KC BBQ recommendations
We're going to be in KC for two nights on our way to Des Moines. We will be staying at the Great Wolf Lodge near Cabela's on the way north side of town, but we don't mind a drive into the city for some good food. We're from Dallas, so we are familiar with the concept of driving an hour and still being in town!
I'd really like to eat some BBQ. In Texas, asking for 'cue recommendations is sometimes akin to starting a religious war, but I'd love to know what your favorite BBQ places are and why. I'm particularly interested in Arthur Bryant's or Jack Stack, but I have no idea about other places.
Also, what do I order? (Love burnt ends!)
I"m sure this post will bring out some strong opinions, but at the risk of being flamed I can tell you that I was in KC 2 years ago and went to Aurthur Bryant's and thought it was fantastic! I think I got a burnt end sandwich. I still daydream about it to this day...
I love Arthur Bryant's, although I know some people are starting to stray. Best pulled pork sandwich, hands down. And there's one right out there at the Legends now.
Jack Stack has the best burnt ends, no arguement, you can find it in the Crossroads or on the Plaza.
My other favorite is Oklahoma Joes, they have some great meat and fries. Plus it's in a gas station which is unique. I'd stick with those and you won't be disappointed.
I love Bryant's, probably more for the atmosphere and history than the food, which is also pretty darn great.
That being said, Oklahoma Joe's and Smokin' Guns are outstanding. Both are run by people that made their reputations on the competition circuit. Smokin' Guns has some great burnt ends, too....go early because they sell out.
I am sure I will be flamed for this, but honestly I like Famous Daves, they are at Village West. But there is Bryants out there too.
I'm relatively new to town so I while I've been to all these places, I haven't necessarily been a lot. That said, my experience is recent and not based on years of accumulated love or hate. Here's my thumbnail:
Bryant's: Terrific, iconic, and you can't go wrong going to original. There are reports of inconsistency, but I've never had less than very good. Long waits at lunch, sliced beef sandwich is wonderful and would be a good comparison for a brisket-loving Texan, though different from what you get down in Luling and Lockhart.
Jack Stack's: "Nice" atmosphere...doesn't speak BBQ to me at all. I thought the burnt ends were only okay. Same with the much-vaunted lamb ribs. Sides are good. Seems a very poor representation of KC BBQ to me on atmosphere alone (would avoid the Arthur Bryant near your hotel for the same reason, though I haven't been so don't know if there's a drop-off on the food)
OK Joe's: Pretty close to me, seems pretty popular, meat is pretty bland, I thought, all the way around. Popular enough that I'll try it again, but I'm really in no hurry.
Famous Dave's: No comment
LC's (on Blue Pkwy): My favorite Q in town. My last takeout order there was absolutely heavenly...burnt ends are, at their best, mind blowingly good. Also had a short end and sliced, smoked pork. All really excellent.
I still recommend Bryant's to visitors because it's an icon, but LC's is where I'd eat if I had the choice.
Did I just have a bad night at LC'S? My one experience a few years back was less than satisfactory. The burnt ends were really small & fatty and there was something wonky about the sauce - it was as if somebody had sprinkled sugar on top of it - seriously. I always give a second chance, however, I haven't tried it again because of location, location, location. (Given the consistently rave reviews on this board - I need to get my fanny out there again.)
Everybody can have a bad day/night. We brought a a fair-sized group of out-of-towners to Jack's Stack (95th & Metcalf location) one night and - to a person - it was HORRIBLE. We were mortified after raving about it so much. Otherwise - we have always loved Jack's Stack. Still #1 in my book. Can't get enough of their lamb ribs & beans.
I agree wholeheartedly with Aaron Deacon about Arthur Bryant's - never had anything less than good. Had a pork sandwich one time that about brought me to tears with it's awesomeness.
OK Joe's - Love their pulled pork.
Please report back, dalaimama! Have fun!
I read about someone else that had a bad batch of burnt ends at LC's. They said they didn't look at all like some of the other servings. I wonder if when they run out, they try to fake it with something else.
Burnt ends are gonna be fatty, but mine weren't small or chewy. Tender, loaded with smoky flavor. I don't care for the sauce, so ask them to leave it off. Maybe I've been lucky, if so I hope it continues.