Traveling around as much as we have the past couple of years we've been able to get to most of the major BBQ areas in the country. (With the exception of Texas and we'll try to get to that this summer). In the last few weeks we traveled through Kansas city. We picked two popular local spots and set out to see what all the fuss was about. The first place we tried was Woodyard Bar-B-Que. Pretty well known, visited by many foodie TV programs including No Reservations and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
When we arrived for lunch there were only a couple of parties seated in the outdoor dining area. Fine by me, this was on of the few places we didn't have to wait in line to order.
We looked over the menu and made our choices. Chicken, ribs, sausage and brisket for me and a combo for the Dining Companion that included ribs, turkey, brisket and burnt ends.I had the cheesy corn side and the Dining Companion had the coleslaw. Our food arrived and we dug in. Nothing was really fabulous but nothing was awful either. The food was OK but not pilgrimage worthy, in my opinion, as some people have claimed. The ribs looked good but were fairly tasteless and a bit dry. I tried the burnt ends and the few bites I had were very chewy. I'm not an expert in burnt ends by any stretch but that wasn't the consistency I expected. Tastes vary and I get that but for us the whole experience was underwhelming. Our first foray into Kansas City BBQ was nothing to write home about.
Our next stop is also a very popular spot, Oklahoma Joe's Barbeque. We went to the original location that is located in a gas station. Here we did encounter a line of folks waiting to order lunch. Not only was there a line to order food the dining room was filled about to capacity when we got there. We looked over the menu and were ready to order when we made it up to the counter.
The Dining Companion ordered the brisket plate and I ordered the ribs and sausage. Now granted, Oklahoma Joe's may not be known for their brisket but that pile of roast beef masquerading as barbeque was just sad. As for my lunch, nothing special. The ribs were OK, a little on the dry side. But that sausage, what the heck is with those little slices? I don't get that presentation at all. The best part of my lunch was the toast. Truth.
That was our maiden voyage into the world of Kansas City BBQ. Maybe we ordered wrong? Maybe there's a secret that we don't know? Whatever the case we came away underwhelmed once again.
I was informed by a couple of people that we should have tried Arthur Bryant's. If, when, we make our way back to the area we'll give it a try. I have hope that there is a shining beacon of BBQ out there that we just managed to miss.
For my money this is what brisket should be like. And for the record this wasn't found in any BBQ hotspot we visited, it's from Minnesota. Review to come.