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Topeka – Porubsky’s

 

Nestled in the “Little Russia” area of northeast Topeka you will find CW Porubsky Grocery and Meats. Since 1947 Porubsky’s has been there serving meals to the small German community and to passing railroad workers at times as well. The Little Russia area of Topeka actually has German heritage, as the “Russians” were actually the Volga Germans (from Russia technically).

In the winter they are known for their chili, and year round they are known for their hot pickles (horseradish hot) and their pimento cheese spread (which also comes in a hot version too). If you want to feel like you stepped back in time about 30 years all while grabbing some spicy pickles and a deli sandwich with copious amounts of meats and cheeses, then this is your place.

They also carry basic groceries and necessities and have a small tavern built onto the east side of the building where you can grab a beer and look at the pictures (with autographs!) of all the big name Kansas politicians that have frequented the place over the decades. Their rule on having your picture on the wall as a politician is you have to come in and eat there and meet them first. You have to earn your spot on that wall!

While there earlier this year I grabbed a sandwich from the deli and headed through the doorway down into the tavern to eat it and wash it down with a cold drink. The sandwich was piled high with ham and salami and cheese. Fresh sliced Fanestil pork products (from Emporia, KS) really hot the spot that day!

If you want to learn more about Porubsky’s this article from the Topeka Capital-Journal is a great read! My next goal is to get in there during chili season and have a bowl of that and try some of those hot pickles too.

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Sycamore – Buster’s

 

A work trip to a farm near Sycamore, Kansas, ended around lunchtime. I asked the farm family for suggestions, and they stated that I needed to check out Buster’s BBQ, Homecooking & Catering in nearby Neodesha.

Buster’s, located at1223 N 8th Street, is currently in the process of expanding their business building. The kitchen is still open for business, and there is picnic table seating available under the shade tree’s outside.

Buster’s BBQ, Homecooking & Catering has a limited, but reasonably priced menu that features “The Buster”. The Buster is a pork eater’s delight! It is piled high with enough pulled pork, pork belly and bacon to feed two hungry people. In fact, it is a one pound sandwich! The buster comes with “baconator sauce” a bacon infused special topping. While not a typical barbecue sauce, it is still enjoyable.

Buster’s BBQ, Homecooking & Catering is a place I look forward to trying again, once their remodel is complete, and I suggest that you do too!

Kansas City – Krizman’s House of Sausage

If cooking sausage is something you enjoy then checking out Krizman’s House of Sausage in Kansas City, KS is an absolutely must for you. It’s fairly easy to get to at 424 N 6th St. near downtown KCK, and definitely worth the trip if you enjoy a great selection of old-world sausage recipes. Krizman’s was opened originally as a grocery store in 1939 by Joseph Krizman and his brother in-law. The 2 men were Croatian refugees that had worked in the Kansas City packing plants for some time before starting the business. They used their old-world sausage recipes to make and sell sausage out of the store to the residents of KCK’s Strawberry Hill area.

When I was at the store I was looking for a few ways I could try out their pork products. I bought a pound of ground pork shoulder, a stick of summer sausage, and a package of what they call “Barbequed Polish” sausage. The Barbequed Polish is a sausage that dozens of big name BBQ restaurants around Kansas City buy wholesale and cook themselves to serve off their own menus.

I took my mouthwatering haul home and started trying it when I got chances. I started with the pre-cooked summer sausage. It is part pork and part beef like a lot of summer sausage recipes. The sausage was great quality and had a perfectly balance of seasonings and of course paired well with some sharp cheddar cheese!

The ground pork was the next thing I tried when the weather let me fire up the Weber and grill some pork burgers. I hit them with some cherry and pecan smoke before throwing them over the coals and finishing them up. The grind on that stuff was just right and the ratio of lean to fat was on point, like you’d expect from ground pork shoulder. It made some truly delicious pork burgers and my only regret was not buying more of it.

After a few weeks I FINALLY got to try the Barbequed Polish sausage. I smoked them in the Weber using indirect heat and a blend of apple, cherry and pecan wood. I sliced them up and gave them a quick dip in Joe’s KC BBQ sauce and it was absolutely wonderful. They were smoky, tender, and most importantly high quality, which is something I really appreciate with ground meats.

