Hot!What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City?

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Bombowly
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2007/02/05 15:27:42 (permalink)

What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City?

If I were to go to Kansas city which is better? Gates Barbecue or Authur Bryant's?
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    zataar
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 15:32:42 (permalink)
    AB's
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    chezjohn
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 15:43:31 (permalink)
    This is the brisket sandwich & fries @ Arthur Bryants. I've eaten there many times. Been to Gates many times, also ... both are good, but Bryant's is the real deal. Have you ever eaten Bryant's original sauce? It's unlike any other ... people either love it, or hate it. I happen to love it ... always have a bottle in my fridge.

    http://www.arthurbryantsbbq.com/sandwich352.mpg
    #3
    Bombowly
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 15:59:27 (permalink)
    Wow thanks for the link to the video clip my mouth is watering.
    #4
    CajunKing
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 16:12:05 (permalink)
    If you are going all the way to KC for BBQ..... GO TO BOTH!!

    If I had to pick just one, I would agree with Zataar, go to AB's
    #5
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 16:43:20 (permalink)
    The Gates/Arthur Bryant's debate has been going on for decades. Locals swear that both of them have been going downhill for so long that if it were true, they'd both be so far downhill they'd be out of business!

    Mrs. Roadhouse, a KC native, and I, have enjoyed both Gates and AB's, although our recent visit to Bryant's during the Holidays was somewhat disappointing. Over sauced burnt ends were more like a stew than actual 'Que. Our side dishes of beans, slaw, and potato salad were mundane at best.

    The fact is that while there is nothing wrong with either of these establishments, they have descended to the level of "Tourist Food"; once superior places that have attracted so much out of town business that they no longer need to focus on high quality but can rest on their reputations and still count on an abundance of tourist traffic.

    Here in Chicago, Pizzeria Uno's & Due's along with Gino's East share that same distinction in the pizza category.

    If you're serious about having some superior 'Que while in KC, let me suggest some of the smaller, lesser known spots. For instance, after our annual Holiday visit with family and friends, we usually hit Gate's Independence, MO location on the way out of town. This year we skipped it in favor of a visit to a relatively new entry called Woodyard Bar-B-Que, 3001 Merriam Lane, KCKS, (913)236-6666, www.woodyardbbq.com.

    The Woodyard has been around for decades, selling wood to other local greashouses. They used to give away their 'Que to their customers and gradually got into catering, opening up as a restaurant to the general public just in the last couple of years. Extraordinary food; excellent ribs and sides in a wonderfully inviting down home, hidden gem location. They're only open for lunch so get there before 4pm.

    Also worth checking out is LC's Bar-B-Q, 5800 Blue Parkway, KCMO, (816)923-4484, www.lcsbar-b-que.nv.switchboard.com/. LC's has been the darling of the Kansas City Barbecue Cogniscenti for a number of years. Best thing to get here are the burnt ends. Huge portions, brilliant flavor; I'm salivating just writing about it here.

    Finally, I would send you to RJ's BobbaQue over in Roeland Park, KS. Sorry don't have all the vitals on this one handy but they're in the telephone book and easy to get to. Very good all around 'Que menu. I once had a smoked chicken there that made me cry real tears, it was so good. Nightly specials of some interesting twists on the typical greasehouse fare, including Barbecued Eggrolls stuffed with pulled pork, dang they were good!

    As a last thought I would say to you that it is hard to find a really bad Barbecue joint in Kansas City. You could pretty much pick one out of the yellow pages while blindfolded and more than likely be happy with the outcome. If you want to play it safe, stick with Gate's or Bryant's. If you want really outstanding 'Que, try one of the places I've recommended. If you want to have an adventure, get out your blindfold and open up the phone book.

    Have a good trip,

    Buddy
    #6
    buffetbuster
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 16:52:48 (permalink)
    Don't forget about Snead's down in Belton. I only ate there once, but I thought it was excellent! But, I do believe they might be closing down soon.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=188
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    chezjohn
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 17:13:44 (permalink)
    I also like Snead's ... haven't been there for several years, because I keep hearing they are *closing* ... but as far as I know, they are still open. I always went for their "beef brownies" ... more commonly known as burnt ends.

