arthur bryant's, barbecue, brisket, bryant's, kansas city, missouri

Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City, Missouri

Arthur Bryant’s Beef Sandwich.  Lots of beef!

I visited Arthur Bryant’s on 18th and Brooklyn in Kansas City, Missouri around 2:00 on Sunday, September 3rd.  I have been to this Bryant’s before, but it’s been a while and I wanted a fresh perspective for my barbecue quest.  Arthur Bryant’s has been a staple in Kansas city since the 1930s.  Charlie Bryant started the Kansas City barbecue tradition, or some say it was Henry Perry for whom Charlie worked. Arthur visited his brother Charlie in KC and never left. Charlie owned the business after Henry died, then after Charlie died Arthur took over. Arthur first perfected the sauce (“I make it so you can put it on bread and eat it”) and then opened the 18th & Brooklyn restaurant that was to become a legend. After Arthur passed away in 1982 Gary Berbiglia and Bill Rauschelbach acquired the restaurant and have expanded the business while preserving the original Arthur Bryant’s traditions and world-famous flavor.

When I arrived around 2:00 there was a line out the door and down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.  I thought I might avoid the lunch rush, but it wasn’t to be.  The smell of barbecue engulfed the place, even outside on the sidewalk.  I stood in line approximately 30 minutes before making it to the counter.  If you’re not familiar with Arthur Bryant’s, you order at the counter and they serve you there and then you seat yourself.  I ordered their brisket sandwich with fries.  After I ordered I received my food within a minute or so and then waited another 10 minutes or so to pay.  They were very busy.  The line behind me was still to the front door.

Once I made it through the gauntlet I found a seat rather easily.  Their brisket sandwich is served on bread slices and the meat is thinly sliced.  The meat was tender and flavorful.  I wouldn’t call it dry but it wasn’t juicy, either.  It wasn’t really hot, but I did wait about 10 minutes to pay after receiving my food, so that’s probably why.  They serve a really good portion of meat.   The meat was a bit fatty and every third bite or so I got a sizable chunk of fat.  I finished the whole sandwich without putting any sauce on it.  I wasn’t going to ruin the Arthur Bryant’s experience and this sandwich by putting sauce on it.

I did pull a few slices off of the sandwich so I could try the sauces.  Their original sauce has a bit of zing to it.  Has a distinct vinegar taste to it and in looking at the ingredients, vinegar, onion and garlic are some of the primary ingredients.  The second sauce I tried was the rich and spicy sauce.  This is my favorite sauce of theirs.  It has a bit of a kick to it, but not overpowering and the taste does not linger long.  It’s a really good sauce.  The third sauce I had an opportunity to try is their sweet sauce.  It’s actually not too sweet and, for me, has just the right amount of sweetness for a barbecue sauce.

When I left around 3:00 the line was still about 2/3 of the way to the door.  This place sure does a good business.

The line behind me was as long as the line in front of me!

I’m glad I got to try Bryant’s today.  I have talked with numerous buddies about my quest and my biggest fear going into this was that my final rankings of the best barbecue in Kansas City was just going to include the old staples….Bryant’s, Gates, Joe’s, Jack Stack, etc.  If that were the case I might find this to be a wasted effort.  Well no worries.  I’ve been two two of those already and neither is at the top of the list so far and I’ve been to 16 restaurants now.  So the quest continues!  Till next time….

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