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Posts tagged ‘pork ribs’

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

Manhattan – Bourbon and Baker

Bourbon and Baker is one of the newest and trendiest restaurants in Manhattan, Kansas. In a city full of new and trendy restaurants, it takes something unique to stand out from the crowd. As the name implies, this restaurant specializes in whiskey and bakery goods…..not your usual combination!

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According to their website, “The inspiration behind Bourbon & Baker is rooted in the Midwestern and Southern influences of our families, educations, cultures and culinary experiences that brought us to Manhattan. The foundation of our menu is the comfort and soul of many cuisines. It is designed to allow you to enjoy a variety of small portions at your own pace, whether you are flying solo or sharing with a group. So, sit back and relax. We’re here to make sure you enjoy.”

An important thing to consider is the “small portions”. This is not an all you can eat buffet.  Don’t go here if you’re starving to death and you want to fill up quickly. That’s not the idea here.  You are supposed to sample a variety of dishes. A perfect opportunity for sharing and hanging out….think date night or good time out with friends.

For a pork lover, Bourbon and Baker does not disappoint.  I sampled three pork dishes. The first was a pork quesadilla. This was pretty fantastic.  My second dish was a cornbread pork slider. While a bit messy, the cornbread, fresh from the bakery was outstanding.  My final dish was braised pork belly. The pork belly is a fatty piece of meat with hints of smoke. Bourbon and Baker also offers delicious St. Louis style ribs. Along with your pork, be sure to order the duck fat French fries. You won’t be disappointed.

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They are located at 312 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502 and are open every day except Sunday.  Be sure to check out the bakery on your way out for delicious dessert item.

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

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 – 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

Overland Park – Smokey’s on the Blvd BBQ

Among the new wave of BBQ joints that opened last year in Johnson County is a place called “Smokey’s on the Blvd BBQ” over on Metcalf, just south of 143rd St. in Overland Park. I finally went over there today to try some of that BBQ I kept hearing good things about from others.

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Smokey’s is a lively little place in a strip mall that has a full service menu that remains surprisingly simple. To me, it is a welcome addition to the area, as there hasn’t been a quality BBQ joint in that neighborhood for quite awhile as far as I can tell. It’s an area chock-full of sports bars and upscale fast food places that had no good “mom and pop” high quality ‘que being served until about a year ago when Smokey’s opened.

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I ordered the combo plate that came with 2 meats (add $1.00 for ribs) and a side, so I (of course) chose pork ribs and pulled pork. The ribs were very good I thought, and were well-seasoned with a very flavorful dry rub. The ribs had just a small amount of Smokey’s cream-based BBQ sauce on them, which added a nice flavor without taking over. The pulled pork had the same rub on it I think, and it went well there too, as it did on the ribs. The pulled pork was smokey and had some crispy bark on it which made for a nice flavor. For my side, I chose the “spicy” fries. They were hand cut fries that were perfectly cooked, and they had been sprinkled with the dry rub as well, which made them even more delicious!

Long story short is Smokey’s seems to be worth the time it takes to visit it. They are cooking up classic KC style BBQ in an area that I’d jokingly deemed a “BBQ Desert” in the past, which is good news to all those parched souls looking to quench their BBQ thirst in southern Overland Park!

Until next time,
Mike