Traveling from Mpls, MN to Joplin, MO
Just North of Joplin in Pittsburg, KS are two chicken joints called Chicken Mary's and Chicken Annie's.
They both opened in the 30s serving chicken to the local miners out of their homes with home raised chickens. They have grown over the years but chicken and sides are still very good and quite reasonable.
Kansas City has the BBQ.
1133 E 600th Ave, Pittsburg, KS 66762
Driving south through Kansas City on I-35, you will pass downtown and the freeway will curve to the right. Just past this you will pass from Missouri into Kansas. If you are not paying attention, you will never know the difference. Regardless, watch for the Mission Road exit. This will exit to the right and the sign will mention Merriam Lane or Southwest Blvd., but Mission Road is the important part. Take this exit and follow it as it curves to the left.. Ignore the two turn-offs to the right and continue straight up a rather long, steep hill.After the road flattens out, there will be a light at 43rd street. Continue going straight until you approach another light. This will be 47th street. Just before reaching the intersection, you will see an old gas station on the left. Pull in and park, you have just found Barbeque nirvana. OKJoes puts out a product that is comparable to what comes from my Weber, but they do it on a commercial scale and it's only a couple of miles out of the way.
By the way,the chicken joints near Pittsburg have been locally famous for a long time. Worth trying.