    There is a place up north of the river called Smokin' Guns ... that is making quite a reputation for themselves as having the best burnt ends in Kansas City - I've not yet been there, they're only open for lunch.

    Another long-time favorite of mine is BB's Lawnside BBQ ... the bbq is good, and they have great live blues bands ... and cajun food as well.

    The original Oklahoma Joes, up on 46th (I think) ... in the old gas station ... is also very good bbq ~ considered by many to be the best in town.
    #8
    chezjohn
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 17:21:54 (permalink)
    Well, I decided to find out if Snead's was closed/open ... just called them & got a recording ... they are closed on Monday's & Tuesday's, but are still open for business & their hours are 11-8 PM the other weekdays & 11-9 PM on Fri/Sat. The recording is current, because at the end of the message, the guy says: "Don't forget, Vanentine's Day is coming up in a couple of weeks".
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    Jim in NC
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 17:25:02 (permalink)
    L.C.'s
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    desertdog
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 18:46:18 (permalink)

    When I was living there we used to go to Hayward's. Always thought that was pretty good, but that was .....20 years ago?

    I've been told by relatives still living in KC that Jack's Stack is worth a visit, unfortunately can not yet speak from experience. What do you KC guys say to it?

    BTW, don't miss Stroud's pan fried chicken while you are in town.

    Man, I'm gettin hungry just thinking about that city.

    #11
    marky
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 19:17:05 (permalink)
    i like gates because they have lamb ribs and if you think pork ribs are good wait till you taste their lamb. as rachel ray says yummo
    #12
    Bombowly
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 19:51:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BuddyRoadhouse


    The fact is that while there is nothing wrong with either of these establishments, they have descended to the level of "Tourist Food"; once superior places that have attracted so much out of town business that they no longer need to focus on high quality but can rest on their reputations and still count on an abundance of tourist traffic.



    Thanks Buddy Roadhouse and everyone else,
    I have been disappointed by a few restaurants for what I suspected to be the exact same reason listed above. It is such a shame when that happens. Thank you for the suggestions and I think I will stay a few extra days and eat BBQ for at least lunch and dinner everyday. Maybe breakfast if I can find it. Oh the anticipation. I can't stand it, I've just got to try it all. Thanks again.
    #13
    Theedge
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 20:02:38 (permalink)
    I have to be honest, I did not care for Gates. I second Oklahoma Joe's. I'm looking forward to trying LC's.
    #14
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 20:13:48 (permalink)
    I guess this won't make your decision any easier, but I will agree with many of the suggestions listed above. Snead's and BB's Lawnside are both good choices for excellent local 'Que. Hayward's may be past its prime but it's been a while since I've visited. Jack's Stack is very highly regarded although I've never been to this location and can't comment (I've only been to the original Martin City outpost).

    As for Stroud's, it ain't Barbecue, but it is some of the best pan fried chicken you will ever eat! Served family style with a mind boggling abundance of real mashed potatoes, cooked to death green beans with huge chunks of smoky pork for flavor, pudding-like brown gravy, and buttery sweet cinnamon rolls, Stroud's is one institution that has not succumbed to the "Tourist Food" syndrome.

    Their original location on 85th Street was closed and demolished by the city in order to widen the street to accomodate the heavy traffic flow (an action that was probably rendered unnecessary when they got rid of Stroud's). If you want Stroud's now, you'll need to head up north to their Manor House location. Do a search on "Stroud's" here at Roadfood and you'll find more than ample discussion and information on them.

    So, how many weeks were you planning to spend in Kansas City?

    Buddy
    #15
    Bluemaxx
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 20:21:06 (permalink)
    After trying a number of famous joints in KC, including all of the places above, my wife and I (and Enka, our German Shepherd) would have to give top honors in KC to Jack Stack. Without going into detail, we had an amazing experience there with service, location and most of all, the food! Can't wait until mid-May sometime when we plan to be driving thru KC again and stopping at Jack Stack!!
    #16
    Hillbilly
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 20:29:57 (permalink)
    Jack Stack is my favorite KC Q place now. I've tried the others, and was a big fan of Arthur Bryant's, but once I tried Jack Stack, it is my "must go" place if I can only eat BBQ once during a KC visit.
    #17
    zataar
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 21:04:36 (permalink)
    I like the idea of breaking down Kansas City BBQ by item.
    AB's - brisket and fries. I am one of those who really hates the sauce.

