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Feb 20, 2008 02:24 PM

top 3 BBQ places in Kansas City, MO

I am very thrilled to have a meager day in KC, but can't wait for some 'Q'. Been a long winter in Chicago. Since I'll only have one night, I think, but possibly two, I want to have what the experts here feel is a don't miss place! Then it's off for the 5 hour drive to St. Louis, wheee!


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  1. there should be plenty of comment about where to eat bbq while visiting in kc, but since you're headed east to St Louis-- pick up some LC's to-go for the drive.

    9 Replies
    1. re: goroe

      LC's left me very unimpressed, but then, I don't eat ribs. Strictly a burnt-ends guy. Theirs were not as crunchy and chewy as I like. I suppose I'll give 'em another shot, but for now, and for burnt ends and beans:

      #1 Jack Stack's
      #2 Smokestack north of KC
      #3 Smokestack on Wornall

      Reminds me, I should pass near #2 tomorrow on the way to the airport. Can you take BBQ on a plane? Seriously. The airlines might think it sloppy and smelly.

      1. re: sigerson57

        #2 Smokestack north of KC???? Could you be referring to Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in Gladstone on N. Oak or in Zona Rosa? I'm just not aware of a Smokestack north of the river.

        I have to agree with you, if it's Smokehouse you're referring to. I love their baby back ribs and burnt ends. Oh, and the Gladstoner sandwich, yum! They also have the best baked beans.

      2. re: goroe

        LC's is the most overrated place in town. I don't understand why people like it so much. If you in that area do yourself a favor and go to Big T's instead. LC's is full of fatty meat, Big T's is nothing but tender flavorful meat. Best burnt ends in town. For the past year my dad and I have eaten bbq every weekend, I have been to 90% of the places in KC and Big T's is hands down the best. Great baked beans with pieces of meat in the sauce, with each plate of food you get a heated cup of bbq sauce that is unbelievable.

        1. re: bbq_lover

          agreed on the fatty factor. mcgonigles has some great sliced brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage (haven't had that yet) and smoked their deli case every day. Where is Big T's?

          1. re: jdl98

            one Big T's location is on blue parkway about two minutes from LC's. if you head towards raytown from LC's you will see T's on your right, it is where Niecie's used to be. I am not sure if anyone is familiar with an old bbq place called Oscars? Big T's is in the same location and is owned by Oscar's son.

            6201 Blue Pkwy, Kansas City, MO

            the other location is near bannister mall on blue ridge, it isn't nearly as nice as the new location on blue parkway.

            6201 Blue Pkwy, Kansas City, MO

              1. re: bbq_lover

                I seriously think that the LC's myth is all about hungry commuters who drive by it every afternoon. Smelling, but unable to actually eat it.

            1. re: bbq_lover

              You might have just hit on why I find LC's the best. The fat. I haven't had any that were "Full" of fatty meat, but they do have more than any other place I've tried.
              Fat = Flavor. Fat = a little greasy. That's how I like my Burnt Ends. Every other place I've had them comes across as just lean, somewhat dry, brisket that rather than sliced, is cubed.
              LC's are a different food entirely.

              1. re: Bobfrmia

                I agree some fat is ok, last time I got a sandwich at LC's it was about 1/3 pure fat, and not the good tasty kind of fat.

          2. Lifelong BBQ lover and KC res:

            #1: Arthur Bryants on Brooklyn (forget the haters)
            #2: Jack Stack's Freighthouse
            #3: Oklahoma Joe's

            Arthur Bryant's Barbeque
            1727 Brooklyn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64127

            Oklahoma Joe's BBQ & Catering
            3002 W 47th Ave, Kansas City, KS 66103

            Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbeque
            101 W 22nd St Ste 300, Kansas City, MO 64108

            1 Reply
            1. re: reubensandperrier

              Jack Stack is "nicer" and really good. Arthur Bryants is hardcore and really good. I do love Smokehouse on Wornall, too. But I can easily pick it up and take it home - not a great atmosphere but, then again, most BBQ places don't have that. LC's...good but I haven't been crazy about it lately.

            2. can't comment on KC Q. but if you're unfamiliar with the drive to STL, whatever you do, don't speed through the county just West of Columbia (Boonville is the county seat - nice town, but that part of 70 is a total speed trap) instead take 50 if it's an option (much more scenic and really only a half hour or so more anyway) and stop in Sedalia for a burger if that place is still around. can't miss it, a drive-in right on the main drag, which is what 50 turns into before heading out of town.

              and check out the BBQ in STL while there, it's not all Tony Roma's (ecch). it's more of a Memphis 'wet' than KC, but they all have their own merits. (I don't want to start any 'which is better' comparisons) - as long as there are pits and sauce, the world is big enough for us all.

              1. I hate to disagree with Hill Food, but the 50 highway route across Missouri takes wayyy longer than the 70 route. Going the speed limit, you can get from KC to STL in four hours. Now once you are in the STL, that's another story. One of their main interstates is completely shut down for improvements. If you do go to Sedalia, the Wheel Inn is no longer at their old location but further south on 65 on the left. Home of the GooberBurger. Columbia is halfway on the 70 route and has a number of chow-worthy restaurants. And skip the Q in STL. Fill up in KC.

                20 Replies
                1. re: steveb

                  I forgot the name, saw that on the other thread and at first was disheartened, Wheel-Inn rocks.

                  ok so 50 does take much longer in real minutes, but it's much more fun than 70. how else would I have found places like the Wheel-Inn? and conversely I would never have attempted 87 MPH in a 55 on 50, as I did one sunny January day on I-70 outside of Boonville (idiot - I knew the area better than that).

