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Posts tagged ‘BBQ’

Kansas City – SLAP’s BBQ

The Kansas City BBQ scene is littered with literally dozens of places that tried to stake a claim in an already busy arena, but could just never get a foothold, and slowly disappeared into thin air. On my latest quest to try all things BBQ in this city, I think I found a real keeper in SLAP’S BBQ (SLAP is the acronym for “Squeal Like A Pig”). Located in Kansas City, KS, SLAP’s is absolutely worth your time, and hopefully won’t be going away anytime soon. It might seem a bit hard to find, found at 533 Central Ave. in KCK, but it really is easy to get to. It’s just a few blocks west of I-70 on Central Ave., situated very close to the I70/Central Ave. interchange.

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While finding SLAP’s is no big deal, finding a place to park might be. The parking lot is a bit limited on what it can hold, but there is enough street side parking that you can make it work. Trust me; you’ll want to go through the effort to park, as the food is worth it. These people put some serious thought and work into the meat (including pork OF COURSE).

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The ribs were hands down as good as anything I’ve had in the KC area. The pulled pork was excellent as well. You can tell with smoked pork shoulder when the meat is fresh or not, and believe me, this stuff is fresh and of the highest quality. The selection of sides is pretty unique too, as they have twice-baked potato casserole, and hush puppies, two things I have not seen at any other BBQ places around here.

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I’d recommend if you’re in from out of town perhaps trying the place at a time other than right at noon (and it’s not open in the evening), as finding a place to park and a place to sit will be a bit easier. Getting the meat to go is always an option too. Either way, if you’re into trying new and uniquely good Kansas City BBQ, you‘d be doing yourself a disservice by not trying SLAP’s.

Until next time,
Mike

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It’s time for a contest!

We are giving away three prize packs, yes I said three!

These prize packs include a 4-piece EatPork.org grill set and a “Baconologist” t-shirt. Both prizes are pictured below.

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Here’s how you can win:

Our bloggers are always looking for new places to go and try pork dishes.

Tell us, where would you recommend they eat at in Kansas? What pork dish should they order?

Leave a comment to let us know your answer on this post.  The contest will close on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 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 Thursday, February 12, 2015 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 healthy recipes to help spice up your New Year’s resolution?’ Head on over to our site, eatpork.org, for recipes, coupons and more!

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Yates Center – Smokey Ben’s BBQ and More

Unfortunately this restaurant is no longer open.

Smokey Ben’s BBQ and More in Yates Center, Kansas, “the hay capital of the world” is a rare gem on the prairie.   It is very unusual to find a barbecue restaurant in such a rural community, much less a good one!  Smokey Ben’s is Located on 54 highway, and is roughly half way between Fort Scott and Wichita.

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If you like “fall off the bone” ribs, this place is for you.  In fact, their ribs are so tender that I’m curious how they get them on the plate in one piece.

My favorite thing about Smokey’ Bens BBQ and More is that the smoked flavor of their meat is spot on.  I took a peek out back and noticed that they accomplish this feat of barbecue mastery by using an old offset style wood burning smoker.  Most restaurants prefer to use highly automated commercial style smoker that much of the art and science (and smokey flavor) out of the process.  While the pit-master at Smokey Ben’s has more of a challenge on his hands, the results speak for themselves.

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While visiting with a worker, I learned that everything on the menu is made in the smoker minus the cobbler (which looked delicious, but I was too full to try).

Smokey Ben’s BBQ and more is currently for sale.  I hope the next owner takes lessons from the current pitmaster!  I would encourage you to get to Yates Center soon and check it out.

Until next time,
Chris

Andover – Billy Sims Barbecue

I don’t make a habit of eating at franchise restaurants, That being said I can’t resist barbecue whether it’s a chain or not. When I heard there was a new barbecue restaurant in Andover, Kansas, I had to give it a try.

