Sunday, December 31, 2017

Q39 in Kansas City, Missouri

Q39 brisket sandwich
Happy New Year!  Today I visited Q39 for lunch.  It was my first time visiting this restaurant and I decided to visit the original location near Westport.  Q39 opened in April of 2014.  

According to their website,"Rob Magee got hooked on cooking at an early age and took his skills to the highest level with a degree from the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America. Working his trade in some of the finest kitchens across the country, he would always make it a point to honor the tastes of whatever region he was in. So when he moved to Kansas City, he naturally became obsessed with mastering the glories of KC barbeque.

While still working as executive chef for Hilton, he assembled a competition team in his spare time called the Munchin Hogs.  They didn’t just enter contests for fun, they ascended to the highest level of competitive barbeque in events across the country against the toughest teams — the real major leagues. Over a ten-year span they won a whole array of competitions and national championships. And Rob never tired of learning, honing  his skill as an explorer of tastes and flavors, devising original sauces and rubs, always experimenting further and always using only the finest scratch ingredients. Competition barbeque is distinctive in that it’s all about serving food to finicky judges at its optimal window of perfection. Techniques for maintaining moisture, for example, had to be mastered that go far beyond the capabilities of most barbeque joints."  To read more, check out their website.

Q39 has received the most "buzz" among barbecue places in Kansas City since Joe's KC arrived on the scene.  The most asked question I get as a barbecue blogger is whether or not I have tried Q39 and what I thought of it.  I purposely put off going for a while so I could try a lot of other places first, but I decided to visit today to see if it lived up to the hype.

I arrived around 11:15 on Sunday, about 15 minutes after they opened.  This is a traditional sit-down restaurant where they seat you and you are served by a waiter or waitress.  There are two bar areas and I decided to sit at one of the bars.  The restaurant was a little more than half full when I arrived and by the time I left the line was out the door waiting for a table.  This place does quite the business!

I was waited on instantly by the bartender.  He was very nice and went over the menu for me even though I already knew what I wanted.  I have heard the wings were good here, so I wanted to try them as well as the brisket.  So I ordered the wings, which are Chipolte BBQ, and a brisket sandwich.  

Over time I've seen a lot of posts on Facebook from people asking for recommendations of who has the best wings in Kansas City.  Almost every time at least one person says Q39.  Because of that, since I love wings, I was always curious and wanted to try them here.  While the wings were decent, they were very messy, fatty and chewy.  If someone tells you they are the best wings in Kansas City either they are crazy or they haven't eaten wings at very many places.

Q39 wings
I finished the wings off and a couple of minutes later my brisket sandwich was delivered.  I received it about 20 minutes after I ordered.  The sandwich is served on a bun with thick cut, neatly trimmed slices of brisket.  Their sauce is served on the side.  I took my first bite and was disappointed that the meat was just lukewarm.  The meat was tender and had a nice crunchy bark on it, but I didn't find the it very flavorful.  I removed a piece of brisket from the sandwich so I could try the sauce.  The sauce was pretty decent.  Just a bit sweet, but not overpowering.

Overall I was a bit disappointed.  I've seen people online and in person rave about this place, but it didn't live up to the hype for me.  Don't get me wrong.  It wasn't bad.  But it wasn't a place  I would rave about and tell my friends they have to try.  Guess I've been to too many good barbecue places already that I was a bit numb to Q39.  If you serve me a barbecue sandwich that is room temperature or just lukewarm, sorry, I'm not going to give it a great review.  These are just my thoughts.  I'm interested to hear what my readers think about it.

Just a side note.  This restaurant is very loud.  They cram as many people as possible into the dining room.  A few times the bartender was talking to me and I couldn't hear him because it was so loud.  If you're looking for a nice quiet lunch or dinner, this probably isn't the place to go.

This is number 33 on my quest to find the best barbecue in Kansas City.  Four more visits and I reach the halfway point.  I'm wondering if there is anyone out there that has either tried doing this or has actually visited every barbecue restaurant in town?  If so, I haven't heard of it.  I'm going to try to visit every place within a years time.  My first visit was June 8th, 2017.  I'll have to pick up the pace if I'm going to do it, but I think I can.

Thanks for reading.  Till next time....

Monday, December 18, 2017

Rosedale Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas

Rosedale Barbecue brisket sandwich
Tonight I visited Rosedale Barbecue on Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, MO.  Rosedale has been a barbecue staple in Kansas City since 1934.  From their website, "Founded by Anthony Rieke and wife Alda and brother- in-law Anthony "Tony" Sieleman on July 4, 1934, Rosedale Barbecue began as a neighborhood hot dog and beer stand known as "The Bucket Shop." At The Bucket Shop you could buy a half-gallon bucket full of the coldest beer in town for a quarter. 