    Gate's - Sometimes lamb. When it's good it's really good, otherwise sort of mediocre.

    LC's - Just about everything, ribs, sauce, fries, brisket, pork. When they have an off day, it's for everything. That isn't too often.

    Woodyard - Try to catch them when they're open, when they are it's really, really good.

    Oklahoma Joe's - This place has its detractors. I happen to love it. The Carolina Pulled Pork with Spicy Coleslaw is beyond good. So are the fries. The fact that Oklahoma Joe's is 5 minutes from my house has nothing to do with it.

    Winslow's City Market BBQ - at our downtown Farmer's Market - Decent, accessible, good music.

    RJ's BobBQue- Great chicken and wonderful weekend breakfasts. Some weirdos don't like breakfast, but this could change their mind.

    JackStack BBQ - the cleanest BBQ you'll ever have. Not necessarily in a good way, but the beans and other side dishes are superlative. The lamb ribs are great.

    Smokin' Guns - When you can find this place open, it's the best. One of my favorites. The people who own it are bbq competitors, so hours are erratic.

    Those are my favorites.
    #18
    desertdog
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 22:59:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by zataar

    I like the idea of breaking down Kansas City BBQ by item.
    AB's - brisket and fries. I am one of those who really hates the sauce.

    Gate's - Sometimes lamb. When it's good it's really good, otherwise sort of mediocre.

    LC's - Just about everything, ribs, sauce, fries, brisket, pork. When they have an off day, it's for everything. That isn't too often.

    Woodyard - Try to catch them when they're open, when they are it's really, really good.

    Oklahoma Joe's - This place has it's detractors. I happen to love it. The Carolina Pulled Pork with Spicy Coleslaw is beyond good. So are the fries. The fact that Oklahoma Joe's is 5 minutes from my house has nothing to do with it.

    Winslow's City Market BBQ - at our downtown Farmer's Market - Decent, accessible, good music.

    RJ's BobBQue- Great chicken and wonderful weekend breakfasts. Some weirdos don't like breakfast, but this could change their mind.

    JackStack BBQ - the cleanest BBQ you'll ever have. Not necessarily in a good way, but the beans and other side dishes are superlative. The lamb ribs are great.

    Smokin' Guns - When you can find this place open, it's the best. One of my favorites. The people who own it are bbq competitors, so hours are erratic.

    Those are my favorites.



    Nice rundown, Zataar...you and I are goin eatin next time I come to town. my treat!

    #19
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/05 23:17:44 (permalink)
    That is a good rundown zataar! Can't remember the name of it, but about four or five years ago there was a hardcover book that came out reviewing many of the greasehouses in KC. At the end of the book there was a chart showing exactly this sort of breakdown of which place served the best brisket, pork, ribs, etc. I can't remember all of the specifics, but I do remember that LC's got the highest overall score. Of course The Woodyard was not doing business as a restaurant at that point.

    Buddy
    #20
    Bluemaxx
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 00:11:20 (permalink)
    FWIW, Last year while my wife and dog were driving thru KC, we decided to have a little BBQ fun and eat at three places in one day. For no particular reason, we decided to go to Arthur Bryant's, LC's and Jack Stack and we rated them as follows;

    Arthur Bryant's (5.5) - didn't like the sauce and the burnt ends were like stew.
    LC's (9.5) - everything was TOP NOTCH....except the location.
    Jack Stack (10) - no description necessary.....just go there!!!

    #21
    Blue Plate Special
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 12:12:47 (permalink)
    (I know the original question was Arthur Bryant's or Gates but...)

    On a recent Monday (early afternoon) I was a little disappointed with at LC's. Flavor of the meat (burnt ends) was still good but this time about 2/3 of the meat was on the dry side -- not the sizzling, marbly perfection I've had every other time there (I pass through KC on my way from MSP to Dallas a few times a year and always stop at LC's). I understand the nature of burnt ends is...well..."burnt", but I appreciate their evolution to a less well-done "sizzling brisket popper", something I've become accustomed to at LC's. (By the way, I think Arthur Bryant's has flat out jumped the shark on burnt ends -- they really are more like chunks of stew meat than burnt ends).

