Sunday, June 24, 2018

Johnny's BBQ in Mission, Kansas

Johnny's large brisket sandwich and fries
Today I visited Johnny's BBQ in Mission, Kansas.  Johnny's has been around since 1977 and I have been a customer since my parents moved to Kansas City in the 1980's.  Here's a little bit about Johnny's from their website:

"Serving Original Kansas City Bar-B-Q since 1977, Johnny's Bar-B-Q has the finest hickory Smoked meats around. Our menu includes smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked sausage, and ribs that are fall off the bone tender. Our Kansas City restaurants are perfect for the quick lunch or the big family get together. Also, we offer a full line of great catering packages for groups from 5 to 5,000. Be sure to visit either of our Kansas City locations in Mission, Kansas or Olathe, Kansas."

I broke my rule of only visiting one location per local barbecue chain with Johnny's. A lot of people recommended I visit the Olathe location along with the original location, so the Olathe restaurant was one of the first stops on my quest. I actually liked the Olathe restaurant better, which was surprising to me, although I did visit that location on a different day and time of day.  I visited the Mission location around 11:30 on Sunday.

When you walk into Johhny's you can order at the counter if you're taking your food to go or you can sit in the dining room and they will wait on you.  I had a seat in the dining room and was instantly waited on.  I ordered a large brisket sandwich with fries and a drink.  My bill was about 12 dollars.  I received my order about 10 minutes after ordering. The sandwich was served on a hoagie style bun.  The brisket was thinly sliced and was served with barbecue sauce on the sandwich.  The meat had a nice smoke ring and neatly trimmed of fat.  The meat was a bit dry, but tender.  The sauce covered up any flavor the meat might have had.  It was a good sandwich, just not one of the best I've had.  Johnny's is always good, so this wasn't a surprise.

I tried their sauce with my fries.  It's a pretty mild sauce.  Kind of tasted like ketchup.  They only had one bottle of sauce at each table so that's all I tried. 

The service was great and the food was good as well.  Looking forward to going back and trying some of their other selections.

This makes number 49 on my quest.  24 more to go!  I'm planning a group get together for my 50th stop, so follow along on my Facebook page for details!  Till next time...

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Hawg Jaw Que and Brew in North Kansas City, Missouri

Hawg Jaw brisket sandwich and fries
Today I visited Hawg Jaw Que and Brew in North Kansas City, Missouri.  It is located just north of the river on 9 highway.  Hawg Jaw started in 2011 in Riverside and moved to this location just over a year ago.  Family-owned Silvio’s Foods in Riverside purchased the business in late 2014 and brothers Sam and Nick Silvio operate the barbecue.

Sometimes this quest gets somewhat tedious and that makes it hard to get motivated.  When you drive two hours round trip to try a barbecue restaurant and it's just "okay," it's hard to get pumped up to check the next one off the list. It's somewhat of a mind game, just like going to the gym is for me. The thing that keeps me going is that I occasionally find great places like Hawg Jaw that I would have never thought of visiting if it weren't for my quest.  I honestly had never heard of this place before and I didn't know what to expect.  I was blown away by how good it was.

I arrived around noon on Saturday.  This is a restaurant where you order at the counter and you have a seat and they call your name when it is ready.  They have a self serve drink station, which is nice.  I took my daughter with me this time and she ordered the ribs and I ordered their large brisket sandwich and fries.  We were only seated a few minutes before they called my name that our order was ready.

The brisket is served in thinly cut slices on a standard hamburger bun without sauce on it.  As I took my first bite my daughter asked "aren't you going to put sauce on it?"  My reply was "don't you read my blog? I love the taste of meat, not sauce.  I'm here to judge the meat!"  Amateur! Ha, ha.

The brisket was very tender and juicy with a nice smoke ring and great smoke flavor.  The sandwich definitely did not need sauce and went down great without it.  The fat was trimmed nicely.  Some places leave the fat on to help make the meat juicy, but this meat was juicy without the fat.  It was a great sandwich.

My daughter couldn't finish the ribs so she let me try them.  They were the best ribs I've had in a long time.  They were very tender, but still stuck to the bone and very juicy with a great smoke flavor.  I haven't had the ribs at every place in town yet, but these are the best ribs I can remember eating at a restaurant in Kansas City.

