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if you could only go to one place in Kansas City for BBQ, where would it be?

So i'm driving from CO to NYC and am stopping in Kansas City. I'd like to get some BBQ and only have time for one place. So where should I go?

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  1. Oklahoma Joe's, at 47th and Mission Road in Kansas City, Kansas. I don't care how much hype it gets, it's still the best barbecue I've ever eaten anywhere in my life.

    If for some reason that doesn't work, Danny Edward's Boulevard BBQ is also top-top-notch. The only thing I don't like there is the sweet potato fries, which are fresh-made, but soggy.

    Arthur Bryant's and Gates Bar-B-Q are overrated.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dmd_kc

      Seconded on all counts. (It's like that guy's in my head.) All of the guidebooks will point you to Bryant's or Gates. You can do much better.

    2. I second Oklahoma Joe's

        1. Oklahoma Joe's has good bbq fare across the board - regardless of meat & sauce preference - the only thing that misses the mark is their sausage - BB's lawnside BBQ off 85th St. does GREAT work with their meat (burnt ends & ribs especially), though their sauce leaves something to be desired...very thin & apple juice based

          1. Was just in KC and had Arthur Bryant's. I thought it was awesome.

            It was also open on Sunday, which left Oklahoma Joe's out. If that factors into your plans, at all.

            Have heard many great things about Joe's, though. Don't think you could go wrong.

            I do think you could ask this question and get about 100 different, and valid opinions though. :)

            1. I'll be in KC in a couple of weeks and was just going to ask this question..
              OK Joe's it is..staying at the Hyatt...is it close to the hotel?

              8 Replies
              1. re: Beach Chick

                the Hyatt is only about 5 miles from Okl. Joe's - take main st. to 39th st. - go west to Rainbow blvd. then go south to 47th - then go west about 1/4 - 1/2 mile

                1. re: GDPhalp

                  There have been a lot of Kansas City BBQ discussions over the years on Chowhound. My favorite is LC's on Blue Parkway. I have never been to Oklahoma Joes but I hear it is good. I like Gates better than Arthur Bryants because I do not like Arthur Bryants sauce. Arthur Bryant's is overhyped in my opinion. I did not have a great experience at the original when I went there.

                  Bigray in Ok

                  1. re: Bigrayok

                    Arthur Bryants burnt ends are much more of a chopped sloppy joe - not really my cup of tea. Arthur Bryants rich & spicy sauce is far more balanced and tasty than the original, though if you decide to go. LC's, BB's & Brobeck's have excellent Burnt Ends. For me, bbq is all about the meat - with the sauce just being an enhancer. Oklahoma Joe's sauce is very good though, with my favorite being the Night of the Living BBQ sauce - spicy & delicious!

                    1. re: GDPhalp

                      Speaking of bbq sauce - if you do go to OK Joe's, I suggest buying Rufus Teague bbq sauce on the "shop" side of things - I recommend the blazin' hot

                      1. re: GDPhalp

                        Are you by any chance from Texas?

                      2. re: Bigrayok

                        I'm gonna have to jump on the LC's rec. If you've never had Burnt Ends, it's a must in K.C. LC's burnt ends are what heaven would taste like if it was a food.
                        You can almost taste this pic.

                        1. re: Bobfrmia

                          I love burnt ends and those look delicious. The one time I tried to go to LC's, it was Sunday and they were closed :( I need to try again.

                          1. re: jhojati

                            They do look fabulous. I wish I had been free on Saturday, but my Sunday options were limited.

                  2. Last time we were there, we had Brobecks and really liked it. We had the ribs. Naming one BBQ place in KC is like trying to name your favorite child. I also would recommend the lamb ribs which are kind of unique, @ Fiorella's Jack Stack. Then there is LC's....I can't name just one.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: wekick

                      Yeah, Brobecks is a very under-rated bbq establishment. I think a predominant reason for that is the fact that most people equate barbecue as an "urban" thing - with the best joints being in the "city". Brobecks, however, certainly breaks the mold. The owner used to be the pitmaster @ the Stillwell Smokehouse, in Stillwell, KS & he certainly knows his way around the pit. Located in the heart of Johnson County - Brobecks certainly holds its own. The ribs & burnt ends are outstanding & one of my favorite sides is the Smoked Ham Salad Dip. Served with housemade potato chips & crackers, this dip certainly packs a punch of flavor. Another nice thing is that in addition to his own sauces (traditional & carolina mustard) - he has a table set up with the "sauces of kc" - bryants, gates, masterpiece, sweet baby rays, curly's, etc.). For many here in Kansas City, unfortunately, the sauce is the 'que & the proprieter does an excellent job of satifying the masses.