Outside of the things I bought that day you can get many other sausage types from Krizman’s, such as knackwurst, andouille, Italian, and Chorizo. They also sell sour kraut, a few cheeses, and some old world breads so you can make a whole meal if you want!

Until next time,

Mike

Kansas City – Christy’s Tasty Queen

If you’re looking for “hole in the wall” type, old school fast food, then a place worth checking out is Christy’s Tasty Queen in Kansas City, KS. Located at 1405 South 55th St., Christy’s isn’t exactly easy to find, but once you study up on this place you might see that it is worth your time.

Christy’s doesn’t do much advertising, so their popularity usually only grows by word of mouth. It tends to be a local favorite in the old Turner community of KCK, but most around KC will tell you though that Christy’s serves one of the best, if not the best, pork Tenderloins in the city. After hearing that, I decided it was time to go check it out. One day back in March, fellow blogger Chris Petty and I stopped in and split a tenderloin and onion ring order. Thankfully it wasn’t too cold of a day, because Christy’s has no indoor seating. In fact, the only seating they have is a picnic table outside!

 

While the seating was Spartan to say the least, there was nothing frugal about that tenderloin or the amount of those delicious onion rings you get. I can now see why this place has been going strong for over 50 years now! They serve up a giant tenderloin that was, as far as I can tell, about perfectly cooked. It could have perhaps used some more seasoning on the meat or in the breading, but it was thick and juicy, and crispy on the outside which made up for the possible lack of seasoning.

Aside from a wide variety of “fast food” products, Christy’s also serves ice cream in many various forms, so you really can’t go wrong with this place! Check out my pictures of the menu and of our order, and you may soon be figuring out how and when to go try this hidden gem of Kansas City.

Until next time,

Mike

Winfield – Biederman’s Bistro

When asked what the best restaurant in Winfield is, many local residents will tell you that it is Biederman’s Bistro. The downtown restaurant, located in a building built in 1872 and remodeled into a restaurant space in 2004, is named after a pet turtle.

My visit took place during a busy Friday in April. The lunch crowd had filled the place nearly to capacity, and therefore service was a bit slow, but it was worth the wait. Everything looked and tasted as it was prepared fresh, rather than being quicker (but less tasty) food service fare.

I had a one of my favorite sandwiches, a Cuban. A Cuban is a pressed sandwich, featuring two types of pork, pickles, and cheese. What sets the Cuban sandwich at Biederman’s Bistro apart is that it features smoked pork, rather than the typical pork loin. The addition of smoked pork adds a flavor profile far above and beyond the average Cuban.

My meal also featured and appetizer of spicy fried pickles and concluded with a great slice of pie.

Winfield, Kansas has a handful of promising brand new restaurants that will have to work hard to serve pork as deliciously as Biedermans! I can’t wait to return to Winfield and see what the others offer my taste buds, as well.

Until next time,

Chris

Overland Park – Grandstand Burgers

Grandstand Burgers, located at 4942 Merriam Drive in Overland Park, KS (very close to two other KC suburbs of Shawnee and Merriam) is your classic old school burger joint…..but they also serve up one heck of a good pork tenderloin!

It’s tiny place, so I recommend going when the weather allows you to enjoy one of the many picnic tables located outside. Also, plan to spend a little time there, as they don’t claim to be fast food.

Did I mention the pork tenderloin?!  I don’t normally order these, because in my opinion, if you’ve tried one, you’ve tried them all. That’s not the case at Grandstand Burgers! The pork tenderloin that they here serve is better than most! The combination of seasoning sets their pork tenderloins above many others.

Does Grandstand Burgers serve the best pork tenderloin in the Kansas City Metro area? I guess you’ll have to try it yourself to make that decision!

Until next time,

Chris

Kansas City – Bichelmeyer Meats

Bichelmeyer Meats, located at 704 Cheyenne Avenue in the Kansas City Armourdale neighborhood (named after the old Amour meet packing plant that was once in the neighborhood) is arguably the most famous butcher shop in Kansas.

Bichelmeyer’s have a long history in the meat business with one family member emigrating from Germany in the late 1800’s to work for Swift and Company. At one time or another, the family has had a cattle ranch, a butcher shop and a steak house. Needless to say, the Bickelmeyers know what they are doing.

