Saturday, March 31, 2018

Hickory Log Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas

Hickory Log Brisket Sandwich and Fries
Today I visited Hickory Log Bar-B-Q.  They are located near the corner of 50th and Leavenworth Road in Kansas City, Kansas.  Hickory Log is owned by Adam Novosel and his wife and they have run this place for over 30 years.  They took it over from a friend, who had run it for decades before that.  The Novosel's are Croatian and they have some Croatian dishes on the menu, like their coleslaw, for instance.

I felt like I was in a time warp when I walked into this place.  Felt like I was in 1979 due to the decor and the old jukebox sitting near the bar.  This is a restaurant where you seat yourself and are served by one of the owners.  I'd say the dining room seats about 50 people.  They have a bar that has about five stools and I decided to sit at the bar.  They have a couple options for a brisket sandwich.  I decided to order a large sandwich, which they serve on a hoagie bun.  Total cost for a sandwich and fries was about ten dollars.

I received my order about five minutes after ordering.  The sandwich is served with their barbecue sauce on it and I ordered fries as my side dish.  I talked to Adam for a while after I was done eating and he said that their coleslaw is great, so I'll have to try that next time.  The brisket was cut very thin and had a very nice smoke ring.  It was very tender meat and had very little fat.  The sauce prevented me from telling how flavorful the meat was, but it was a very good sandwich nonetheless.

The sauce is a homemade sauce and is a bit runny.  Had a bit of vinegar and molasses flavor and was not too sweet or spicy at all.  I really liked it.  They sell bottles of their sauce for three dollars each, which is a pretty good deal.  The fries are crinkle cut fries and they didn't have any kind of seasoning on them, but they were okay.

I talked to Adam for quite a while.  I asked if their jukebox works and he said that it does but also said that nobody really uses it.  Kind of sounded like they are looking to get rid of it, so if you're in the market for a jukebox, you might want to let Adam know!

If you're a fan of hole-in-the-wall barbecue places, you need to check this place out.  I'm glad I found it.  Good food and good people. 

This makes visit number 42 on my quest.  Finding places like this helps keep me motivated to keep going.  Don't forget to follow along on my Facebook page.  Thanks for reading.  Till next time...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

C. Frogs in Prairie Village, Kansas

C. Frogs Brisket Sandwich
Tonight I tried C. Frogs in Prairie Village, Kansas.  C. Frogs has been around since 2006 as a barbecue and steak place.  This is an upscale restaurant along the lines of Jack Stack or something similar to that.  According to an article I found online, The concept for the restaurant was developed by Forbes Cross, who is also a partner in Michael Forbes Bar & Grill.  The meat is sourced locally from McGonigle’s and Scavuzzo’s markets.

This is a sit down restaurant where you are seated by a host or hostess as you enter the restaurant.   I was greeted, seated and served quickly upon entering.  My waitress brought me a glass of water as she greeted me which was a nice touch.  I noticed on the menu that their brisket sandwich is served with sausage, ham, cheddar cheese, tomato, ranch and Hillsdale Bank barbecue sauce on it.  I asked if they could serve it plain and my waitress said that was fine.  I arrived at the restaurant around 5:40 PM, ordered around 5:45 PM and received my food around 5:55 PM.

The sandwich was served on toasted and buttered bread.  It was also served with pieces of sausage and ham on the sandwich.  That was fine with me, as it was easy to remove.  The brisket had a great smoke flavor and was not fatty at all.  It had a good texture to it and was tender but was a bit chewy.  They serve the slices thick cut, which I really liked.  I also really liked the pieces of sausage.  Had a great flavor and were very tender.  I'm not much of a fan of ham, but I did eat the ham slices as well and they were good.

I tried the sauces with my fries.  My waitress asked if I would like to try the spicy sauce (since they only offer the original sauce on the table) and of course I said yes.  The original sauce was Hillsdale Bank barbecue sauce.  Although the Hillsdale Bank Barbecue closed a few years back, it's nice to see their sauce is still around.


The original sauce had a strong vinegar and ketchup taste to it.  I thought it was okay.  The spicy sauce had quite a kick to it, so if you're not a fan of spicy sauces, beware!  I had a lingering taste on my tongue for a while after trying that sauce.

They charge 10 dollars for a barbecue sandwich and the side of fries were three dollars extra.  That's a little above average cost for a sandwich and fries.

Overall I liked this place and would go back to try some of the other items.  Their steaks are between $30-$40 unless you get the lunch special, which is a smaller cut.

This makes stop number 41 on my quest.  I still haven't found anyone that has visited every barbecue restaurant in the area and I think I know why.  It's a very difficult and somewhat grueling task!  I've been averaging about one stop a week and I doubt I could increase that average very much.  I'm pretty busy and finding the time to do it is getting harder as the remaining restaurants are getting further and further from my house.  That being said, I still have more than 30 places to visit and I'm looking forward to completing this quest!

You can follow along on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joesbbqblog/.  Thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged me thus far!  Till next time....

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Smokebox BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri

Smokebox BBQ brisket sandwich
Today I visited Smokebox BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri.  Smokebox has been around since 1994 and is located at the Tiffany Springs exit off of I-29 in a strip mall across the street from the Embassy Suites.

