Chasing BBQ: Kansas City Stops

with Mike Johnston
September 29, 2016
Tags: Chasing BBQ Kansas City KC Barbecue

Well, this is it! The last stops of my epic Chasing BBQ journey took me to Kansas City where the sauce is sweet and sticky and burnt ends and pulled pork are done right. I only made six stops in KC, but I learned a ton along the way. One of the highlights of this leg of the trip was getting the chance to share some 'cue with a special guest: Paul Kirk, aka The Baron of Barbecue. He's a legend in KC competitive barbecue and a Barbecue Hall of Famer. We chatted over ribs, burnt ends, brisket and more at my final three stops and I got to hear his stories from years of competitive barbecue experience.

Sauce is a big part of what defines KC-style barbecue and I had a lot of amazing versions of the tomato-and-molasses-based sweet sauce that this region is known for. I liked them so much, in fact, I created my own version to share with Savory Spice customers as part of our new line of BBQ sauces. Try our Midwestern Sweet for a taste of KC barbecue at home.

When it comes to meat, I found a little bit of everything in Kansas City, but burnt ends, or the chewy, tender, bark-crusted ends of brisket, are definitely a specialty here. The ones served at Slaps BBQ were a real stand out. KC is also great at dishing up creative sides. I found everything from potato casserole to apple slaw on menus here and based on what I tasted, I hope the 'cue joints in KC keep on experimenting.

Click on the names of each joint I stopped at to learn more about these great barbecue spots and the experiences I had visiting them.

The stellar ribs at Slaps with a slew of sides.

Slaps BBQ
553 Central Ave
Kansas City, KS 66101

(913) 213-3736
Owners: Joe & Mike Pearce

Highlights: Barky burnt ends, tender and flavor packed ribs, the 50/50 wings, the decadent potato casserole and the cheesy corn. 

Joe’s Kansas City BBQ
3002 W 47th St
Kansas City, KS 66103

(913) 722-3366
Owners: Jeff and Joy Stehney
Must Haves: The signature brisket, provolone, and onion ring stacked Z-man sandwich and dang good ribs.

5800 Blue Pkwy
Kansas City, MO 64129

(816) 923-4484
Owner: LC Richardson

Gotta Try: Ribs and rib tips, beef burnt ends, and a side of fried green beans!

Barbecue runs in Danny Edwards' family. His dad ran a joint, and Danny opened his first place in 1980.

Danny Edwards BBQ
2900 Southwest Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64108

(816) 283-0880

Owner: Danny Edwards
‘Cue Picks: Tasty and perfect-texture ribs with smoky baked beans and the perfectly smoked corned beef sandwich.

Jack Stack BBQ
Martin City
13441 Holmes Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64145
Owners: The Fiorella family
Don’t Miss: The burnt ends, lamb ribs, and baked beans (next time, we are trying the smoked sausage too!).

Q39 - The final stop!
1000 W 39th St
Kansas City, MO 64111

(816) 255-3753

Owner and pitmaster: Robert Magee
Best Of: Glazed pork ribs, delectable pork belly, burnt ends – with all three flavor-packed sauces - and a side of apple slaw.

Comments on this Article

Jean (guest), on October 09, 2016

Glad you did this trip. KC BBQ history is more central city. Old classics like Gates and Bryant's are sweet,sour, hot and smokey hickory. Great KC sauces use hot spices bloomed, apple cider vinegar, molasses (not ketchup). Love it!! sorry to say I started in the "whites only " room and missed seeing the in house fire pits and music!!!

Michael Luce (guest), on October 11, 2016

While I am unfamiliar with Q39 and Slaps, they all sound like great KC BBQ joints, but to go to KC and not include Gates and Arthur Bryant's is close to sacrilege.

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