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Three Barbecue Pits to Dig Up in Kansas City

This blog post was updated on October 26, 2018.

To put Kansas City simply, it is a barbecue pit in the middle of America. Not often a traveler’s first choice for a getaway, barbecue enthusiasts however prefer to head to the middle of the United States for a taste of classic Kansas City barbecue. Known for its sweet sauces and dry rubs, Kansas City barbecue joints come in all shapes and sizes, from the corner gas station to the historic redbrick storefront. If your mouth is already salivating, here are a few Kansas City barbecue staples to seek out in the barbecue pit in America’s middle.

Arthur Bryant’s BBQ:
For a taste of history and good barbecue, most take their taste buds to Arthur Bryant’s BBQ while in Kansas City. Founded in the early 1920s by Charlie Bryant, his older brother Arthur would take over the business of barbecue. He set up the restaurant at 18th and Brooklyn and quickly became popular with locals, celebrities and even presidents. Some of the famous patrons to dine on Arthur’s dishes like the slow smoked pork ribs include Presidents Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter along with Steven Spielberg. As proof of Arthur Bryant’s popularity, the walls cover in portraits of those famous faces. Arthur Bryant’s BBQ is known for its ribs with burnt ends and the original recipe sauce, a mouthwatering dressing of pepper and vinegar flavors.

Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue and Catering:
Sometimes the best barbecue in Kansas City comes in the more unsuspecting locations. If anyone has ever told you to avoid eating at gas stations, you will have to put those cautions aside to dine at Oklahoma Joe’s barbecue and Catering. Housed within a working gas station, Oklahoma Joe’s was born out of a top competing barbecue team. The competition would drive the opening of the gas station location at West 47th Avenue in 1996. A line forms early to a taste their locally and national renowned barbecue. Many of those waiting in line are looking to feast on the Z Man, a sweet rub beef brisket topped with smoked provolone and onion rings.

Woodyard Bar-B-Que: If you picture your Kansas City barbecue in a shack with a smoker out back, this image isn’t just a figment of your imagination. Woodyard Bar-B-Que sets up in an old house with one of Kansas City’s last outdoor brick smokers. The space began as a store selling firewood and patio accessories. Owner Frank Schloegel III would cook his meat outside as he tended to customers. Eventually word got out about his smoking meat skills and a restaurant opened. Woodyard Bar-B-Que is known for its Burnt End chili along with the classics of ribs and brisket. It is no wonder that this Kansas City barbecue staple has appeared on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Antony Bourdain’s No Reservations.


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