Beer had just been made legal for a short time and the Rieke’s and Sieleman believed they could make a few pennies selling beer…but it wasn’t hot dogs that the partners craved. It was barbecue. On the way home each night they could smell "Fatty" Sharp’s smoking meats a half-mile down the road. "…and Fatty and his wife would get to arguing, it was like going to a show," Rieke said. So the following summer with $183 and some pocket change between them, the partners decided to start a new business about 100 feet from their beer stand. They paid their first months rent, bought a $20 occupation license, and their first 16 gallon keg of beer, nailed some tin siding on a 12 by 16 foot frame, moved in and fired up their first barbecue pit. During their first winter, they added sheets of plywood to the inside walls to help keep the customers warm at the nine-seat counter.

"It was 1935 and there was no refrigeration in those days. There was an icehouse down the street so we’d go over there and get a 300lb. block of ice for 75 cents and carry it back over. …that would make it sell, having it cold, real cold. And then people would get hungry while drinking beer. It worked together." (Anthony Rieke)

The venture that was intended to help the partners survive the hardships of the Great Depression turned out to be an American Dream come true for them. As the years passed, business grew as well as the barbecue: initially with the 12’ x 16’ building and then with Rieke’s development of the first practical commercial rotisserie barbecue oven. "I had to make sure the meat would cook evenly so I did a test run personally. I crawled in and rode around in it kind of like a carousel, and it all worked out just fine."

When asked what it takes to stay successful in the barbecue business for over 70 years, especially in a town known for barbecue, the family jokes " We just have a different genetic composition …we have smoke running through our veins." (Marisha Smith) The customers say that it is the value, service and continuous tradition over the years that keeps them returning for more."

You can read more about their history by visiting their website at www.rosedalebarbecue.com.

I arrived around 4:30 on Monday.  This is a place where you order at the counter and they serve you right there and then seat yourself.  I ordered a brisket sandwich on a bun and fries and my order was ready within a minute.  It was about ten dollars for everything.  Very fast and friendly service.  I grabbed a water at the self serve station and had a seat.  They also have a self serve barbecue sauce station right next to the water station.

The brisket was served as thinly cut slices on a hoagie style bun.  You can order the sandwich on bread slices or on a bun.  The sandwich was served with a little bit of sauce on it.  It was warm and tender but didn't have much flavor to it.  They have two sauces to choose from.  Their standard sauce was good.  Just the right amount of sweetness.  The second sauce is their spicy sauce and it had quite a kick to it.  It was hot!  Made my tongue and throat tingle.  I couldn't handle too much of the spicy sauce, so I used the standard sauce to dip my fries in.  The fries were crinkle cut fries.

Rosedale seems to get good reviews overall and they've been around a very long time.  I thought it was a good sandwich, not great.  Kind of a neat place with very fast and friendly service.

This is stop number 32 on my quest.  I'm going to try to get another stop in this week since I've been lagging a bit.  Let me know about your experiences at Rosedale.  Till next time....

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bates City Bar B Que of Shawnee

Bates City brisket sandwich
Today I visited Bates City Bar-B-Que of Shawnee.  It is located on the Southeast corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Quivira in a strip mall.  According to their website, Bates City of Shawnee is a father and son operation that has been going strong in Shawnee for over 17 years.

I arrived around 11:40 on Friday.  There is a lot of "stuff" on the walls in this place.  License plates, sports memorabilia and posters, etc.  This is a restaurant where you order at the counter and they serve your food right there.  Grab a tray, order, and pay.  Pretty simple!  The setup reminds me of how you order at Joe's KC or Arthur Bryants.  I ordered a brisket sandwich and fries.  Received my order very quickly.  My bill was around ten dollars, which is pretty good for a brisket sandwich and fries.

I had a seat in a booth and dug right in.  I was pretty disappointed in the sandwich.  It is served with sauce on it and the brisket is thinly cut.  The meat was room temperature, which I would call "cold," and was very bland, even with the sauce.  The meat was tender but a bit chewy and had way too much sauce on it for my taste.  The sauce was also pretty sweet compared to other places, and you all know by now that I don't like sweet barbecue sauce.

The fries are shoestring style and were pretty good.  They do serve a huge helping of fries, which is a plus.  The sandwich is also a pretty hefty serving of brisket.

Bates City fries
This makes visit number 31 on my quest.  Don't forget to follow along on my Facebook page if you haven't already.  Till next time...