19 Reasons Why Kansas City Barbecue is the Best

Did you hear that, Texas?

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   Reason No. 14

   Even Vegans Can Eat Our BBQ

   Words Kate baxendale


  Jackfruit BBQ


   No, that’s not a dinosaur egg. It’s jackfruit, a relative of figs that grows in tropical areas of Southeast Asia, Brazil and Africa. Its flesh is similar in color to a cantaloupe, but the texture is meaty like chicken or pork. Jackfruit has a mild flavor, so it easily absorbs any seasonings or sauces it’s mixed with.

   Edward Watts, owner of Peaceful Pig Vegan BBQ, offers a vegan “pulled pork” sandwich made of smoked jackfruit. He buys the organic fruit from a farm in Sri Lanka. To make a vegan barbecue sandwich, the jackfruit is cut in half (this takes a bit of elbow grease, as the thick, spiky exterior is fairly tough) and the pits are separated from the flesh. Then it’s shredded just like chicken or pork. To make the sweet fruit savory, Watts adds a dry rub and fries it. Then the fruit is wood-smoked and mixed with tomato-based sauce. Peaceful Pig has three sauces: original, sweet mustard and spicy.

   Watts, being a vegan himself, decided to introduce vegan barbecue to Kansas City after years of struggling to find vegan options when dining out. He began working on this concept two years ago and launched Peaceful Pig as a food cart in June. The cart, which is towed with his car, holds about 150 sandwiches that are prepared in a commercial kitchen. And you better act fast, because once they’re gone, they’re gone. Watts also offers a “burnt ends” sandwich made with organic portabella mushrooms. The mushrooms are slathered in a dry rub, fried and smoked, then Watts blasts them with a blowtorch to give them a nice char. To find out where Peaceful Pig will be next, visit facebook.com/peacefulpigveganbbq.

   Reason No. 15

   Because We Have Music to 'Cue To

   words Kate Baxendale



   We encourage at-home pitmasteres to choose a bangin' soundtrack while those ribs are smoking low and slow. Lucky for you, legendary alto saxophonist Bobby Watson recorded The Gates BBQ Suite with the help ofUMKC Conservatory's Concert Jazz Orchestra. The seven0part suite is an ode to Watson's hometown of KC, and, of course barbecue. The self-produced "labor of love" is packed with soulful rhythm, funky bass lines and surging horns. With hits like "Beef on Bun," "The President's Tray" and "Heavy on the Sauce!" you'll be firing up the grill — and tapping your feet — in no time.

   Reason No. 16

   Because We Do Meat Math

   Ever wonder just how much meat was being cooked at last month's American Royal? 435's intrepid barbecue experts weighed in.

32,8000 pounds of pork

+ 31,160 pounds of beef

+ 16,400 pounds of chicken

+41,000 pounds of ribs

= 121 pounds of meat

That's enough to fill 20,226 picnic tables with barbecue!  

   Reason No. 17

   Because We're Snooty (Kind Of)

   Words Ardie Davis



   Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, I’d like to really chow down on a pig snoot sandwich”?

   I’m going to guess that your answer to that question is most likely a great big no, but just in case you’re curious about going nose-to-nose with swine, here’s the lowdown on pig snoot which, believe it or not, has a growing culinary fan base.

  • Pig snoot is not a sanctioned meat category by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, but KCBS President and self-proclaimed pig snoot fan Mark Simmons says you could enter a pig snoot in an ancillary barbecue category.


  • Pig snoot aficionados describe the meat as “bacon’s awesome cousin” with “really tasty fat.”


  • More pig snoots are sold in St. Louis than Kansas City.  


  • The nutritional breakdown of pig snoots is: 30 grams of protein, 19 percent fat, 4 percent fiber and 300 calories


  • The Tenderloin Grill on Southwest Boulevard offers a boiled snoot sandwich.


  • Pig “snooters” say the best way to enjoy a pig snoot sandwich is to slather on the mustard, horseradish, hot sauce, tomato and onion. A cold beer was also called a must-have.

   Reason No. 18

   Because This Is What We Call a Power Lunch   

   Words Allyson Wilson


   Every month at 11:30 a.m. Johnny’s Bar-B-Que in Mission becomes the headquarters of a (not so) secret society barbecue lunch. Here, the secret handshake is a mouthwatering tray of ‘cue and a friendly smile (extra points if you order Ardie Davis’ piled-high pulled pork namesake, The Remus). Though its usual suspects are typically Kansas City Barbeque Society members like recent Chopped Grill Masters winner Megan Day and KCBS co-founder Carolyn Wells, creator John Ross designed the monthly gathering for ‘cue lovers of all kinds. At this monthly communion, you’ll rub shoulders and swap sauce with the likes of ‘cue aficionados and seasoned cooks to judges, competition barbecue teams and board members. So come one, come all, but most of all, come hungry. You’re with family now.

   Reason No. 19

   Maps Don't Lie



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