    More surprisingly, the sausage was a disappointment. Now, I know sausage isn't the specialty here but in the past I've been delighted by it at LC's. It was a bad sign that the cook took the sausage to the back room and heated it in a microwave. I'm used to them yanking a ring out of the contraption behind the counter and quartering it fresh. No flowing juices or snap when biting into the skin. I actually tossed most of it.

    It's just one visit and, granted, 1 p.m. on a Monday, but kind of a heartbreaker after driving 6 hours with my mouth watering and then having to dwell on it in the car for 9 more hours.

    A couple of side notes: First, I LOVE the location of LC's. BBQ joints are supposed to be in parts of town that seem scuzzy and forgotten. The more winding roads, forgotten towns and abandoned buildings you have to travel past, the better. I don't know -- I have a hard time trusting a BBQ place located in a suburban strip mall. If LC's could just degrease the floor about once a year (mark this down: a lawsuit from a patron that slips and breaks their hip or cracks their skull will be the end of this place some day), I wouldn't have a single criticism of the location or facility.

    Also, on my way back to I-435, I popped into the new Big T's BBQ about 1/4 mile east of LC's. I figured a side-by-side burnt ends and fries comparison with LC's would be fun. Don't bother with the fries -- standard restaurant-grade frozen stuff. The burnt ends weren't horrible, but didn't stack up even with LC's off-day stuff. These were more traditional burnt ends -- those with a thick dry bark, more for gnawing than savoring. The sauce leaned a bit to the vinegar side compared to LC's, and didn't have the depth. At risk of sounding ridiculous, I also prefer my ends and brisket to be cut diagonal to the grain. These were cut with the grain which made them too stringy. When combined with the bark, they were a little too difficult on the teeth and gums to really enjoy. It wasn't so bad that I wouldn't sample some other stuff there (maybe side-by-side ribs or something). The upside was that an order of ends, fries and drink was $6.78 after tax! I had to recheck the menu board -- I thought it was an error. Burnt ends alone are $8.99 at LC's.

    I'll still take LC's any day, but a tiny little red flag has been raised by this experience. If it's good the next time, I'll chalk it up as a bad day.
    #22
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 12:52:06 (permalink)
    Welcome to Roadfood Blue Plate Special (soon to become "BPS" among your peers here, I am sure). Excellent post just above! Not that you need me to tell you but, your clear concise writing with well laid out paragraphs and well checked spelling was a pleasure to read.

    Like you I am a frequent visitor to KC, although I have a slight edge with the wife being a native. Over the past 28 years of marriage and return trips, we have accumulated so many places that we love to visit while in town, we rarely get to the same places twice in a row. Admittedly, LC's is one joint I haven't been to a in a couple of years. My last stop there provided an outstanding Burnt End sandwich, fries, and beans. Again, that was a couple of years ago.

    To bolster your argument, Mrs. Roadhouse made a solo visit last September and stopped in at LC's with one of her brothers. She reported back that something was amiss. She couldn't put her finger on it; just that the 'Que failed to dazzle as it had on so many previous visits. Like you, I hope that this was nothing more than an "off day".

    One side note regarding that $8.99 price tag for an LC's Burnt End sandwich: there is easily enough meat on that sandwich, when coupled with a side dish or two, to feed two, maybe even three people. Put it all together and you've still got an excellent value.

    BPS (see, there it is already), once again, welcome to Roadfood. I see by your profile that you are a Mpls/StP suburbanite. My travels take me to your fine metropolis several times a year. While I have made many wonderful discoveries on my own, I always look for someone else's opinion about the best food in their hometown. I think you and Davydd need to hook up for a native son discussion of the Twin Cities best Breaded Pork Tenderloin and Walleye Sandwiches!

    Thanks for the input!