                  I-64/40 is what is closed in STL between (I think) 270 and 170.

                  as far as the BBQ comment - I'm not going to get into a shoving match, I'd rather study the influences and I think the differences in such a relatively close proximity are interesting. Texas owes a lot to KC and STL owes a lot to places lower on the Mississippi. where in the heck the Carolinas came up with a mustard based sauce is beyond me, but that's good too.

                  1. re: hill food

                    Don't forget the vinegar based bbq in North Carolina - many there will kill you for it anyday over mustard-based.

                    1. re: hill food

                      Sorry, Hill Food. If my reports are correct, Wheel Inn is no more.

                      1. re: sigerson57

                        NO!! say it ain't so. someone just posted here on another thread it only moved...


                        1. re: hill food

                          I saw that thread, too. Maybe the place has received a temporary reprieve. Construction projects always start later and cost more than planned.

                          Progress stinks.

                            1. re: sigerson57

                              danke, or more properly Viel Danks.

                          1. re: sigerson57

                            I ate at the Wheel Inn's new location in early October. It just moved but it still has the same great menu

                          2. re: hill food

                            "Texas owes a lot to KC..."

                            Right. Nobody in Texas can forget how that good ol' Kansas City boy, Arthur Bryant, started it all when he came down from Missouri to Texas to open a 'cue joint and show the local folks how to do it way back in...

                            Oh wait...

                            1. re: Jaymes

                              Jaymes, like most Texans, it seems that your opinion needs a dose of reality. Way back when, Charlie Bryant came to KC with a technique of smoked meats and a sauce recipe that was so overwhelmingly hot that no one could eat it. His younger brother, Arthur and his contempories took this technique and refined it to create the World's Greatest Barbeque.

                              1. re: powillie

                                Oh, I'm sorry.

                                And where was Arthur, who "refined the technique," from again?

                                I guess that's where I'm mistaken when I say that I strongly doubt Texas "owes a lot to KC."

                                I think Texas barbecue owes nothing to KC. And that, in fact, KC owes a lot to Texas.

                                Although as I've said elsewhere, if we're comparing the two regions today, I think it's about even.

                                But saying that Texas barbecue owes a lot to KC (even if we overlook that sickeningly sweet sauce y'all seem so proud of) is flat wrong.

                                1. re: powillie

                                  I just want to add something -

                                  It's one thing to say that you prefer Kansas City barbecue over Texas, or anyone else's. That's subjective. And most people, certainly I, will respect your opinion, assuming you've sampled enough of whatever product you're discussing to understand the differences.

                                  But saying that "Texas owes a lot to KC" is a statement of fact. Which is either true or untrue. I'm not a food historian, and I haven't done extensive research, but I do know that the best and most representative barbecue in Texas is in Central Texas, in places like Kreuz Market, founded in 1900 by German immigrants that missed the smoked meats of their homeland.

                                  So it's impossible for me to understand how a bunch of homesick Germans that began smoking meats in Central Texas around the turn of the last century using the traditional methods they learned in the Old Country owes anything at all to Kansas City, a city over 750 miles away, where folks began cooking 'cue decades later.

                                  Perhaps Texans are not the ones that "need a dose of reality."

                                  Of course, if you have any empirical evidence to the contrary, I'll have no problem admitting I'm wrong.

                                  1. re: Jaymes

                                    Not saying anyone owes anyone anything but.... Henry Perry started barbecuing in Kansas City about 1907 or so.


                                    1. re: chileheadmike

                                      And perhaps "not saying anyone owes anyone" is the best answer.

                            2. re: steveb

                              i went to Stl and searched high and low for decent bbq places, didn't find any. ate at three and wouldn't recommend them to my enemy. To reply to the Sedalia bbq.. if you are on 50 and go through Sedalia then you will also go through Warrensburg, home of Perry Foster's Georgia Style BBQ. Take the highway 13 exit off of 50 and head towards town.

                              1. re: bbq_lover

                                you won't find them, they're in really crappy neighborhoods and are usu. just a guy with a homemade smoker at the height of summer on the edge of a strip mall half-occupied by dollar stores. but this thread is about KC and I don't want to hijack it.

                                I may have to stop in Warrensburg next time I go that route...

                                1. re: hill food

                                  I would definitely recommend the warrensburg trip. if you order a double sandwich good luck on finishing it. Perry also has sweet potato fries, very tasty

                                  Perry Foster Bar-B-Que‎
                                  1201 S Highway 13, Warrensburg, MO
                                  (660) 429-6077

                                2. re: bbq_lover

                                  I dunno...i used to go to school in warrensburg. the town is really small and you can eat your way through in about 2 weeks...

                                  perry fosters was definately not high on my list...or anybodys for that matter. the meat is DRY and gristly. The sweet potato fries are great, but I was turned off by the buzzing flies the few times I visited.

                                  1. re: asiansensation007

                                    well i can't argue with the flies, to me that was part of the atmosphere. as far as the meat being dry, not sure how that is possible when it comes covered in sauce. it is about 40 minutes from me and i still drive down there sometimes just to eat. i went to school there for a year and ate there regularly as did all of my friends. when jeff george was in the nfl, george would call perry and have him come to town kc with enough bbq for his entire team.

                              2. LC's Burnt Ends
                                Gates (Not everyone's favorite)
                                OK Joe's

                                I'm not a fan of Jacks, there's little smoke flavor in their barbecue and I don't care for their brisket.

                                1 Reply