 
Buddy
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/22 09:00:41 (permalink)
CNW-
Thanks so much for the thorough answer!  What are your thoughts on Snead's BBQ in Belton?
 
Buddy-
Very much looking for the report back on your findings.  Man, I love Kansas City!
 
I was at the Steelers-Chiefs game yesterday and everytime I saw someone in red, I wanted to stop them and chat about Kansas City food.
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BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/22 12:27:06 (permalink)
bb,
In answer to your questions:
1. Count me as a fan of Snead's.
2. I don't think the Chiefs fans were in a very chatty mood after yesterday's loss.  You may have avoided a pop in the nose by resisting that urge.
 
Also, to expound on CNW's comments regarding Arthur Bryant's sauce, the legend I heard was that Charlie Bryant (Arthur's brother) was adamant about people eating their 'Que without sauce.  The trouble was, his customers were just as insistent about wanting it.  So Charlie came up with the idea of making a sauce so mouth-puckeringly nasty that no one would want it and they'd quit asking.  He'd even make up a batch and leave it in the front window, fermenting for weeks in the hot sun.  I can attest to seeing a huge (maybe 10-20 gallons) glass jug sitting there, full of sauce, the first time I visited in 1979.
 
Unfortunately for the Bryant's, the ploy didn't work and people still insisted on using sauce on their BBQ.  And now, the joint is forever associated with the evil stuff.  They've even created a milder, sweeter version as an appeasement, but somehow, the original sauce has caught on.
 
I know my first experience with it was so unpleasant, it kept me away from the place for literally 20 years.  It was only at my Dad's insistence on a long ago business trip that we visited again.  I'm not sure what happened, but apparently my exposure to other KC 'Que in the interim altered my sensibilities and made me appreciate Bryant's sauce for what it was.  We were fans for a number of years until it seemed like the quality of the BBQ itself (not the sauce) was slipping.  CNW's assurances that things have improved is a happy note.  I hope it proves to be true.
 
Buddy
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lleechef
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/22 12:41:38 (permalink)
Buddy
Here's how it plays out.
bb:  You're from Kansas City......I love the food there!
chiefs fan:  Shut up.  I only eat at McDonalds and Burger King and we just lost so beat it!
 
Oh well, you can't win them all.
CNW
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/22 22:21:39 (permalink)
Actually, the original sauce came from Harry Perry the founder of Arthur Bryant's. He sold BBQ from 1908 until he died in 1940. Charlie Bryant took over and didn't change a thing. When Charlie died in 1946, Arthur took over and he was the one that toned down the sauce.
 
Regarding Buddy's comment regarding Black vs. White BBQ it really does come down to Black and White. African-American BBQ tends to be better smoked with the smoke ring being much more visible than BBQ served in Caucasian BBQ joints. On the other hand, the Caucasian BBQ sauces tend to be more peppery and African-American sauces tend to be sweeter. Another funny thing is that the long time successful African-American joints are on the Missouri side of the state line, and the long time Caucasian owned joints are on the Kansas side of the state line.
 
Regarding Snead's, the last time I was there was two or three years ago. At that time they were having some consistency issues due to the change over from Mrs. Snead to one of her grandsons. This happened just after the rumored sale of the building to be the new home of Stroud's didn't go through. It was widely thought that they had taken their eye off the ball and just phoned it in while waiting for the sale to go through. For some reason Snead's doesn't cross my mind very often so I really do need to make a follow up visit sometime soon. In my defense, I drive by or work within a couple miles of almost all of the BBQ joints everyday that are thought to be in the top tier except LC's and Snead's. I unfortunately don't make in over to the south or east side of the Metro area very often.
 
 
buffetbuster
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/23 03:45:38 (permalink)
Thanks for the reply about Snead's. I have only been there once since the change in ownership, but still found it as good as ever. It used to be feel so far away from the city, but the city is quickly creeping it's way out there.
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/23 19:58:06 (permalink)
A quick update, on our first couple of days of KC dining.
 
Nothing new, just revisiting some old favorites, but the groundwork is laid for something special tomorrow.  So far we've been to Aladdin's Cafe for Middle Eastern, a new Neopolitan Pizza Joint in St. Jo (of all places), Gates for a plate of Burnt Ends, and El Pollo Rey for amazing Mexican Grilled Chicken.
 
