A Guide to Kansas City Barbecue

Kansas City Joe's, Leawood
Kansas City Joe’s, Leawood, KS

If there’s one thing that Kansas City’s known for, it’s definitely barbecue (well also jazz and baseball – go Royals!). I mean hey, in late May of this year, Travel + Leisure named Kansas City as America’s number one city for barbecue.

Kansas City Joe's pulled pork sandwich and french fries | They always give you a ton of fries! I recommend sharing with a friend or ordering the kid's size.
Kansas City Joe’s pulled pork sandwich and french fries | They always give you a ton of fries! I recommend sharing with a friend or ordering the kid’s size.
  1. Kansas City Joe’s

This is hands down my absolute favorite barbecue place in KC. I usually don’t like to wait in lines, but I will gladly wait in any line, no matter how long, to get KC Joe’s. Their barbecue sauce, in my opinion, is the best. Their fries are also fantastic – people love to buy not only the barbecue sauce, but their fries seasoning because it’s so good. If you’re ever anywhere near Kansas City, you have to stop by this place for sure.

 

My "pulled pork sandwich" at Arthur Bryant's at Legend's
My “pulled pork sandwich” at Arthur Bryant’s at Legend’s
  1. Arthur Bryant’s

Bryant’s comes out to be my second choice (although it’s known as the president’s number one). I liked the sauce, and this place is great because it’s one of the originals. My favorite, the pulled pork sandwich, was served in a fun and unique way too. I’d like to call it more of a pulled pork plate with a side of bread and a fries piled on top of it. The pulled pork sandwich is served open-faced with everything just piled high on top of it. There was so much food that I had to eat it with a fork! Arthur Byant’s is a classic, and I’d definitely recommend it.

Q39 - photo courtesy of http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/restaurants/s0m5xk/picture781618/ALTERNATES/FREE_640/PRE%20DINING%20Q39%20BBQ%20_072114%200026F.JPG
Q39 | photo courtesy of http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/restaurants/s0m5xk/picture781618/ALTERNATES/FREE_640/PRE%20DINING%20Q39%20BBQ%20_072114%200026F.JPG
  1. Q39

This Westport barbecue joint isn’t one of what I’d say are the “big four,” but I enjoyed checking out this restaurant as well. It was a bit more upscale (and somewhat expensive), but the food certainly justified the price! The place offers some unique dishes as well – I’ve heard the apple coleslaw is fantastic.

Gates BBQ | Photo courtesy of http://www.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/201433/rs_1024x768-140403101154-634.kansas-city-gates-bar-b-q.jpg
Gates BBQ | Photo courtesy of http://www.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/201433/rs_1024x768-140403101154-634.kansas-city-gates-bar-b-q.jpg
  1. Gates

Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the food here, but the atmosphere makes the place worth checking out. Gate’s is one of KC’s oldest barbecue joints, and many Kansas Citians love it. What makes this place fun is that whenever you walk in, the employees yell at the top of their lungs, “How may I help you?” Their energy makes the visit exciting.

Jack Stack | Photo courtesy of https://www.google.com/search?q=jack+stack+bbq+kc&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAkQ_AUoA2oVChMIxNKRzfiLxwIVxowNCh1fdQnu&biw=1235&bih=769#tbm=isch&q=jack+stack+bbq+kc+food&imgrc=OH2Ivb5UaQxmmM%3A
Jack Stack | Photo courtesy of https://www.google.com/search?q=jack+stack+bbq+kc&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAkQ_AUoA2oVChMIxNKRzfiLxwIVxowNCh1fdQnu&biw=1235&bih=769#tbm=isch&q=jack+stack+bbq+kc+food&imgrc=OH2Ivb5UaQxmmM%3A
  1. Jack Stack

To be fair, I didn’t order my favorite barbecue dish (the pulled pork sandwich) – instead I thought I’d order something that KC’s known for – its burnt ends.. I ordered a sandwich with burnt ends, although the burnt ends were chopped, which I don’t think I liked. They also put so much meat on the sandwich that half of it fell on my plate. It was just way too much. Jack Stack is a classic though, and especially if you like bone-in meats, then this might be the KC barbecue place for you, as most of their menu includes bone-in meats.

What are some of your favorite barbecue places in Kansas City? Please share in the comments below!

 

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