Barbecue by Munchin’ Hogs at Cafe Weatherby (Hilton Kansas City Airport)
On my recent trip to KC, I hopped a 6:30am flight from California just so I could get to Café Weatherby by lunch time to try Munchin’ Hogs barbecue at the Hilton by the airport. More about Munchin’ Hogs in this thread including a report from “2roadsdiverge”, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/813025#6914309
This page of the menu has more about the Munchin’ Hogs team and its pitmaster, Rob Magee, the executive chef at the Hilton. Short version: Magee and his team are among the top winners in Kansas City Barbecue Society history.
I’d been a little concerned that with the American Royal Invitational barbecue contest scheduled to start the next day that he might not be in the kitchen. Not only was he in the kitchen, I had a chance to chat with him.
First up, the sparerib appetizer – St Louis style, three bones, medium smoke level, marked on the grill and served with a drizzle of sauce over, pickles and coleslaw. I was happy to see a light hand with the sauce, as KC-style drowning can be hard for me to take. The sauce was undistinguished, pretty sweet and probably dialed in to not offend anyone. And I was a little amused to see ‘cue plated so attractively on white porcelain.
Nice meaty ribs, but a little overdone and starting to dry out and pull from the bone. Here’s the side view and the underside for the BBQ cognoscenti to analyze.
Then the Traditional BBQ brisket sandwich, $10, on a brioche bun with salad (instead of fries) – Thin slices piled high and drizzled with sauce, and more sauce swabbed on the bun and alongside, that looks like this.
While I’m all about the meat, and frequently wipe sauce off ‘cue before eating it, I liked this sauce quite a bit. The sauce is spicy hot, helping keep the sweetness in check with a definite kick, and it tastes pretty meaty too. When Magee returned to check on me, I was full of praise for his brisket and sauce. He said that he developed this one specifically for beef brisket and he wins with it.
And as a meat obsessive, I flipped over the pile of meat to take a closer look at the brisket itself. Just the right amount of fat for beefy richness, the open-grained, marbled texture suggests that most of this was shaved from the point cut of the brisket. Moderately smoke notes, very juicy, tender, and bold beef flavor revved up with the spicy sauce made for a great sandwich on the eggy bun.
The contest rep who originally told me about this undiscovered barbecue had described it as Oklahome Joe’s quality without the crowds. I definitely concur and Cafe Weatherby will be a must-stop each time I’m in KC.
Munchin’ Hogs @ the Hilton
8801 NW 112th Street
Kansas City, MO
Weekly specials posted on FB
Well, looks like BBQ greatness has left the building.
"Rob Magee, former Hilton chef turn entrepreneur, now opening a BBQ restaurant in Kansas City"
KC folks, please keep us posted on Magee's new place, Q39.
"A long-closed restaurant, the former Oriental Feast Buffet at 1000 West 39th Street, will reopen as Q39 - a barbecue restaurant serving alcohol and operated by chef Rob Magee - in April."
Wish I could join you!
Just looked up the Team of the Year standings and Munchin' Hogs is currently in second place.
http://kcbs.us/pointschase.php In 2011, the team took top honors and has consistently been a points leader.
Besides the food, I'll mention that at lunch time (~ 1:30p), the restaurant was nearly empty. Only two or three other tables of diners. Magee was taking a break to talk with his team who were eating there after loading up the trailer for a 2-contest weekend. Easy to park too. This was the right start to my weekend in KC.