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Apr 15, 2011 01:33 PM

KC: Oklahoma Joe's -- BBQ that delivers exactly as promised

I've not been to Kansas City as many times as I would like, but each time I'm there I make it my business to sample some of the extraordinary barbecue available in that fine town. I've read about Oklahoma Joe's repeatedly over the years but had never been able to manage a visit. I finally corrected that problem last week. I can tell you that I will do my best never to miss an opportunity to return.

Quite simply, this is the best barbecue I've ever eaten. I had the ribs and the brisket with a side order of beans. Each item surpassed all expectations. To top that off (literally and figuratively), the barbecue sauce is one of the finest examples I've ever tasted.

Don't let the line extending out the door keep you from having this outstanding dining experience. It's worth the wait.

Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue
302 W 47th Ave, Kansas City, KS 66103

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  1. Nice report.

    We moved from KC about a year ago. The things I miss most foodwise are barbecue and Mexican. I haven't found anything here close to El Camino Real, or OKie Joe's.

    OK Joe's is one of the top barbecue joints in KC and the line outside is no fluke. But I think the burnt ends at LC's is the single best barbecue item in KC. Also, check out Brobeck's at 106th and Roe for ribs. As good as OKJ"s are, I think Brobeck's are better.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chileheadmike

      I need to get to KC-for some Brobeck's ribs.

      1. re: chileheadmike

        I love OK J's bbq, but I was grossly disappointed in their burnt ends. I had seen nothing but raves, but I thought they were terrible.

        I haven't been to KC in about a year and a half, and I hardly every get there nowadays (although hoping for another trip in the near future). Since I am not there very much anymore, I don't keep up with what BBQ places are good now.

        But I will have to try LC's next time I am there. I love burnt ends!

        1. re: lalajane

          I'm curious. What was it about the burnt end that you didn't like? I've had their brisket, pulled pork, and ribs, all have been excellent. I don't think I've ever had their burnt ends.

          1. re: chileheadmike

            Like obscenity, I know it when I see it? Or in this case, taste it. Hard for me to describe.

            In general, BE should be crispy on the outside, sort of a caramelize-y burnt, and then some moist meat on the inside. But not charcoal burnt and not *just* burnt. I am ok with some chew, but you should be able to actually chew it.

            The ones I had tasted like they completely burnt a brisket, peeled off that char as you would tree bark, and then served that. It was so hard I couldn't chew it at all; it really was like tree bark, only burnt. And there was really no meat with the "bark". They were so dry I thought they would disintegrate to ash, except much too tough to disintegrate. And no amount of sauce helped this out.

            I was somewhat suspicious due to the fact they only serve BE on certain days. If you are making brisket every day, shouldn't you also have BE every day? I get you would likely run out (unless you are just making faux BE - chopping up brisket and returning it/not really just using the ends).

            Like I said, I like the rest of their BBQ a lot, so I will always eat there; just not the BE.

            1. re: lalajane

              I think you've hit on a point that I've hard many people curious about before--how are these restaurants pumping out so many burnt ends? I've never once heard of anyone that has had anything but burnt ends at LC's. Where are they coming from? Where is the rest of the brisket going? Jack Stack does a huge catering business, so I am a little more understanding of their burnt end excess. However, I think a lot of people suspect that you aren't eating burnt ends in the truest sense at a lot of these places. I guess I don't really care though, if you feed me something delicious, I'm happy.

              I've never had the burnt ends at Ok Joe's, for what it's worth. Too difficult to get something other than pork or ribs.

      2. Agreed. We ate there recently for first time and decided it was the best all-around BBQ. .We ate pulled pork, ribs, sliced sausage, and a z-man sandwich, which is beef brisket topped with smoked provolone and an onion rings. Complemented with some sides of slaw and beans, which have black beans as well as meat in sauce. Plus Boulevard Pilsner. Plus I think you can still buy gasoline there, so what more would you need?
        By way of comparison, every other BBQ place we have tried in KC, OK, TX, TN, or KY has had a downfall in at least one area i.e. great ribs but bad sides. This does not seem to be a problem at Ok Joe's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Okcfind

          Huge OK Joe's fan here as well and miss it greatly. That said, I did try Franklin BBQ in Austin in July and it was incredible. Couldn't tell you about the sides though. Love me some OK Joe's fries!

        2. Went to KC/Lawrence last year and went to OK Joe's and my DD loves good BBQ and he said this was the best he's ever had.
          You went to the Gas station location?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            Not sure who you're asking, Beach Chick, but I did, indeed, go to the gas station location. Just the memory of that meal makes my taste buds ache for some more.

            1. re: alan

              I was asking you Alan...isn't OK Joe's some of the best and love that Gas Station location..
              Did you buy some extra sauce to have the memory last a little longer?
              Wish they would deliver to San Diego..

          2. If you loved the ribs & brisket, next time have the burnt ends an you'll just fall over and die from pure pleasure. Or possibly your tongue will just slap ya forehead, but they're good.

            1. Also agree. Love the Gas Station location! I am from St. Louis so don't get there often enough.