Top 24 Barbecue Joints in Kansas City




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   Home to the World Series of Barbecue, the nation’s largest barbecue society and topper of national barbecue lists, it’s no question that Kansas City knows barbecue best. Naysayers aside — we’re looking at you Carolinas, Tennessee and Texas — we are confident that the following restaurants serve the best smoked meats in the country. We compiled the ‘cue community’s votes on which joints wear the ‘cue crown in this town. But don’t think of it as a best barbecue list; think of it as 24 more reasons why KC is the place to get your ‘cue fix.

 

   1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que

   Opened: 1996

   Pitmaster: Smokehouse crew

   Method: Missouri white oak; low and slow in Old Hickory and Southern Pride smokers

   Competition Team: Slaughterhouse Five (still active)

   Are you surprised? This stalwart of new-school ‘cue has been topping barbecue lists —USA Today, Thrillist and the New York Post, to name a few — since Jeff and Joy Stehney opened the original location in the gas station on 47th Avenue and Mission Road. Now Joe’s ships nationwide, which means barbecue lovers here and far can savor fall-off-the-bone tender ribs, succulent pulled pork and burnt ends, and perfectly smoke-ringed brisket of the signature Z-Man sandwich. Three area locations, joeskc.com

 

Joes KC Z Man


   2. Q39

   Opened: 2014

   Pitmaster: Alberto Martinez

   Method: Hickory and oak blend; Low and slow on a Southern Pride smoker

   Competition Team: Munchin’ Hogs

   Quickly rising to Kansas City barbecue fame, Rob Magee’s new-school concept keeps ‘cue lovers packing into the now two metro area locations. The secret? Combining an upscale, “gourmet barbecue” ambiance with competition barbecue-level flavor and quality. Sink your teeth into classics like brisket and burnt ends or opt for dishes like the pulled pork tacos or the “best wings on the planet.” Two area locations, q39kc.com

 

Q39 Sandwich


   3. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue

   Opened: 1974 (then as Smokestack Barbecue)

   Pitmaster: Tommy Kupczyk

   Method: Hickory; seared/tenderized and then low and slow

   Competition Team: None

   Every barbecue joint has a calling card, and at Jack Stack it’s the succulent ribs, offered in six varieties: pork spare ribs, baby back ribs, lamb ribs, crown prime beef ribs and smoked prime rib. The Fiorella name is also synonymous with the upscale, white-tablecloth experience and as diverse a menu as they come. Here, not only can you get bubbly, hot and heavenly cheesy corn bake, burnt ends and baked beans, but also seafood, filet mignon and a generous wine list. Five area locations, jackstackbbq.com

 

Jack Stack BBQ Kansas city


   4. SLAP’s BBQ

   Opened: 2013

   Pitmaster: Joe and Mike Pearce

   Method: Missouri hickory and oak; low and slow all night, hot and fast in the morning

   Competition Team: Squeal Like A Pig (still active)

   Taking too long to decide if you’re going to visit SLAP’s BBQ makes the difference between leaving hungry and leaving happy. This downhome, brother-owned restaurant serves up barbecue the old way, meaning they’re open until they sell out. So come early to get a taste of their moist and flavorful brisket and to-die-for hush puppies. 553 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kan., (913) 213-3736, slapsbbqkc.com

 

SLAPS BBQ Kansas City


   5. Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque

   Opened: 1958

   Pitmaster: Timmie Brown

   Method: Hickory and oak; brick/concrete pit

   Competition Team: None

   This legendary “grease house” is where you’ll find quintessential KC barbecue, which means the meats are low, slow and long smoked, served up on a slice of fluffy white bread. Bryant’s boasts a direct tie to Henry Perry, a.k.a. the father of KC barbecue. In fact its bright orange, gritty and tangy sauce was born from Perry’s recipe. This legendary spot has a history of famous guests, from Count Basie to Barack Obama. Take a journey through taste and time with a combo plate and ribs. Three area locations, arthurbryantsbbq.com

 


   6. Johnny’s Bar-B-Que

   Opened: 1977

   Pitmaster: Johnny White, Brian White

   Method: Hickory; Southern Pride smoker

   Competition Team: None

   This barbecue destination, which was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, is home to fall-off-the-bone tender smoked meats, the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s monthly luncheon and The Remus sandwich. Named after barbecue aficionado Ardie Davis’ alter ego, Remus Powers, PhB, the masterpiece sandwiches pulled pork, pimento cheese and crunchy slaw between two fluffy buns. Two area locations, johnnysbbqkc.com


