19 Reasons Why Kansas City Barbecue is the Best

Did you hear that, Texas?

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   Reason No. 9

   We have a Barbecue Oath

   OK, maybe it's not something kids recite in school after the Pledge of Allegiance, but the Kansas City Barbeque Society requires that each judge upon certification takes an oath. Feel free to raise your right hand (or burnt end) and proclaim while wiping sauce off your face this sacred last stanza:

"So that truth, justice, excellence in barbecue and the American way of life may be strengthened and preserved forever." 

   Reason No. 10

   Because Barbecue is Not All Fun and Games... Until it Is...


From Start to Finish:

Found the perfect cut of ribs. Move up four spaces

Got lost on the way to competition. Go back to start.

Jump over Burnt End Bridge two spaces!

Mushy pork. Lose a turn.

Slide through sauce strail.

Went overboard on the spices. Go back two spaces.

Slide through sauce trail.

Oops... Slipped on a lettuce leaf. Go back to start.

Sauce too chunky. Go back to start. You made the perfect pulled pork. Move up two spaces.

Brisket overcooked. Lose a turn. 

Ribs made judges swoon. Move up three spaces.

Got in a fight with your crew. Go back to start. 

Slipped on sauce. Go back to start. 

Illegal use of a garnish. Go back two spaces. 

   Reason No. 11

   Barbecue or Marriage?

      Words Sherry Kuehl


Megan Day KC Chopped Winner

Megan Day


   True Confessions: Barbecue Almost Broke Up My Marriage

   Lee’s Summit newlywed Megan Day had a big problem. She feared she was losing her husband. All the signs were there that her spouse, Jason, might be sharing his affections.

   He was gone for entire weekends. When he was home, he seemed preoccupied and distant. Even worse, Megan knew the siren seducing her husband. She had begged him to give up his other relationship while they planned their wedding. She said everything seemed OK until the weekend they got back from their honeymoon — yes, the very weekend — when Jason brazenly returned to his other love.

   Megan, not one to give up or give in, decided she had no choice but to fight for her marriage. She did what she had to do and joined her husband in the smoky pits. This intrepid bride, in the name of love, embraced the world of competitive barbecue. She even made, perhaps, the ultimate marital sacrifice: letting her husband thaw frozen pigs in their bathtub.

   Fast forward a few anniversaries and Megan and Jason are now a formidable team in marriage and barbecue. There’s been a New York Times best-selling barbecue book and an online marketplace of their barbecue goodies. The couple competing under the name Burnt Finger BBQ is consistently killing it on the competition circuit.

   The sauce on top of the brisket was when Megan recently won Round 1 of the Food Network’s Chopped Grill Masters with offerings that had the judges rhapsodizing.

   Even the arrival of two children hasn’t slowed this ‘cue couple down. Their son, Hank, went to his first competition when he was mere 3 weeks old. Now 4, he’s already competing and winning. This past summer he was awarded Reserve Grand Champion for his pork chops. (That’s right; preschoolers are cooking. What’s your excuse now for ordering in?)

   Megan says her daughter, Meredith, who’s 3, is also showing signs of being a barbecue tour de force.

   “She’s tough and already into spices and rubs and is jealous when her little brother gets to compete,” Megan says.

   It might the smoked pulled pork talking, but I think I smell a barbecue family dynasty in the works.

   Reason No. 12

   Our 'Cue Kids are Cuter


Hank Day Megan Day Chopped Winner

Hank Day working on a rib teething ring. 

   Reason No. 13

   Because Barbecue, I Just Can't Quit You

   Words Sherry Kuehl


Loren and Cheryll Hill BBQ competitors


   Barbecue power couple Loren and Cheryl Hill are dedicated competitors. 

   Loren Hill tried. Boy, did he try, but no matter what other hobby he got into, the siren song of competition barbecue was just too strong. He kept on getting pulled back in.

   Hill says he started competition barbecuing back in the ‘90s with his brother, and he will, without shame, admit that they were “awful.”

   “We drank a lot of beer and had a really good time, but we were not good at it, at all,” Hill says.

   Not even the action-packed world of stock car racing could cure his competitive ‘cue affliction. He says there’s just nothing that compares to barbecue.

   “No kidding, while I was racing stock cars I would go visit friends at barbecue competitions, and it would just call to me,” he says.

   Things got serious in 2006. That’s when Hill reentered barbecue circuit, and this time he had a secret weapon: his wife, Cheryl. Competing under the name "The Smoking Hills," the couple has proven to be a formidable team — with 19 Grand Championships and 21 Reserve Grand Championships and counting.

   The highlight Loren says was winning $100,000 in the World of Food Championships. 

   Now, more than a decade and almost 300 barbecue competitions later, this duo is still not burned out on the ‘cue circuit, even though they travel across the country competing from California to Florida and points in between. Cheryl, who still works full-time, says this year they’ll probably end up going to 30 competitions.

   The Hills, when pressed for what their secret to winning is, would only say one word: consistency. 


Click here to see the Top 24 Barbecue Joints in Kansas City.