It's easy to go hog wild in Kansas City, MO, where you'll find some of the world's best barbecue joints. Casual roadside stops and white-tablecloth restaurants turn out platters of hickory-smoked ribs, tender brisket and succulent pulled pork while competing for the title of best Kansas City BBQ. Bring a big appetite, and set off on a barbecue showdown, sampling the decadent smoky dishes at these top Kansas City barbecue restaurants.
Arthur Bryant's was first opened in the early 1920s by the namesake's brother Charlie, but Arthur was the one to make the important decision to move the restaurant to 18th and Brooklyn streets near the Municipal Stadium. Major league baseball players and hungry fans made Arthur Bryant's an essential BBQ stop on the way to or from a game. Today, there are 2 other restaurants in the line-up, all serving the legendary slow-smoked ribs with Original or Rich & Spicy sauce that prompted author Calvin Trillin to declare this Kansas City stalwart the best restaurant in the country.
Jack Stack BBQ
Jack Stack BBQ fills its 4 restaurants -- 3 around town in Kansas City, MO, and another in Overland Park, KS -- with diehard fans who nosh on tasty barbecue in a high-end setting. These are no roadside BBQ stands; each restaurant has a full-service bar, a formal dining room and cozy fireside dining. For more than 50 years, the staff has been dishing out the signature ribs and fork-tender brisket prepared in hickory-fired brick ovens. For something more exotic, try a slab of Denver-cut lamb ribs or prime rib that is slowly smoked over hickory for mouthwatering flavor.
Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue
Barbecue fanatics take their place in line at Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue, a gas station-turned-BBQ-emporium for tender ribs, tasty sandwiches and award-winning sauces. Sandwiches range from the standard brisket, smoked ham and smoked turkey to unique combos like the Hog Heaven, a delightful union of pulled pork and sliced sausage piled high on a bun.
B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ
Enjoy your barbecue with a side of blues at B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ which hosts live blues music every night of the week. Diners can enjoy jam sessions and touring bands for a small cover charge while indulging in the Pulled Porker sandwich, a pit-smoked Italian sausage sandwich with sweet red peppers or a slab of ribs served alongside battered fries or Big Bertha's onion rings. Appetizers add an unusual twist to the menu with buffalo shrimp, slow-smoked chicken wings and a soup starring the burnt ends tucked into a hearty vegetable soup. But the wackiest addition to the menu is the Bar-B-Que Sundae, a 3-layered concoction of hickory-smoked pit beans, creamy coleslaw and juicy pulled pork served in a mason jar with a pickle and extra BBQ sauce on top.
Winslows BBQ has been a Kansas City staple since 1971 with its characteristic dry-rub barbecued brisket and ribs. All of the menu items are served without sauce so you can customize for your own spicy, smoky and sweet desires. The Pig Out platter is a hearty combo of ribs, pork, ham and sausage with fries and a side of your choice including beans, coleslaw, potato salad or corn casserole.
Danny Edwards comes from a great line of grill masters. His dad opened his first BBQ shop during the Great Depression and moved it to Kansas City in 1938. Since getting into the business himself, Danny has moved around a bit, but 2 things have stayed the same -- his family's beloved recipes and the pink concrete pig that greets visitors outside. Danny woos diners with first-rate, hand-cut smoked meats and BBQ classics including a Southern-style pulled-pork sandwich and a platter of burnt ends, the highly desirable crispy smoked edges from a beef brisket.
Gates Bar-B-Q makes a mean barbecue, but the restaurant's true legacy is its sauce, which has been sold in grocery stores since the 1970s. Today the sauce line-up includes the original sauce as well as variations including mild, sweet and mild and extra-hot. There are 6 locations throughout the Midwest, including some outside of Kansas City, where diners can indulge in smoked 'cue doused in sweet and smoky goodness.