What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Kansas City? The World Series Champions, the Kansas City Royals? The fact that it’s a major city that straddles two states? Or perhaps that it’s home to some of the best barbecue in America? Kansas City was a perfect place to stop after our first day of driving from Colorado Springs to Washington, DC. This gave us the opportunity to try some of that famous Kansas City-style barbecue.
Tourism plays a small, almost non-existent role in the local economy, so points of interest will not be inundated with tourists. If there is a line, however, chances are it’s popular with locals and that means you’re in the right spot.
Kansas City-Style Barbecue
One of the two big things to do in Kansas City is to catch a Kansas City Royals game. Unfortunately, my visit did not overlap with a home game, but that did not prevent me from enjoying the other big thing to do, which is to eat Kansas City-style barbecue.
If you already know what’s special about Kansas City-style barbecue then this is where you can jump to the next blog post. For those of you know don’t know, Kansas City-style barbecue is slow-smoked over a variety of woods and then covered with a thick tomato and molasses based sauce. It’s the barbecue sauce that sets Kansas City-style barbecue apart. The style can be traced back to Henry Perry, the “father” of modern-day barbecue, who, in 1908, began selling slow-cooked ribs out of a trolley barn in Kansas City. His ribs became so popular because of the method he used, that the practice soon spread to other meats and, well, the rest is history.
Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue
Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue, located just blocks from the Kansas-Missouri border is perhaps one of the best places to grab barbecue in the city. Joe’s began winning awards, all prominently displayed, for its food back in the early ’90s and has, over the years, continued to provide barbecue to the many who come and are happy to wait in long lines for the chance to eat the perfection that is Joe’s.
After driving all day we were ready to eat and were initially dismayed to find an incredibly long line at Joe’s. We ended up waiting for about 30 minutes before ordering our food. Pro tip: the best way get through the long line at Joe’s is to order a beer from the takeaway area to drink in line while you wait.
Simply overwhelmed with what to order I was fortunate enough to have plenty of time to think about it during the wait. I ended up ordering a jumbo beef brisket sandwich and shared an order of fries, BBQ beans, and spicy slaw. Everything, cooked to perfection was just as good as I had imagined it would be. I still dream about my first few bites into the delectable beef brisket sandwich. The one downside to eating barbecue in Kansas City is that nothing else will ever measure up, leaving you to possibly schedule annual return trips!
All Photography by Albert Bond