I went to Aladdin's for the first time a few years ago.  The food was outstanding, but the service was...weird.  I think the waitress might have been high.  Anyway, the food was so good it was worth giving them a second chance.  The food was still good during this visit, and the (different) waitress was sober and more in touch with her job.
 
Il Lazzarone is the new Pizza joint up north in St. Joseph.  It was a real gamble opening a place like that in St. Jo.  The locals have Domino's/Little Caesar tastes and budgets.  Il Lazzarone is a D.O.C. certified place featuring a white oak fired brick oven, built in Italy.  Individual 11" pies run $10-14.  They've had people get up and walk out once they see the menu and realize they're not gonna get a pie with cheese baked into the crust.
 
They serve a fine pie at a reasonable price in a hip atmosphere (not necessarily a plus in St. Jo), but their business has dropped off since they first opened.  A second location opening in a hotter neighborhood in Kansas City will likely do a lot better.
 
Gates was a last minute decision based on need and geographic proximity.  Gates isn't one of KC's best 'Que Joints, but their BBQ is reliable and serviceable and I've had much worse.  My main interest was in trying the mutton.  Naturally, the location we chose did not serve mutton, so we were "stuck" splitting a Burnt End sandwich, an order of Beans and a massive plate of Fries.
 
The Ends were pretty good, and Gates, IMO, serves the signature KC Barbecue Sauce.  Almost every Sauce in town owes thanks to Gates--they all carry some pieces of Gates recipe in their own.
 
We've been going to El Pollo Rey for about seven or eight years now.  I've spoken of them lovingly in other threads on this board.  There's nothing as beautiful or fragrant as a grill filled from edge to edge with Mexican marinated chicken, getting their char on over a roaring real wood fire.
 
The menu is simple: Half Chicken, Whole Chicken, or Buffalo Wings.  Every order comes with a side of beans and rice, a stack of warm, fresh made corn tortillas, and tangy pickled red onion.  Avocados are available for a little extra.  I don't know what's in that marinade, or what the chef's grilling secret is, but what they turn out is quite possibly the best chicken served in the KC metro area--and yes, I'm including Stroud's in that judgment.  In fact, if I could get El Pollo Rey's chicken with Stroud's Chicken Soup and sides, it would be the perfect Chicken Dinner.
 
The char on the Chicken is so flavorful and slightly crispy, almost like fried chicken, but it never touches a deep fryer.  Every piece is moist and juicy, even the drier white meat sections.  And the marinade imparts a wonderful exotic flavor that maximizes the chicken-y goodness.
 
After lunch at El Pollo Rey we stopped by KC's newest BBQ hot spot; SLAP'S (Squeal Like A Pig) BBQ.  They're a new breed of champion competition Pitmasters who opened up a brick and mortar joint and had instant success.  They only cook up so much 'Que per day, and when it's gone, they go home.
 
I got there long after they'd wrapped up for the day, but were still inside prepping for tomorrow's Christmas Eve madhouse. I walked in carrying several bottles of a certain Award Winning Bar-B-Que Sauce and quickly made friends.  We had a nice conversation that ended with them promising to hold some Ribs and Burnt Ends for us tomorrow, even if we got there after they'd "sold out".
 
Sounds like it could be a very Merry Christmas indeed for this nice Jewish boy!
 
Buddy
post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2014/12/23 20:26:19
ScreamingChicken
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/23 22:13:21 (permalink)
BuddyRoadhouse
I walked in carrying several bottles of a certain Award Winning Bar-B-Que Sauce and quickly made friends.
What a Krafty guy you are!
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/24 00:56:03 (permalink)
Must you be so hurtful?
 
Buddy
CNW
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/24 05:08:20 (permalink)
Latest update from people who have been to Q39 recently is that while the food is excellent, it is expensive and the service is poor.
 
CNW
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/24 08:00:36 (permalink)
Buddy,
Since you are quickly becoming an expert on Kansas City BBQ, I am hoping you will lead a "crawl" there in the spring of 2016.  Or heck maybe we can do this in the summer of 2015?!  We really need to plan a large scale Roadfood event for this upcoming summer. 
 
