Joe's Quest

The quest to find the best barbecue in Kansas City

One of the most common conversation starters that people from out of town ask Kansas Citians is “what is the best barbecue in town?”  Opinions differ greatly depending on what cut of meat you like, what sides you like or don’t like, and each individual’s taste buds.  I am often asked the question and frequently rattle off the most common places in town…Gates, Arthur Bryants, Joe’s Kansas City, etc., without really knowing or having a favorite myself.  The reason for my quest is that I want to have a strong opinion myself rather than relying on the opinion of others.

What I found out when I researched all of the barbecue restaurants in Kansas City is there are a LOT!  Especially a lot have opened in the last five to ten years.  Many competition winners have opened their own restaurants in town and you can find a barbecue joint on almost every street corner.  I utilized many different websites to come up with a complete list of all the barbecue restaurants in Kansas City and the surrounding area.  I listed all 69 on a spreadsheet and plan to visit each and every one within a years time.  I’ll enter a separate post on each place and give a few details on my experience at each place.

The only rule for the quest is that in order to be on the list, the restaurant has to be a restaurant that specializes in barbecue.  They either have it in their name or they are well known for their barbecue.  I found a couple of websites that had recent posts listing all of the barbecue joints in Kansas City, so I am trusting the lists on those sites.  It is possible I am missing some, but I doubt it.

Here is the list I came up with:

BB’s Lawnside
Arthur Bryants
Danny Edwards BLVD BBQ
Jack Stack
Joe’s KC
Slap’s BBQ
Smokin Guns
Smokebox KC
Rosedale BBQ
The Stack
Big T’s
Back Porch
Three Little Pigs
Pork and Pickle
Hawg Jaw
A little BBQ joint
RJ’s bbq
Ricky’s Pit BBQ
burnt end
K &M
The Stack
Blind Box
Jon Russell’s
Porky’s Blazin’
Summit Hickory Pit
Hickory Log
Bee Cee’s
BBQ Shack
Smokin’ Joe’s
Filling Station BBQ
Back Rack
P Moore and Moore
Bates City
Ray Rae’s
Bare Bones
Tender Butts & Smokin Thighs
Oden’s Family BBQ
Little Pig BBQ
Bandanas Bar-B-Q
The Rub Barbeque
KC Baby Back Ribs
Papa Bob’s Bar-B-Que
Wyandot Bar-B-Q
Crazy Good Eats
PaPa Poleon’s
Brickyard BBQ
Quicks Bar-B-Q
Char Bar
Berbiglia’s Roost
Big Q
Fritz’s Meats & Superior Sausage

As a griller, smoker, and barbequer (is that a word?) myself, I know that the most difficult cut of meat to get right is brisket.  My plan is to try the brisket at every of the above restaurants and offer a blog review so that I can remember each location.  I imagine after visiting so many restaurants that certain details may run together, which is why I thought writing a blog about it would be a good idea.

Also, I’m not a professional writer or critic, so keep that in mind when reading.  And thanks for indulging me.

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