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Kansas City – Q39

As the name implies, Q39 serves barbecue and is located on 39th Street in Kansas City. This is about where the similarities with other Kansas City barbecue restaurants end. When I had first heard about Q39 from a newspaper article, I was pretty skeptical. The author mentioned things like how hip and trendy the location, menu and atmosphere are. However, “hip” and “trendy” are adjectives not usually used to describe your typical barbecue joint. You are more likely to hear worlds like “old” or “smoky”.  Lord knows there are lots of old, smoky and rustic places in Kansas City to get good barbecue.

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One of the best, Oklahoma Joes, is located in an aging gas station. My guess is that Q39 creators Rob Magee and his wife Kelly knew that they were going to have to do something very different in order to set themselves apart from the many others.  If setting themselves apart was the goal, they most definitely succeeded! According to their website, “Q39 calls the eclectic 39th Street area home. Its neighbors are the Country Club Plaza, Westport, Downtown…)”  This is a part of the city  now home to a much younger and certainly more liberal crowd then the outlying KC suburbs. On that end, the décor is much more modern and hip than competitors.

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The menu includes a full bar, and many wood fired options. For me I chose to skip the salmon and salads and go straight for the pork!  When my barbecue plate arrived I learned quickly that I had better throw away all my preconceived notions about what a barbecue restaurant “should” be. Don’t let the eclectic crowds and fancy menu full you, this barbecue is absolutely fantastic. As it turns out, Q39 is home of Munchin’ Hogs, a competition barbecue team with one of the best track records in the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

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As a KCBS judge I know competition barbecue and I know the food served to me at Q39 could likely win any contest on any day. The ribs were delicious, the sausage was excellent and the pulled pork was absolutely perfect. In fact their pulled pork is the epitome of what Kansas City style barbecue is all about. Pair it with their traditional KC style sauce and you have a grand slam home run that flies out of the barbecue park! Do like I did, and throw away your old ideas about barbecue as fast as you can.  Get to 39th street and let Q39 teach you a new thing or two.

Until Next Time,
Chris

Kansas City – BB’s Lawnside BBQ

I’ve said before there are places that I go eat that simply write the story for me. “BB’s Lawnside BBQ” is definitely one of those places.

I’ll ask just so I know… Do you like authentic Kansas City BBQ? What if it had a Cajun twist on it? That would be ok with you?? Ok, that’s good, I’m glad you do! Do you like live Blues music? Do you like lots of drink specials? If you answered “yes” to at least 2 of these questions, then BB’s might be worth a visit.

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You’ll have to trek across the state line into Missouri to find the place (1205 E. 85th Street Kansas City, MO 64131), but it is worth your time! This place reeks of old-school KC BBQ. A good percentage of the seating is “family style”, so you might end up at a long table, next to some people you don’t know (but that’s part of the experience). The walls are decorated with Blues music posters, and the meat is cooked in a pit that was built in the 1950s.

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The ribs were tender and tasted pretty much like wood smoke and wood smoke only. They were absolutely perfect in every way in my opinion. The pulled pork high quality and tender and the pork sausage was nicely seasoned (think Italian style) and was outstanding!

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I don’t really know what else to say about this place other than drop what you are doing and GO THERE! Check out my pictures and their website for more info. You can thank me later for telling you about this place!

Until next time,
Mike

Fort Scott – Crooner’s Lounge

While staying at Fort Scott’s Courtland Hotel, I asked Frank, the owner, for restaurant recommendations.  Frank Suggested Crooner’s Lounge. Crooner’s Lounge is a fine dining establishment located on South Main Street in the historic Fort Scott, Kansas down town area.  The restaurant is open on Wednesday through Friday evenings from 5 to 9 p.m. The menu includes a variety of options such as steak, pasta and seafood and there is a full bar selection available. I was excited to see that the menu also included a delicious (and huge) pork chop.

 

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The staff went out of their way to make us feel at home, and even gave my son a complimentary ice cream dessert.  They do have a rule that no hats or caps are allowed in the dining area (a good manner that should be practiced at all eating establishments excluding bars or lunch counters).

 

Adjacent to Crooner’s Lounge is the Liberty Theatre, a music and event center, featuring many popular regional and nation acts. The theater can also be rented for weddings or other events. Crooner’s Lounge is open on Saturday’s when the theatre is hosting an event.

 

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Downtown Fort Scott, located just over an hour from Kansas City and home to the National Park Service’s pre- civil war area Fort Scott, is a travel destination that should be put on the schedule for any antique, history or architecture enthusiast. Be sure to check out Crooner’s Lounge and tell them that you heard about them on www.inpursuitofpork.com.