Danny
ScreamingChicken
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/24 10:50:24 (permalink)
BuddyRoadhouse
Must you be so hurtful?

It is the holiday season...
wanderingjew
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/24 13:12:19 (permalink)
LC's was my favorite and Snead's was a close second when I last visited KC 4 years ago.
A KC bbq crawl sounds good, I'm hoping for 2016 since 2015 is out for me.
rneiner
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/25 08:36:38 (permalink)
I go to KC a lot where is Slaps located.
CNW
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/25 08:58:00 (permalink)
5th and Central in KCK. Lunch only spot and frequently sells out before 1pm.
 
CNW
1bbqboy
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/25 11:55:47 (permalink)
Where the meat market used to be?
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/26 01:08:06 (permalink)
ChiBears15
Buddy,
Since you are quickly becoming an expert on Kansas City BBQ, I am hoping you will lead a "crawl" there in the spring of 2016.  Or heck maybe we can do this in the summer of 2015?!  We really need to plan a large scale Roadfood event for this upcoming summer. 
 
Danny


Sorry for the late reply Danny.  I actually typed up something the other night and accidentally deleted it moments before posting.  After my screams of rage and frustration died down, I was too exhausted to try and recreate my now vanished response.
 
A new day, a new effort.
 
First off, you should know I haven't quickly become anything in my life, let alone an expert on KC BBQ.  I'm a slow learner who responds well to frequent beatings and repetition.  My wife of 35 years is originally from this area and it's taken a good 75 to 80 visits for me to get a grip on the local 'Que scene.  Even then, constant additions and closings along with rises and falls in quality at various establishments (I'm lookin' at you Arthur Bryant's) have made Kansas City Barbecue a slippery, ever evolving subject.
 
As such, I would be happy to provide input and partake at some level in a KC BBQ Crawl.  I would still rely heavily on the knowledge of Kansas City native and good friend CNW in creating an itinerary.  And given the filling nature of Barbecue, I would stretch the tour over at least two days and include KC's other local specialty, Fried/Grilled Chicken.  Stroud's and El Pollo Rey would lead that part of the list with others to be named later.
 
As for timing, I'd need to schedule this for Spring of 2016.  I've got a full plate and a stretched wallet with the The Great Chicagostyle Hot Dog and Italian Beef Crawl coming up May 1-3, 2015.  And whaddya mean, "We really need to plan a large scale Roadfood event for this upcoming summer"?  What the heck, the GCHDAIBC ain't big enough for you?  We're expecting people from across the country to converge on our hometown for two full days of eating tours, plus a welcome dinner the Thursday night before and a farewell brunch on the Sunday after.
 
Just kiddin' buddy.  I know you want to get in as many Roadfood tours as possible.  But remember, you've also got the Glee Club meeting in February and you can expect at least a couple of local Chicago and Milwaukee tours arranged by The Contingent sometime during the year.  It could end up being busier than you expect.
 
Buddy
post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2014/12/26 01:14:43
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2014/12/26 02:00:33 (permalink)
With that agenda tended to, let me get back to the issue at hand, KC's Best BBQ (and our current trip report).
 
As mentioned in post #103 above, I stopped in to SLAP's BBQ the day before our lunch, gifting them some Roadhouse Bar-B-Que Sauce, thus securing a healthy sampling of their Smoked Meats, even if they ran out for the general public.  The strategy provided mixed results.  As it turns out, Joe the Pit Master expected such a big crowd, he made sure to cook enough meat to cover the demand.  What they didn't expect was a sudden run on their best selling side dish, Hot Potato Salad.
 
This is an incredible treat.  Imagine a fully loaded, twice baked potato--in warm salad form!  I gazed over the counter at the near empty steam tray pan that once held the starchy, cheesy ambrosia.  I could see there was enough left in there to at least give me a taste of what I was missing.  At that point I had no pride.  I offered to lick the pan clean right there in the dining area.  I only had second thoughts when I realized a selfish act like that would deprive my lunchmates of getting a taste of their own.  If there's one thing I've learned in life, never forget your wife or best friend when angling for a taste of something good--you'll pay dearly for it later.
 
