I finally got to go to Kansas City where I heard the streets are paved with brisket and the faucets run with BBQ sauce. Ok, not quite. It is a city known for its jazz, BBQ and the head of the Santa Fe trail. It is a city with roots that go back the the US's expansion West, where cattle was sold to head East. Due to its ties to cattle it is also a haven for BBQ and said to be the birth place of burnt ends.
I got to go for work, but didn't squander the opportunity to try some of the BBQ they are famous for. It was a whirl wind tour but I was able to try some great BBQ at four great restaurants. The first was Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que, the second, Fiorella Jack Stacks, followed by Gates and finally Author Bryant's. Each was good, but none were Carolina BBQ.
My first night I arrived in KC around six. I got to my hotel and found the closest BBQ joint was Joe's. It was in walking distance and after my flight it felt good to stretch my legs. As I walked up to the building I could smell the BBQ. This is always a good sign. It means they are cooking it there - or they have a unique air freshener. I went to the counter and looked at what they had to offer. I really wanted some burnt ends but they were out. So I ordered that day's special: brisket and ribs. After all ribs are my favorite. My sides were dirty rice and slaw.
|The main course|
|Almost a perfect bite.|
Both the ribs and brisket were good. They weren't the best I've ever had but they were good. The ribs were close to being perfectly cooked, which can be hard to do in a restaurant due to having to keep them warm. They were close to being over cooked but we're still good. I tried their three sauces which weren't bad but tasted like they had liquid smoke in them, which I find off putting. Over all it was good food but it was my least favorite of the four BBQ joints I tried.
Here I was able to get burnt ends as an appetizer. They were good and full of beefy flavor but not as good as I was hoping. For my dinner I had beef ribs and brisket. Both were awesome. The brisket was cooked perfectly. It was tender and fell apart as did the beef rib. The restaurant was very nice and I would rank it second in my KC BBQ experience so far.
|My pork and beef ribs.|
|My pork and beef sandwich.|
|Service counter with a smoker just behind it.|
|My ribs and burnt ends.|
So my rankings after this trip are:
2. Fiorella Jack Stacks
3. Author Bryant's
4. Oklahoma Joes
While it was a quick trip and these are my first impressions of each place I would eat at any of them again and have no problem paying for the BBQ. Jack Stacks and Bryant's are really tied for second but I put them in the order I did because Jack Stacks was not as stressful to me. Each has its own charm and ambiance while serving healthy portions of food. The biggest difference I noticed between KC BBQ restaurants and Carolina BBQ restaurants is in KC most of the meat is sliced while in the Carolina's it is pulled or chopped. In KC it usually comes with sauces on it while in the Carolina's it is unsauced so you can add your own.
I hope to go back and try some new items from the menus and try BBQ from other parts of the US (Texas, I'm looking at you).