Until next time,

Chris 

Kansas City – Spin Neapolitan Pizza

According to a Pitch Magazine article, Spin Neapolitan Pizza has the best pizza in Kansas City. Now I don’t make it a habit of eating in franchise restaurants when there are so many wonderful and small locally owned places all over Kansas….but if it is rated as the best in the entire city….I have to check it out. Besides, a pizza is one of the very best ways to eat some delicious pork and Spin Pizza is headquartered in Kansas City.

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According to their website, Spin Neapolitan Pizza has six locations in Kansas City, four in Orange County, California and one coming soon to Omaha, Nebraska. Unlike the bigger national chains, Spin Pizza offers unique menu items like flatbread spreads, soups, gluten free crust, non dairy cheese and a full wine menu.

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While at the Lenexa, Kansas location at 9474 Renner Blvd, I ordered the Tre Carni (three meat) pizza with roasted meatballs, sausage and pepperoni. This pork lover’s pizza was delicious. The more I ate it, the better I liked it.

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After my wife and I finished the entire pizza, I wished I had some more! Is it the best pizza in Kansas City?….I’ll let you know after I’ve tried all the rest!

Until next time,
Chris

Fort Scott – Nate’s Place

Nate’s Place Restaurant and Lounge at the Twin Mansions in Fort Scott, Kansas is a truly unique experience. As the name implies, Nate’s Place is inside a historic 1880’s era mansion. An identical mansion next door houses a bed and breakfast. This place is a hidden gem in southeast Kansas. In fact, the waitress indicated that even though they have been open for about three years, not many locals realize that one of the  two mansions houses a restaurant. I’m about to spill the beans here, because this place was fantastic!

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The wait for my order was a bit long but the food was well worth it. I had a deep fried pork chop smothered in homemade country gravy. Many times pork chops end up tasting dry and tough but not this one! It could have been one of the very best pork chops I have ever eaten. This dish came with a side of caramelized sweet potatoes, which were also very delicious!

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Nate’s Place is open for dine in or carry out Tuesday through Thursday from 9 am until 2 pm and from Saturday and Sunday from 8 am until 2 pm. Additionally. their lounge is open on Thursday and Friday nights from 5pm until 8 pm. Cocktails are served daily beginning at 9 am and outdoor dining and private dinner parties are also available. Guest of the bed and breakfast receive a complementary breakfast at Nate’s Place.

Check out Nate’s Place. It’s one of my new favorites in southeast Kansas!

Until next time,
Chris

Overland Park – Hayward’s

Across Antioch Rd. from the eastern entrance to Corporate Woods in Overland Park sits a barbecue joint that’s been in Johnson County since 1972. I’d always known  “Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que” was there, but had not made it in to eat until recently, when I read that it had been taken over by new owners. The new owner talked in a newspaper article I read about an improved menu and renovations to the building, so I thought I should go check out what all the buzz was about. Something else that helped lure me in was the fact that the owner and the pit master both honed their respective crafts at “Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ” (which is never a bad thing).

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I had a two meat sandwich consisting of pulled pork and pork sausage, along with a side of fried okra (can’t get that just anywhere around here!) The meats were really well cooked and the sausage was of extremely high quality, and was definitely better stuff than what you go buy at the store! The okra was fresh out of the fryer and too hot to eat, which is a good problem to have.  I plan on going back for the ribs at some point, because based on the other foods I can’t really see that they wouldn’t be good too!

If you’re looking for some freshly cooked, high quality pork, you’re just a few blocks from it as you drive along I-435 in JOCO. All you have to do is head south on Antioch Rd. a little ways and you’re there! Give the place a chance if you’re in the area. I doubt you’ll be disappointed!

Until next time,
Mike

Hays – TK’s Smokehaus

I’ve seen barbecue restaurants come and go all over western Kansas and with exception, most were average at best.  I’m pleased to report about a new one that is at the very least, above average.  TK’s Smokehaus located at 110 West 11th in downtown Hays, Kansas is one that just might stick around.

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Picture from TK’s Smokehaus Facebook

The restaurant sits in a cool old downtown building complete with high tin ceilings and hardwood floors. What really sets the place apart from many other barbecue joints is that they use an offset style wood smoker rather than an industrial model rotisserie that many competitors use. The difference was obvious and soon as the waitress brought me out the “pitmaster plate”.  I could smell that the meat was wood smoked!  It had a delicious wood smoke flavor as well.  I have to fault TK’s for serving their barbecue wet (with sauce on it), when it could suffice on its own merits, served up perfectly well, sauce free.