Instead I suggested they take the pan in back, run a spatula around it and provide us with a meager sample.  Minutes later, Joe the Pit Master's Mama returned with a small cup of the good stuff.  One forkful each is all we got, but it was enough for us to know we'd missed out on something special.
 
Our combination of ecstasy and disappointment soon disappeared with the arrival of our order.  A Sampler Plate which included Brisket, Pork, Turkey, and Sausage; separate orders of both Ribs and Burnt Ends; and all the remaining sides--Fries, Hush Puppies, Cole Slaw, and Cheesy Corn-- filled our table.
 
I wish there was a ranking between Very Good and Excellent.  Very, Very Good doesn't cut it, and Just Shy of Excellent may go too far.  Following the Black/White criteria mentioned upthread, this was the Blackest White BBQ I've ever had.  That's a good thing, mind you.  At least as good as it can be.
 
All the meats had a solid, but not overwhelming smoke flavor.  All of them were moist and tender.  They were all assertively seasoned without covering up the flavor of the meat.  But as my friend Steve Katz (a local 'Que conna-sewer) pointed out, none of them had any kind of bark or crust.  This was true.  Possibly because Joe the Pit Master (as intimated to me) uses a foil wrapped cooking technique.  I don't think it's because the meat was held too long--SLAP's is notorious for running out of food every day, eliminating the chance for meat to sit around for any length of time.  Besides, all the other qualities of the meat (taste, texture, tenderness) were superb.  I can't really complain about the lack of crust, but it did keep me from giving them an unqualified "Excellent" ranking.
 
On the other hand, there were no weak links in the side dishes.  The Fries were nicely crispy, the Cole Slaw was delightfully tangy, and the crisp/tender Hush Puppies had an aromatic onion overtone that would have made any Southern Mama proud.
 
And while the Hot Potato Salad was clearly the star of the Side (Dish) Show, the Cheesy Corn was a top notch supporting player.  I would even say it was better than the Cheesy Corn served at Jack's Stack.  Very rich and creamy with plenty of cheese, the sweet corn flavor still held center stage.
 
In spite of the lack of bark on their meats, SLAP's is now part of our rotation when we visit Kansas City.  Next time I'll be sure to have them put some Hot Potato Salad on hold for us.
 
Buddy
blizzardstormus
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2016/10/02 20:00:01 (permalink)
Mom & I are heading down to KC next weekend. Any new info on BBQ in KC? Of course, Stroud's chicken is a must.
1bbqboy
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2016/10/02 21:11:27 (permalink)
Q39 is supposed to be excellent, though of the new upscale variety.
RYE is the supposed top of the heap
these days for chicken and other local
iconic dishes, and Colby and Megan are both award winners.
leethebard
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2016/10/02 22:23:40 (permalink)
My wife worked for Hallmark in Kansas City for many years before we were married. She swore by Rosedale Barbecue, her favorite. Took me a few times. Great barbecue at great prices...Miss them!!
 
http://www.rosedalebarbeque.com/index.php
1bbqboy
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2016/10/03 07:23:49 (permalink)
Rosedale may be the oldest, not the newest cue. I love it but I imagine Blizzardstormus might have be there already.
leethebard
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2016/10/03 09:52:26 (permalink)
My wife called them once, almost thirty years ago, to see if they shipped, at least the barbecue sauce,but they didn't.
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2016/10/03 10:11:09 (permalink)
1bbqboy
...RYE is the supposed top of the heap
these days for chicken and other local
iconic dishes, and Colby and Megan are both award winners.


I don't know that I'd characterize "Rye" as a 'Que Joint, per se.  IMO, their menu is better described as modern American, focused on its Midwestern roots, with an emphasis on smoked meats.  They also serve a number dishes most of us would characterize as Southern Comfort Food, including Shrimp & Grits and Blue Crab Hush Puppies.
 
This is not a comment or criticism of the restaurant, just an observation of fact.  They probably have pretty good grub, although if you want KC's "Best BBQ" you're better off sticking to a place that does that exclusively.
 
Buddy
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