    Buddy
    #23
    Blue Plate Special
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 13:47:06 (permalink)
    Buddy, thanks for the welcome. I've been lurking on Roadfood for at least a couple of years and I'll occasionally throw in some assistance. The topics get pretty well covered here (I have absolutely nothing that I can add to Davydd's tenderloin sandwich research), but when I see a gap, I'll try and fill it. I'm waiting for some photos from the Fried Pie place off Exit 51(?) in Turner Falls, OK which was going to be my next post. You can probably expect me to jump in on talk of taqueria fare, tamales, burgers, pizza, ice cream and a few other cuisines.

    A note regarding the price you mentioned: I probably could have emphasized the value of BOTH LC's and Big T's. I'll gladly pay $8.99 for what has to be 20 oz. of smoked/BBQ'd beef almost anywhere, any day. But $6.50 for what was the same amount of meat at Big T's was flat out shocking considering fries and soda were included. My $22 meal at LC's this time was the least amount of money I've spent there to date -- I have absolutely no problem paying that price for what I imagine is a top 100 in the nation BBQ place.

    I'll be on the lookout for queries from you or anyone visiting MN.

    #24
    zataar
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 15:52:06 (permalink)
    Originally posted by desertdog

    Nice rundown, Zataar...you and I are goin eatin next time I come to town. my treat!


    Cool, it's a deal!
    #25
    chezjohn
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 16:07:49 (permalink)
    Have you folks seen this ... G.A.S. BBQ Reviews ... they eat at & rate most of the KC BBQ Joints

    http://www.gasbbq.net/
    #26
    Sfreader
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 16:44:31 (permalink)
    When I take out-of-towners for one taste of KC BBQ, it is almost always Arthur Bryants. They haven't let me down yet.

    That is at the original location. The ABs at the casino isn't quite the same, and I give the new Kansas City, Kansas location much lower marks.

    But it depends on what someone is looking for. ABs is my pick for the hearty BBQ eater. Depending on the dish someone wants, others that I recomend include Rosedale BBQ, Winslows Smokehouse, KC Masterpiece and Joe's Smokehouse (Southwest Blvd location).

    Woodyard Bar-B-Que's product is VERY smoky. It often tastes more like smoke than like meat. This works fairly well on their wings, but only if you like very strong flavors (I do). I think many would find the smokey taste to be too much. The last slab of ribs I got there was almost like eating charcoal and I discarded most.

    Keith
    #27
    Sfreader
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 16:57:12 (permalink)
    RJ's BobbaQue is inconsistant. This place COULD be so very good. They do a lot of things right, but it doesn't quite come together the way it should.

    Try them sometime for breakfast. Saturday & Sunday only.

    Keith
    #28
    KBminihorse
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 17:03:11 (permalink)
    Whenever we take a road trip, we always make a special effort to go thru Kansas City just so we can eat at Jack Stacks. Last road trip we drove 800 miles out of the way just to eat there. Their brochure says they are the #1 Zagat rated BBQ in America, and I can see why. They also have the absolute best BBQ beans anywhere, loaded with pieces of brisket. uummm, just so good! You won't go wrong eating here, it really is outstanding. I took a bucket of their beans to go, and had them on my lap, snacking as we drove across I-70 to St. Louis to get dessert at Ted Drewes! Wash down that great Jack Stack BBQ with a couple of "concretes" and a cone from Ted's, and you'll be in seventh heaven!
    #29
    toddfleet
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    RE: What is the Best BBQ in Kansas City? 2007/02/06 17:58:44 (permalink)
    We went to KC a year ago or so determined to try the famous BBQ, and the Gates vs. Bryants was priority one. Despite their legendary status, we did not especially like either. We tried brisket at both places and neither was smokey enough for me, nor were the sauces. I guess the authenticity of Wonder Bread & watery sauce is big with many people, but they do not impress me, all I want is some smoked meat. And an "authentic" rough location with bars on the windows is also not as important to me as a little smoke. I do not understand how a BBQ legend status can come about with, in AB's case, NO smokey flavor at all. Disappointing to me.

    What I DID like is Jacks Stack. The location is a bit more suburban and the atmosphere sort of like a steakhouse, but that is OK with me. The meats were very good and the sides were outstanding, as others here have stated. IMO far better than the other two in every way, enjoy, Todd.
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