                      1. re: GDPhalp

                        Really? The sauce? I am way more a fan of just great, smoked meats with no sauce. I add some to see how they taste usually, but good BBQ doesn't "need" sauce, unless you want it.

                        Well, next time I am down there with this much time to spare, which may be never, I will have to give another place a try. I just figured if I had been to KC a few times and hadn't even tried AB's, it would be like never having tried Stroud's or being in Chicago and not trying a street vendor Chi-dog...etc, etc.

                        1. re: Inthewater

                          Inthewater - next time you are down here you and I will go around and gorge on all of the bbq in the area that we can. Add in some beer, and it's a perfect man-date.

                          1. re: Inthewater

                            I have to agree that Brobeck's is near the top of the heap for KC barbecue.

                            Brisket and burnt ends are outstanding and I think their ribs are the best in KC.

                            The meat is served without sauce. You can add it if you wish. I rarely do.

                            1. re: chileheadmike

                              They also supply a small selection of their competition's sauces.

                            2. re: Inthewater

                              Texas--and to some extent NC--barbeque is more about the meat. KC barbeque, in my experience, tends to be more about the sauce.

                              1. re: mdzehnder

                                Could you explain your reasoning?

                                1. re: bbqboy

                                  Like I said, that's just been my experience. People I've talked to about Texas BBQ, and the Texas BBQ I've had, seem more interested in the meat itself--sauces are ok, but not really the point, and sometimes even a hindrance. In KC its seems more like the meat is a good and important foundation, but a good sauce is just as, if not slightly more, important.

                                  1. re: mdzehnder

                                    Interesting. I've always thought it was more about the wood used and the use of true wood burning pits in KC.

                                    1. re: bbqboy

                                      Oh I'm definitely not saying there aren't other factors involved in the Texas vs. KC barbeque question. I'm just saying that its always been my perception that there's a sauce vs. meat dichotomy, and TX tends to fall more on the meat side of that dichotomy, and KC tends to fall more on the sauce size. I'm sure there's much more complexity to it.

                        2. I'd also throw in Arthur Bryant's for atmosphere... and Gates for selection (and smoke). Lots of BBQ to choose from! :)

                          1. The classic Kansas City barbeque question is "Bryant's or Gates?" I like Bryant's but Kansas City has over 100 barbeque restaurants and all are good. Oklahoma Joe's is excellent, good smoke, good rub , the sauce just complements the meat. Highly recomended . I probably can't say this, but I refuse to eat at LC's.

                            1. Just reread your original post. On I-70 just east of downtown, take the Brooklyn exit to the right. At the light, take a right. Go through the light at Truman Road, about 500 feet. Before the light at 18th street, Arthur Bryant,s is located on the left. If it is close to Lunch, get in line. When you get to the counter, place your order. For the past 40+ years, for me, it has been a combo with fries, athough now one must specify beef with ham Get the original sauce for the authenic Arthur Bryant's experience. Ribs are good too. Although other joints may have a following and a history, Bryant's and Gate's have the have the classic question, "Bryant's or Gate's?"

                              1. I used to say Arthur Bryants for someone from out of town getting just one KC BBQ experience, but have recently shiffted. LC would be my "one place" recomendation regardless. And since you are driving through on I-70, it is one of the more handy locations as well, only a bit over a mile off of I-435, a few miles south of I-70.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: KansasTravel

                                  I have been a long-time supporter of LC's as the heir to AB's as the Kansas City BBQ flagship. We stopped there Friday afternoon and I was extremely disappointed. After his recent dust-up with the Health Department, LC has gone too far. The place is very clean and the meat was still extraordinary. Portions are more Gates-sized than AB's and the price remains very high ($9.95) but worst of all he has totally changed the fries. Lost are the lard (?) laden very tasty fries. The replacements are a half-done frozen variety that you can find anywhere. I think the banner goes back to AB's.

                                  1. re: BChow

                                    I am sorry to hear that. It was unchanged when I stopped there in February, shortly after it reopened.

                                2. OKLAHOMA JOES hands down. was there on business literally for one day and went out of my way to go there. it's in a gas station but it's fabulous. make sure you get the fries.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Mimosaesque

                                    We are from San Diego and went yesterday to Oklahoma Joe's (gas station location) and this was the best damn BBQ I have ever tasted!

                                    1. re: Mimosaesque

                                      OK Joes lacks what makes KC BBQ unique. Yes it is good BBQ but it's not KC style. It appeals to the masses. I don't been think they make their own sauce either. Bryants and Gates are KC BBQ!