Building The Perfect Kansas City Barbeque Plate

kansas city barbeque

National Barbeque Month rolls on. I am passionate about KC ‘que. Last summer, I set out to find the best new BBQ spots in town. I went on a meat conquest. Exploring the nooks and crannies of KC, looking for the new craft BBQ spots I’d been hearing so much about…and some I hadn’t. I was blown away at every turn.

With temps rising (eventually), I plan on continuing to broaden my meat horizons this summer all over KC and the surrounding region.

After going on this spiritual journey, I am now often asked what my favorite place for BBQ is in KC. The truth is that I just can’t pick one. But what I can do is tell you what my perfect KC BBQ plate looks like.

Here it is.

Appetizer #1
Smoked Salmon Dip | Jack Stack – Don’t shy away from salmon at a barbeque joint. You’ll be surprised.

Appetizer #2
Pork Belly Corn Dogs | Q39 – Knockout southern comfort food starter that comes with real maple syrup. By “knockout starter” I mean it will knock you on your ass and you’ll be wanting a two-hour nap after one too many of these. Shoot your insulin levels skyward and prepare your gullet for the overstuffing that’s about to begin. You’ve been good. Go ahead.

Harp BBQ – He’s going to end up being the king of KC barbeque this decade because he is singlehandedly proving Daniel Vaughn wrong about KC’s meat. It’s a legitimate vendetta because this is the best meat in KC and I’d argue among the best in the country. Rich, dense, fatty, moist, perfectly finished brisket. Skip the sauce. You won’t need it.

Burnt Ends
LC’s BBQ – Anthony Bourdain’s favorite KC smokehouse dive has the best burnt ends by a mile. Their burnt ends are what burnt ends are supposed to be. Sweet, salty, with a perfectly caramelized crunch, doused in a sweet and spicy sauce.

Pulled Pork
Porky’s Blazin’ BBQ – At the end of Bannister road in Grain Valley sits Porky’s Blazin BBQ. The pulled pork melts in your mouth. Pair it up with some Barq’s red creme soda from the fountain, you’re in heaven.

Chef J BBQ – Everything on the menu is good at Chef J and he’s got the most unique setup in the city. Dude just plopped a smoker on the street outside of a haunted house and started ringing the dinner bell. A lot of places will go for baby back ribs because of their high yield, but Chef J sticks with pork spare ribs to pleasing results.

Harp BBQ – Sausage has long been a sore subject in KC BBQ. You can only do jalapeno/cheddar and kielbasa so many times. Harp BBQ has introduced KC to the true art of encased meat. He rolls out exotic blends of boudin, panang curry, ghost pepper and cheddar, cajun shrimp poutine sausages. Nobody is on this level in KC right now.

I’ve been telling you to get your ass to Raytown on Saturdays for the last year. I would never recommend you do that unless I was positively certain it would be worth it.

Smoked Chicken | Kurzweil’s Country Meats (Harrisonville) – The place that made me fall in love with barbeque. My family used to stop at this little spot off Highway 50 on the way to my uncle’s farm in Garden City or en route to the Lake of the Ozarks and pick up a whole smoked chicken. It’s perfectly moist and with a salty smoky flavor that is so simple. Great bird. Great sausages (burnt ends sausage ooooof). Great deli meats.

Burnt Heaven | Char Bar – Burnt ends, smoked sausage, fried jalapenos, chipotle mayo, slaw. I’m sweating profusely. Like Gandalf defeating the mighty Balrog in The Two Towers, the Burnt Heaven rightfully dethroned the Z-Man as the best barbeque sando in KC.

“I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin.”

Pulled Pork | Scott’s Kitchen – Check your child’s palate at the door. This place amps up the heat like a girlfriend on a 58-degree day in October. Whenever I’m up by the airport, I always make a stop at Scott’s Kitchen. The pulled pork tacos have red chile salsa, jalapeño apple slaw and ghost pepper jack cheese so I recommend picking them up on the way home or else you’re going to end up on the no-fly list after what you do to the bathroom at your connecting airport.

Side #1
Jalapeno Apple Slaw | Scott’s Kitchen – Like I said, Scott’s dials up the heat more than any place in KC. He also offsets the heat with some tremendous sides like this sweet slaw, pickle and egg potato salad and cheesy potatoes.

Side #2
White Bean Cassoulet | Q39 – I love this side. It’s white bean chili with a fancy name. Couple dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce on top? Load me up.

Side #3
French Fries | Arthur Bryant’s – Kansas Citians love french fries. We’re a great, fat American city and what great, fat American city doesn’t love french fries. I encourage everyone to reject the idea that fries are a traditional barbeque side. Ppen your mind…but the thicc boi fries at Bryant’s are just too good to leave off the list.

A nap.