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The service wasn’t extremely fast but portion sizes were impressive. The hot links were actually hot, as opposed to the “mild at best” variety found elsewhere. The sweetly flavored beans had nearly as much pork in them as beans and a hint of jalapeno pepper induced heat.

Hopefully, TK’s Smokehaus is here to stay. I look forward to coming back.

Until next time,
Chris

Olathe – Austin’s Bar & Grill

If you happen to find yourself in western Johnson County, and are actually NOT in the mood for BBQ, but do happen to be in the mood for a good sports bar atmosphere you need to check out Austin’s Bar & Grill. They have 2 locations, one in Olathe (151st and Mur-Len) and one in Gardner (just north of Main on Moonlight Rd.) for you to choose from.

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If you’re in the mood for a sports bar AND some pork, then I suggest, while at Austin’s, ordering the hand-cut, hand-breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. The sandwich itself was very good. It was a slice of real pork loin, not just a large, pressed together “pork nugget” that was processed to fit a bun. It is served with parmesan dusted fries (delicious) and a dish of Horseradish sauce that I thought went great with the sandwich. If horseradish isn’t your cup of tea, then you can choose from many other additions at their self-serve condiment bar.

Austin's Olathe (pic courtesy of Austin's website)(photo courtesy of Austin’s Bar & Grill)

Overall, Austin’s is a pretty good place to catch a game and hang out with friends, and it just so happens to have some things on the menu that don’t quite fit into the “sports bar food” category if you’re in the mood for something different (and good).

Until next time,
Mike

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Grilling season is upon us friends!

To start off the season we are giving away three prize packs, yes I said three!

These prize packs include a “Keep Calm and Eat Pork” apron and a “Cooking for Comfort” pork recipe book. Both prizes are pictured below.

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Here’s how you can win:

What is your favorite pork dish to throw on the grill?

Leave a comment to let us know your answer on this post.  The contest will close on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm CST. Winners will be selected at random and notified via email, as well as announced in a comment on this blog post. The winner will need to respond to our email no later then Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm CST to be eligible to claim their prize. If the prize is not claimed we will select another winner.

Interested in more recipes for bacon?’ Head on over to our new site, eatpork.org, for recipes, coupons and more!

 

Overland Park – Burnt End BBQ

As the name implies, Burnt End BBQ specialty is brisket burnt ends, but like any good Kansas City barbecue restaurant, they have plenty of pork! The pork items on the menu include hickory ham, pulled pork and ribs.

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This relatively new restaurant located at 11831 Metcalf Avenue in  Overland Park, KS is a part of the PB&J Restaurant’s, Inc, family of companies which includes the Newport Grill, Red Robin and YaYa’s.

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Like many good barbecue restaurants, Burnt End BBQ offers catering for large and small events and gift cards for those foodies on your gift list.  For the internet savvy, they have a Facebook page and can be followed on Twitter.

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Check out Burnt End BBQ on your next barbecue crawl through Kansas City!

Until next time,
Chris

Overland Park – Brobeck’s

Brobeck’s BBQ in Overland Park is a place I first heard of as I talked with a friend that grew up around Louisburg, KS. He told me of a place that used to be on Metcalf, near Stillwell, KS that burned down years ago, but all the people in the area thought it was the best BBQ around. He went on to tell me they moved up to Overland Park after the fire and opened back up. It took me a bit by surprise, because I’d lived here a few years at the time and had never heard of the place.

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I looked them up, and there they were, nestled in a small strip mall near the Overland Park Convention Center. They are just north of I-435, on the east side of Roe Ave. Brobeck’s BBQ doesn’t apparently advertise heavily, since I’d never even heard of them, but apparently they don’t have to. I went in there awhile back a little ahead of noon, and felt lucky just to get a place to sit down it was so busy!

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I did my homework before I went and had read several times that their ribs were to die for, so I made sure to try those on the visit. I have to say they did not disappoint. You can see from the picture that there is a nice crust of dry rub on them, and a beautiful pink color to the meat. Some people might have found them to be a bit dry, but they were about perfect to my taste. They were as tender as ribs get, and the dry rub gave the meat all the added flavor it could ever need. The pulled pork was average at best, but the steak fries were awesome! I’d say the long story short for this place is you come for the ribs, but stay for the ribs!

Until next time,
Mike

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