6 Kansas City BBQ Joints That Rule the Grill

By: Bethaney Wallace
Photo by: Woodyard Bar-B-Q

They don’t call it the KC strip for nothing. Nor is the mention of “Kansas City barbecue,” “Midwestern ribs,” “Kansas pulled pork,” or “KC Masterpiece” ever used in vein. Each name – whether formal or a phrase – has been working to earn its tradition for decades. Years of flavor and master roasting all pulling for this one, simple fact: Kansas City BBQ is delicious. It’s full of flavor. It’s tangy, spicy, sweet, and smoky – all at once. And you can smell it cooking for miles away. There’s even entire competitions on who’s meat is cooked best. Giving judges and paying spectators alike an incredible way to spend the day; sniffing and taste testing incredible barbecue. Thanks to popular opinion, however, we’ve narrowed down the favorites. Restaurants who’ve received the biggest amounts of praise over the years. After all, just because they can’t agree on a uniform way to spell barbecue – or is that BBQ, bar-b-que, or barbeque? It doesn’t mean they can’t all cook it! The next time you’re in the KC area, remember to stop and get your grub on at:


6. Jack Stack

It’s name might rhyme, but the fun doesn’t stop there. This place goes beyond traditional barbecue meats and adds on additional fare, including lamb, Polish sausage, and even seafood. Much of which is hickory smoked! Wood-grilled, marinaded, and mouth-watering seafood. It might sound weird, but it’s a delicious combination that the locals can’t seem to get enough of. There’s generally a wait, but all who enter say it’s well worth their troubles. Be sure to place on your KC “must stop” list and earn yourself a serious helping of quality meats.

Photo by: No Bull BBQ
Photo by: No Bull BBQ

5. Brobeck’s Barbeque

You know you’re in for a treat when there are ribbons and rave reviews posted right on the walls. Which is exactly what you get when you head into Brobeck’s. Known for their flavorful dry rubs, customers order meats and platters for the delicious scents alone. (Sauces are an option, though most agree they aren’t needed; the meat is that moist.) Order a side of cheesy corn or smoky beans to top off your meal – each of which is served in a personalized crock to help keep them warm. And to add to customer experience, of course.

Photo by: Brobeck's Barbeque/a>
Photo by: Brobeck’s Barbeque/a>

4. LC’s Barbeque

Having been around for years, LC’s is a Kansas City legend. This place makes their own hot sauce (eat it if you dare), and encourages cooks to use it in their own sauces at home. But that’s not their only area of hospitality, the wait staff is as friendly as they come, and will help point newcomers in the right direction. Though, when it comes to LC’s cooking, there really isn’t a wrong path. Just start slow and enjoy each dish they have to offer.

Photo by: LC's Barbeque
Photo by: LC’s Barbeque

3. Arthur Bryant’s

The absolute best barbecue spot in the city has long-since been debated, though Arthur Bryant’s gets regular mention. With the delicious food, there’s no doubt as to why. However, they’re also known for an incredible atmosphere. Where those of all backgrounds (and all dress attire, especially over the lunch hour) come to eat. Stay and socialize or hit the road running. You won’t be disappointed with the food either way.

Photo by: Ochym's Razyr Productions
Photo by: Ochym’s Razyr Productions


2. Woodyard Bar-B-Q

At Woodyard’s you can not only order great meats, you can watch them get smoked. The joint features large trophy smokers, the heart of the restaurant, where customers can watch the pros in action. And if you get lost on the way there, just look up – blowing smoke from the massive stacks can lead you in the right direction. Show up hungry and sample their best sides, or if you can’t decide on a meat, order them all – the place hosts a sampler platter with all eight versions.

Photo by: Woodyard Bar-B-Q
Photo by: Woodyard Bar-B-Q

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que

No list of barbecue joints is complete without Joe’s in the KC area. Around for years and having been renamed from its original “Oklahoma Joe’s,” because after all, it’s not in Oklahoma, this place is often voted best in the area. In fact, it’s so tasty that Anthony Bourdain listed it as “one of thirteen places to eat before you die.” Now that’s a serious compliment. And good explanation as to why you should put it on your BBQ list. Can’t decide what to order? Opt for their Z-Man sandwich, a crowd favorite of brisket provolone, and onion rings, or test out their chicken gumbo on the side of any traditional smoked meats!

Photo by: Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que
Photo by: Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que