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Billy Sims Barbecue is aptly named after former University of Oklahoma football player Billy Sims. As you would expect, the Oklahoma based franchise has a football theme.  The Andover location is situated in a once vacant corner gas station that has been remodeled to give the appearance and atmosphere of a typical barbecue restaurant.

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There were a few good and bad points to this particular location and to the restaurant in general.  I’ll just throw it all out there. The Andover location is hard to get into. It sits on a corner where traffic only flows from one direction. After making a U-turn on 54 highway, I was able to turn around and get into the parking lot. I would also have liked to see more homemade sides.

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Now for the good. There is a large southern pride smoker located just behind the counter. The means to make good barbecue are present and the meat was pretty good. I would go so far to say that it was better than some (but not all) popular Kansas City restaurants. I could see that my ribs had an adequate amount of rub and they were served dry, as they should be, so I can sauce them myself. The sauce was similar to what many Kansas City restaurants offer. As you would expect from an Oklahoma based chain, bologna was on the menu. If you liked smoked bologna, it would be worth trying from a Billy Sims franchise.

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Coincidentally, Billy Sims Barbecue was one of the many topics of discussion with the local farmers at the recently visited, Angelo’s Deli, which you can read about here on In Pursuit of Pork soon. Overall I prefer to support hometown businesses when I can, but as far as the barbecue meat is concerned, Billy Sims Barbecue certainly competes well.

Until next time,
Chris

Coffeyville – Phelp’s Hog Heaven

A friend and I were looking for a place to grab a quick bite for lunch in Coffeyville, Kansas. As luck would have it, he suggested a local barbecue restaurant…to which I cannot say no! Phelps’s Hog Heaven located at 511 west 11th street in Coffeyville is a sure bet if you want pork in Southeast Kansas.  According to their website, all meats are hickory smoked, which is always a good sign when you want good barbecue.

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Phelps’s features a wall of flame, which as you might guess is a photo gallery of food challenge winners. To get your picture on the wall you must manage to eat three extremely hot ribs….a task failed by many but achieved by a few brave spicy food lovers.

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I chose to forego the food challenge and order a sampler platter complete with a majority of the meats available. One of my favorites was the smoked bologna, a specialty across the border in Oklahoma, but a barbecue item sadly left absent from many Kansas restaurant menus.  The ribs were pretty good too. In fact, Phelps’s Hog Heaven could be one of the better Kansas Barbecue restaurants to be found outside the Kansas City metro area.  I would encourage you to give it shot. Check out the bologna and let me know if you successfully complete the wall of flame challenge!

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Until next time,
Chris

Kansas City – Zarda Bar-B-Q

Sometimes you might crave BBQ in the KC area, but can’t decide where to go. The fact that you have too many good choices can be a problem. Do you go to one of new, untested places you’ve only heard about? Do you go to one of the old, famous places and fight the tourist crowd? Do you go to one of the highly advertised places and stand in line for an hour? Eating BBQ in KC can be a tough life at times, but it doesn’t need to be. If none of the choices above sound good, it’s time to look at some of the overlooked, but tried and true places around the metro.

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One prime example of this type of place is “Zarda Bar-B-Q and Catering Company”. With locations in Lenexa (on 87th just west of I-35) and Blue Springs, MO (on MO Hwy. 7) they aren’t too hard to find. What I’ve found about Zarda over the years is that they are amazingly consistent, and they’re a pork lover’s dream. The ribs and pulled pork are always good, and the sausage, while a different style than most places, has great flavor. They will serve everything “wet”, or with sauce on it. If that’s not your cup of tea, then ask for it to be served dry. The sides are always good there too (which is important). I would contend that they have some of the best beans in the whole city!

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Between the good location, the spacious (and nice) dining area, and the overall food quality, it’s a great place to go if you’re in town visiting (or live here), and don’t want to waste time driving, standing in line, or waiting on slow service.

Until next time,
Mike

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

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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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

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