They have a 60 foot long meat counter featuring every pork product imaginable, and they also sell all the rubs, sauces, and smoking woods you need to make your barbecue complete. You can even pick up slightly used, razor sharp butcher knives, at a discounted price. These knives are perfect for carving up your delicious pork.  And if it couldn’t get any better, on Saturday’s Bichelmeyer Meats serve fresh Mexican food right at the butcher shop.

If you’re tired of the limited selection at your local grocery store, check out one of my favorite butcher shops, Bichelmeyer Meats.

Until next time,

Chris

Wichita – Bite Me BBQ

Bite Me BBQ, located at 132 N. St. Francis in downtown Wichita, was the location of a recent noontime meal prior to two days of business meetings. My good friend Keith and I checked out the place early on a weekday. The first thing we noticed was how big the place was, and how quickly it filled up. The lunch crowd obviously likes the place!

The expansive restaurant features a sports bar like atmosphere and a menu equally as expansive as the location. Obviously, I was there for the pork! I had the three meat combo with ribs, hotlink and pulled pork.

According to their website, “In a 2008 Quest for the best BBQ ribs in the state, Kansas Magazine named Bite Me BBQ as one of the best BBQ restaurants in the state of Kansas.”  That being said, there are a lot of new, and really great, BBQ restaurants in business since that time. I had to find out for myself if they could still compete.

I thoroughly enjoyed the hotlink, and the seasoning and smoke of the ribs was spot on.  Their website claims that they have “… the biggest spare ribs you will ever see fall off the bone. Our ribs cook for 16 hours.”

Now, I will certainly agree to the size claim, however my ribs did not fall off the bone.  As they say in the barbecue cooking shows, the ribs had a “tough chew”… this is unfortunate, because they were some of the most flavorful ribs I’ve had in a long while!  If Bite Me BBQ can work on the tenderness aspect  of their ribs, I’d say they would have a fair shot of competing for their 2008 title again. It was certainly tasty enough that I will give them another try.

Until next time,

Chris

Kansas City – El Camino Real

El Camino Real (Spanish for The Royal Road), is an authentic Mexican experience! I’m not talking about those Americanized Mexican restaurants that claim to be authentic but cover everything in cheese sauce. I mean the real deal….the kind of place where you either order in Spanish, or else you point to what you want on the menu. These places are different, but in a good way. You might consider them to be a cultural experience.  When it comes to menu items, usually, you will get smaller portions served with corn tortillas rather than  big flour tortillas, and you can get however many of a particular food item that you want.

El Camino Real is located on Seventh Street in Kansas City, Kansas. You will find it just up the street from the 7th Street Casino and right next to the Historic Huron Indian Cemetery.  During my recent visit, I ordered Tacos Al Pastor (pork). This is what we Americans typically call “Street Tacos.” They are small soft corn tortillas filled with flavorful pork. Cilantro, lime and onions come on the side. What makes these different than other similar tacos (see the blog on Dodge City Taco Trucks), is that El Camino serves theirs with slices of pineapple. The lime, cilantro and pineapple combine to create a pleasant citrus kick that you won’t find in an Americanized version.

If you are looking for real Mexican Food with a taste of old Mexico rather than an American imitation, check out El Camino Real!

Until next time,

Chris

Shawnee – Old Shawnee Pizza

Old Shawnee Pizza in downtown Shawnee (near 60th and Nieman) has been a staple in the area since 1969 when a struggling insurance salesman hoped to make a better living and started a pizza place. Only 48 years later, I managed to get around to trying it for the first time, and I can certainly see why it’s stuck around so long.

When you’re looking for interesting ways to eat pork and you’re at a pizza place and that place has on the menu a pizza called the “Pig and Pepper,” it certainly piques your interest. The “Pig and Pepper” pizza at OSP isn’t an ordinary pizza by any means. The description is “Chipotle pesto, pulled pork, smoked bacon, ghost pepper cheese & topped with bacon aioli sauce.” Yes, you read that right. Pulled pork and bacon with ghost pepper cheese on a pizza!

Now that I really have your attention I’ll tell you that this pizza was beyond excellent! The crust was thin and crispy and the toppings tasted exactly like you think they should. The ghost pepper cheese might scare a few people, but it really was only slightly hotter than regular old pepperjack cheese. The pulled pork was tender and smoky and the bacon was light and crisp, which is just how it should be on a pizza. I absolutely cannot wait to get back to this place and try some of the other pizzas!

Until next time,

Mike