The Guide on How to Eat Like a Kansas Citian
Zach Bauman, Ashely Deck, and 435 Archive
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Think you can barbecue like a pitmaster or cook the perfect KC Strip? How deep does your knowledge go about foods that are classic KC? Up your local food I.Q. with this guide to everything you need to know about how to eat like a real Kansas Citian.
Be Proud of Your CowTown Roots
In 1871, just a few decades after Kansas City was founded, the stockyards were established in the West Bottoms. The location, that straddled the state line, was ideal because it was next to both the Missouri and Kansas rivers and the railroad. By 1878 the stockyards had more than tripled in size and were home to the largest horse and mule market in the country. At its peak 16 different railroad companies converged at the stockyards.
photo courtesy of kansas city public Library
By 1914, the stockyards covered hundreds of acres, had the capacity to handle 170,000 animals a day, and employed thousands. In 1923, almost three million cows were transported through the stock yards.
The stockyards were going strong through the 1940’s. (There was a record run of 57,642 head of cattle in one day in 1943.) During its heyday, only the Union Stock Yard in Chicago was bigger.
The Kansas City “Great Flood” of 1951 devastated the stockyards and was the start of its downward slide to obsolescence.
photo courtesy of 435 archives
Give it up for the KC Strip
If there’s one thing Kansas City knew it was cattle. It’s not for nothing there’s a steak called the KC Strip. The famous, bone-in cut was birthed here, of course, and since the turn of the 19th century, it has been the standard by which all other steaks are judged. The meat comes from the short side of the loin, and when it’s cooked properly, it tastes like perfection.
Any true Kansas Citian knows to not make the rookie mistake of confusing the KC Strip with the New York Strip. We get it, it does seem similar. But the New York Strip is de-boned because apparently, Yankees have trouble with their knife skills and don’t want to cut around the bone while they’re eating. But any true Kansas Citian knows: Keeping the bone in adds a big punch of flavor.
Beef It Up
Words Julie Mulhern
Charlie Hammond is a culinary institute graduate who also holds a degree in food science, teaches butchering to aspiring chefs at L’École Culinaire and oversees a family cattle-ranching operation in the Flint Hills with his wife and mother-in-law. We asked this local rancher about Kansas City beef.
Hammond says for the best, most flavorful cut, saddle up to the ribeye.
“If I’m cooking, I use a reverse sear,” he says. This method, which Hammond picked up from J. Kenji Lópes-Alt’s cookbook, “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science,” involves aging the steaks for 24 hours, cooking them in a low oven till the temperature reaches 125–130 degrees and giving them a quick sear. “Turns out perfect every time.”
When it comes to meat for the dinner table, he’s got a few favorites. “There are several great butchers in town — Local Pig, McGonigles and Broadway Butcher,” he says.
If Hammond is going out, he heads to the Golden Ox (birthplace of the Kansas City strip), calling it “the best steakhouse in Kansas City.” He also likes J. Gilberts for Certified Angus Prime.
Experience the Tried-&-True
Kansas City Strip
AT ONE OF THESE STEAKHOUSES:
photo courtesy of 435 archives