I arrived around 11:30 on Saturday.  This is a sit down restaurant where a server seats you and waits on you.  They also offer to-go orders, but I decided to dine in.  I was greeted, seated, and served instantly as I walked in.  The service at this place was great.  The dining room seats around 50 people and they weren't very busy at this time.  There was only a couple seated a few tables from me and I in the restaurant at this time.

They happened to have a lunch special today of a barbecue sandwich and a couple of sides, so I ordered the brisket sandwich without sauce and a side of fries and coleslaw.  I received my food around five minutes later.  The brisket was served as thinly cut slices on a bun. They offer an option of bread or bun just in case you prefer bread.  The meat was warm had a nice smoke ring, but was kind of tough and lacked any kind of flavor.  I ate half of the sandwich without sauce and decided to try their barbecue sauce on the other half.  The sandwich went down a lot better with sauce on it.  I also used the sauce to dip my fries in.  It was a thick molasses style sauce that was a bit too sweet for me, but otherwise good.  The fries are thick cut strip fries and they were good, but didn't have any kind of seasoning or salt on them.  The coleslaw was okay as well.

The meal was served on a plastic plate with a plastic fork.  I liked it.  Kind of made me feel like I was at a picnic!  My bill was around ten dollars, which is very reasonable for a sandwich and two sides.

This was an interesting little place.  They had some nice decor on the walls that made it feel like I was eating over at a friend's house.  The young lady that waited on me was very friendly and provided great service.  I'd be interesting in trying some of their other food, but I just wasn't a fan of the brisket.  They've been around a while, so they are doing something right.

I reached another milestone with this visit, as this makes number 40!  According to my updated list, I've got 34 more to go!   Don't forget to follow along on my Facebook page.  Thanks again for reading.  Till next time...


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Smokin' Guns BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri

Smokin' Guns brisket sandwich
Today I visited Smokin' Guns BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri.  Some information about Smokin' Guns, according to their website..

"Phil and Linda Hopkins have been competing in barbecue contests as Smokin' Guns BBQ since 1997. They have competed in nearly 400 contests across 15 states. They also are members of the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) and are certified barbecue judges. 

In 1999, Smokin' Guns took the Grand Champion title at the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue contest. They competed against 41 other championship teams and took 1st in brisket, 2nd in pork, and 5th in ribs. Linda also took 4th place in the dessert category.
In 2000, Phil and Linda launched a line of BBQ rubs. Their Smokin' Guns BBQ rubs are available across the country in specialty stores and through this Web site, www.smokingunsbbq.com. 

In 2003, after leaving a 14-year career as a supervisor in a metal fabrication plant, Phil opened Smokin' Guns BBQ & Catering, a 50-seat restaurant in North Kansas City, Missouri, bringing to the public his world championship barbecue. He feeds hundreds of people a day and caters to local businesses. In 2006, Linda left the corporate world after 25 years as a technical writer and joined Phil full time at the restaurant. Phil & Linda continue to hit the competition circuit on weekends, which frequently results in more awards."

My son is home from college this weekend and I decided to do a barbecue tour stop with him.  We arrived at the restaurant around 4:00 on Saturday.  This is a sit down restaurant where you are seated by a server and waited on by a waiter or waitress.  They have a separate bar area from the restaurant area.  The bar area seats about 25-30 people and the restaurant seats around 75 I would guess.  They also have a rooftop patio that I did not see.  We were greeted and seated immediately upon walking in and our waitress provided great service.  There were only about 10-15 other people in the restaurant at this time of day.  According to the menu, you can order their sandwiches on bread or on a bun with or without sides.  I ordered my standard brisket sandwich with two side dishes.  Baked beans and sweet potato fries.

We received our food in about five minutes.  The sandwich is served without sauce on it.  The brisket was thinly sliced pieces and was hot but very tough and a bit fatty.  It also tasted very bland.  I removed a few pieces of brisket from the sandwich so I could try the sauces and rub on it.  I finished about half the sandwich before breaking down and finishing the rest with some sauce on it.

They have two sauces, their regular and spicy sauce, at each table to try along with their rub.  I thought the regular sauce was excellent.  Very smooth with no bite to it and not ketchup tasting at all.  The spicy sauce was good as well.  It had a slight, but not too powerful, kick to it.  The rub had a strong pepper taste to it and also included paprika and chili powder, among other ingredients.  I thought it was pretty good.  They sell their sauces and rubs right there in the restaurant and I bought a bottle of the regular sauce to take home with me.  I have done that at very few places thus far on my journey.

As for the sides, the baked beans were good and hot with some small chunks of meat in it.  The sweet potato fries were room temperature by the time I tried them, but had a good flavor to them.  They were served waffle style.  The bill for a large brisket sandwich and two sides was around 13 dollars.

My son had the pulled pork with fries and onion rings.  I asked him how the pork tasted and he said the onion rings were the best part of his meal.  So either the onion rings were really good or the pulled pork wasn't really good. 


This makes visit number 39 on my quest.  I was hoping this place would be better because I've heard good things and they aren't shy about bragging about their awards on their website.  I was a big fan of the sauces and have heard the rub is a great seller as well.  I just wasn't a fan of the brisket.

Don't forget to follow along on my Facebook page,  I get a few more followers each time I mention it, so I'm going to keep mentioning it!  Thanks again for your support and for reading.  Till next time....