Hawg Jaw offers three types of sauces at every table along with a smoked ketchup.  There is a "Boss Man's" sauce, a "Kansolina" sauce and a "Mammaw's" sauce.  I tried each of them with my fries.  The "Boss Man's" is their sweet sauce.  I'd characterize it as VERY sweet.  Had a stong jelly flavor to it.  The "Kansolina" was less sweet, but still had the jelly flavor.  It just wasn't as strong.  The "Mammaw's" is their spicy sauce and had a bit of a kick to it, but was not overpowering at all.  It was my favorite of the three.

The smoked ketchup was very interesting.  It just tasted like ketchup that's been on the smoker for a couple hours.  It was actually really good!

Interesting setup.  You have to go up the stairs or the ramp to place your order.
I'm glad I found this place.  It's close enough to downtown that if you work down there you can easily drive across the river for lunch and make it back to work in plenty of time.  I'm looking forward to my next visit.  Another good thing to know is that they sell their sauces and rubs right there in the restaurant.  I bought some brisket rub for $3.50.  I thought that was a great deal.

This is visit number 48!  Almost to 50!  Don't forget to follow along on Facebook.  I'm enjoying everyone's comments and opinions.  Till next time...

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summit Hickory Pit BBQ in Lee's Summit, Missouri

Summit Hickory Pit brisket sandwich
Yesterday I visited Summit Hickory Pit BBQ in Lee's Summit, Missouri.  They have been around since 1992.  From their website:

"Since 1992 Summit Hickory Pit BBQ has been "Smoking The Good Stuff" so you don't have to. We smoke everything from start to finish in our authentic brick pits.  The slow smoking process keeps your meat tender and tasty. Just like all of you true BBQ fans like.  All of the staff here at Summit Hickory Pit BBQ believe that outstanding customer service and amazing BBQ is what keeps us voted as the #1 BBQ in Kansas City and Midwest"

My son asked me a couple weeks ago "How many of these places say they are the number one barbecue in Kansas City?"  My answer:  "Just about every one of them!"

I arrived around 7:30 on Saturday evening.  This is a sit down restaurant where a server seats you as you walk in.  They have a pretty good sized bar area as well in the restaurant. I ordered the brisket sandwich and fries and a buddy of mine ordered the ribs and we both decided to split an appetizer of smoked sausage and burnt ends.  The brisket sandwich and fries costs around $12.00.  We received our appetizer about 10 minutes after ordering and the main course about 10 minutes after that.

Sausage and burnt ends appetizer
I thought the smoked sausage bites were good.  The burnt ends were a bit dry, but tender with a good smoke flavor.  They were better with barbecue sauce on them.

We received our main course shortly after finishing the appetizer.  The brisket had a nice smoke ring but was very dry.  The meat was sliced very thin and did have a nice crunchy bark but I simply couldn't eat it without sauce because it was too dry.  There was also a lot of bread and not a lot of meat on the sandwich.

I tried a couple of the ribs and they were really good, having a nice texture and a great smoke flavor.  In my opinion, the ribs were the best thing out of the brisket, sausage and burnt ends.

I tried both of their the sauces with my fries, which were standard fries you would get at most restaurants.  The regular sauce is good, a pretty mild and thick sauce.  The spicy sauce was much thinner and only had a slight kick to it.  I preferred the spicy sauce over the regular sauce.

I noticed on the drink menu that they have mojitos and I'm a big fan of a good mojito.  It's hard to find a good one here in town so I like to try one if I see it featured on a restaurant's menu.  We decided to sit at the bar and try one.  It was great and the highlight of the visit for me.  I complimented the bartender and she said that they make their own mint leaves in a garden onsite and she also mentioned that they do seem to have the best mojitos around since she has also tried them in a lot of different places around town and is often disappointed compared to how good they are there.  I totally agreed with her!  If you like a good mojito, it might be worth it to go in just to try them at this place!

This makes number 47 on the quest!  25 left to go!  Follow along on my Facebook page and like and share!  Remember, when I'm done with this we're all going to visit the top spots together!  Thanks again for reading and for your support.  Till next time...