   7. Smokin’ Guns BBQ & Catering

   Opened: 2003

   Pitmaster: Kevin Hopkins

   Method: Traeger pellet smoker

   Competition Team: Smokin’ Guns BBQ (still active)

   Traditional smoked meats, tasty sides, live music and great people are what keep ‘cue lovers journeying across the river for this North Kansas City 50-seater. Owners Phil and Linda Hopkins still hit the competition barbecue circuit on weekends, which guarantees they’re always serving competition-quality ‘cue. 1218 Swift St., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 221-2535, smokingunsbbq.com


   8. B.B.’s Lawnside Blues & BBQ

   Opened: 1990

   Pitmaster: Mike Nickle

   Method: Hickory; 65-year-old granite pit, low and slow

   Competition Team: Nickle Boys BBQ (still active)

   Atmosphere is an important aspect of barbecue, and BB’s features a unique experience that we like to call blues-b-cue. Getting to know your neighbor is a breeze with communal seating, which is a good thing since you’ll want to tell everyone around you about offerings like BBQ meatloaf, the BBQ sundae and Louisiana favorites. And Thursday through Sunday, BB’s is where you want to be to catch world-class blues. 1205 E. 85th St., Kansas City, Mo., (816) 822-7427, bbslawnsidebbq.com

 

BB's Lawnside Blues & BBQ


   9. LC’s Bar-B-Q

   Opened: 1986

   Pitmaster: L.C. Richardson and pit crew

   Method: Blast and simmer with hickory in a brick pit

   Competition Team: None

   LC’s is a true KC hidden gem. Known for its no-frills approach to barbecue, the shack features all the markings of an old-school barbecue joint: treacherously greasy floors, an indoor pit in the in dining room and generous portions of tender fan-favorite burnt ends. What’s the best way to find LC’s? Look for the billowing chimney smoke. 5800 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, Mo., (816) 923-4484

 

LC's BBQ Kansas City


   10. RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack

   Opened: 2003

   Pitmaster: Bob Palmgren

   Method: Hickory; Southern Pride smoker

   Competition Team: None

   What began as a hobby for owner Bob Palmgren has grown into one of Mission’s most unique barbecue spots. Profoundly flavorful ribs and creative starters like bison empanadas and smoked jalapeño sausage pair well with live bands like The Magpies and the Gumablaya Cajun Trio on the Mission City Limits stage. Don’t miss the weekend barbecue breakfast featuring burnt end hash. 5835 Lamar Ave., Mission, Kan., (913) 262-7300, rjsbbq.com


   11. Jones BBQ

   Opened: 1980s

   Pitmaster: Deborah and Mary Jones

   Method: Hickory and oak mix; homemade pit

   Competition Team: None

   In an industry that’s dominated by men, sisters Mary and Deborah Jones are rare gems. Throughout their 38-plus years in the ‘cue biz, they’ve garnered quite a following, with customers lining up well before they open just to get first dibs on offerings like ribs, rib tips, house-made sausage, sauce and beans. Barbecue is in their blood, and they’re all about sharing the love. 6707 Kaw Drive, Kansas City, Kan., (913) 788-5005

 

Jones BBQ


   12. Rosedale Bar-B-Q

   Opened: 1934

   Pitmaster: Arnulfo Celaya and Bill Smith

   Method: Hickory; indirect heat

   Traditional barbecue in Kansas City wouldn’t be complete without this Southwest Boulevard standby, which taught Johnny’s BBQ owner, Johnny White. More than eight decades later, Rosedale is still owned by Anthony Rieke’s family and is known for its reliably tasty ribs and crispy crinkle-cut fries served in a waxed paper bag. 600 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kan., (913) 262-0343, rosedalebarbeque.comHome to the World Series of Barbecue, the nation’s largest barbecue society and topper of national barbecue lists, it’s no question that Kansas City knows barbecue best. Naysayers aside — we’re looking at you Carolinas, Tennessee and Texas — we are confident that the following restaurants serve the best smoked meats in the country. We compiled the ‘cue community’s votes on which joints wear the ‘cue crown in this town. But don’t think of it as a best barbecue list; think of it as 24 more reasons why KC is the place to get your ‘cue fix.

 

Rosedale BBQ Kansas City

 


Click here to see our 19 Reasons Why KC Barbecue is the Best.