Famous Barbecue Restaurants in Kansas City

I love KC BBQ!  Coming from St. Louis, and growing up on Italian food, bbq was not a staple part of my diet.  Coming to KC and trying incredible barbecue was a treat! And there is history in the KC barbecue too! 

One of Kansas City's many claims to fame is its rich history involving the evolution of barbecuing and the wonderful Kansas City style barbecue sauces that originated in the area. Kansas City has a deep affection for its barbecue, and it shows that affection by supporting over 100 barbecue restaurants, and by hosting some of the biggest barbecue festivals and competitions in the United States.

Henry Perry is nicknamed the "Father of K.C. Barbecue" by Kansas City residents. In the 1920's, Perry started cooking over an open fire pit and serving customers the barbecue in paper wrappers when he moved into a converted streetcar. Instead of a rub, a sweet and tangy sauce was developed and quickly became known as Kansas City style sauce. Kansas City barbecue is also always slow smoked over wood chips for many hours. Many famous Kansas City barbecue restaurants were started by men who learned the trade from Perry.
The most noted barbecue restaurant in the Kansas City area is Arthur Bryant's. Arthur Bryant bought the business from his brother, who learned from Henry Perry. Arthur Bryant is known as the "King of Ribs" for the fall off the bone tenderness and amazingly good sauce on the ribs. Celebrities, tourists and Kansas City residents have all visited Arthur Bryant's and left knowing what real barbecue means! Bryant's offers pulled pork or beef sandwiches, the best ribs anywhere, and a Kansas City favorite, burnt ends. Burnt ends are the crispy end piece of the rib, usually served with fries.

Established in 1946, Gates is another popular barbecue restaurant in Kansas City. Gates has several locations, with the original store at 19th and Vine. One of the founders of Gates BBQ, Arthur Pinkard, had also trained under Perry. "Burnt ends", a Gates favorite and Kansas City original, are cut from the end of a brisket and served on a bun with pickles on the side. Gates is well known for its sweet and tangy barbecue sauces which are sold in the restaurants and on grocery shelves, with much success.
Fiorellas Jack Stack Barbecue is not your typical barbecue joint in Kansas City. Started in 1957 by the Fiorella family, the restaurant then was small with just 5-6 selections. When Jack Stacks started using Hickory wood chips in a brick oven and expanded the menu selection, they quickly became known for having the largest barbecue menu in America. Here at Jack Stacks the barbecue ranges from New Zealand Rack of Lamb to Grilled Jumbo Shrimp. The atmosphere here is a bit more refined compared to other barbecue restaurants. Jack Stacks offers a full bar, large relaxing dining area and an extensive menu. Of course the ribs and the brisket are barbecued to perfection, routinely winning Zagat's rating of Americas Best Barbecue!
Oklahoma (Now Kansas City) Joe's in Kansas City was started by less traditional methods. Born from the combination of a competition barbecue team and the owner of Oklahoma Joe's Smoker Company, the restaurant opened in 1996. Sitting inside an old gas station, the atmosphere of the restaurant is relaxed and fun. Oklahoma Joe's has been noted by Zagat and featured on national television. The food ranges from simple barbecue sandwiches of beef or pork to whole plates of ribs and great side dishes. The favorite at Oklahoma Joe's is the Z Man sandwich, made with barbecue brisket sliced with provolone cheese and onion rings, served with their famous sauce.
Kansas City takes its barbecue very seriously, , and I obviously do as well now! Over the years KC has perfected barbecuing into an art form. When visiting, stop into any of Kansas City's barbecue restaurants and see for yourself why Kansas City style barbecue is so loved.  I know why I love it...yum!

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