Saturday, July 25, 2020

Jousting Pigs Barbecue in Liberty, Missouri


Friday I visited Jousting Pigs BBQ in downtown Liberty, Missouri with a buddy of mine.  Jousting Pigs has partnered with 3HALVES Brewing Company to create a craft brew and barbecue experience.  It's a setup that reminds me of  the partnership of Harp Barbecue and Crane Brewing in Raytown.

Jousting Pigs is a partnership of two competition barbecue guys.  Their awards and ribbons are plastered all over the walls in the place.  From their website...

"Jousting Pigs BBQ is a husband and wife competition barbeque team from Liberty, MO.  John and Brandi Atwell have been competing for 5 years winning numerous awards including multiple perfect scores in chicken and brisket.  When the opportunity to open a restaurant in Liberty presented itself John jumped at the opportunity to join the amazing Historic Downtown community.  John is excited to bring his traditional barbeque style to Liberty, MO.

John is being joined in this venture by Rod Blackburn of RAILYARD BBQ competition barbeque team. Rod was one of the first people John met in the competition barbeque world and they quickly became friends. John and Rod have cooked together many times in competition and we are happy to have his experience and expertise. Rod has been competing since 2013 and has multiple grand and reserve grand championships plus numerous category wins and perfect scores."

One of my blog followers told me about this place sometime last year after they opened.  I think they've been in business about a year or so, but was unable to find exactly when they opened up.  Maybe someone can help me find out for sure.

We arrived around 5:30 on Friday.  There was parking available on the street(s) outside the restaurant.  There are three separate seating areas, one with a bar and one an outside large patio seating area.  The place was already bustling at this point.  Lots of people, pandemic be damned.  You are required to wear a mask anytime you are not seated at your table and all of the employees were wearing masks.  The tables were spaced to ensure social distancing and it was overall a very safe environment.

My buddy and I are both craft beer fans, so we decided to have a beer or two before ordering food.  You need to order beer from the bar and then take it to your table.  Same with the barbecue.  You order at the counter and then they give you a tabletop number and they bring your food to you when it's ready.

I need to mention that the beer was really good.  These craft brew places are all the rage now and they are hit and miss.  This one was a hit.  I tried the light beer, the wheat beer and the IPA.  The IPA was great, probably the best IPA I've had in a while.

As we were trying the beers, the line to order barbecue was getting pretty long, all the way to and out the front door.  There were 15-20 people in line at any given time.  Pretty busy for an evening during this pandemic.  It was good to see they're surviving this quite well.

After a beer or two we got in line to get our food and as I was about to order a young lady from the kitchen came out with some blue tape and was placing it over certain menu items that they had run out of.  So, beware, this is a "when we run out, we're out" barbecue place!  Luckily what I wanted to order was still available.  Their brisket sandwich comes chopped, which I'm not a fan of, so I ordered a two meat plate of brisket slices and burnt ends and ordered a bun on the side.  Problem solved!  I ordered fries and coleslaw as my side dishes.  The total was about 25 bucks, but it is well worth it because they give you a lot of food.

Burnt ends.  Mouth watering yet?

We were only back at our table a couple minutes before our food arrived.  Very fast service.

I dug right into my food.  The brisket slices had a great smoke flavor and rub on them and were very tender.  They were trimmed, but they left some fat on it.  I know some people like the fat and some like it completely trimmed off.  This was kind of an in between cut.  I really liked it.

The burnt ends were very good as well.  Not fatty at all.  If you like your burnt ends VERY BURNT, they may not have been done enough for you, but they were very flavorful and tender and completely trimmed of fat.  No complaints by me!

My buddy ordered the smoked turkey and he raved about it and finally let me try it.  It was a pretty thick cut of turkey and it was very smokey flavored and tender.  Great smoked turkey!  I get the feeling that all the food here is very good.

The coleslaw is vinegar based and I loved it.  The fries were good as well.  Thick cut with a nice seasoning on them.  They offer two sauces, a regular sauce and a spicy sauce.  I tried the sauce with my fries because you definitely don't need the sauce to enjoy the meat.  The regular sauce was good and not very sweet.  The spicy sauce was not overpowering, but the spice lingered on my tongue for about 15 seconds, which was great!  My buddy liked the sauces so much that he ate the sauce with his fork.  Unfortunately I didn't get a picture or video of this.  You'll just have to take my word for it!

It was really great to try a new barbecue place that has opened since I completed my initial barbecue quest.  I've gotta say, the brisket here would definitely make my top 10 and probably even the top five in town.  I'm very glad I found this place and hope a lot of you get to try it.  Let me know what you think!  Till next time.....

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Tin Kitchen March 7, 2020

I took my Mom and Dad to Tin Kitchen in Weston last night.  They had never been there and have really wanted to try it.  I figured it was a great way to kick off part two of my quest:  trying to find out who has the best pulled pork and ribs in town!

We arrived in Weston around 5:00 and were seated as soon as we got to the restaurant.  We got there at the right time, as there was a huge line waiting for a table the entire time we were there.  It was packed.

Owner Sean O'Malley came out and said hello and it was nice chatting with him.  We didn't chat long because the place was so busy that he had to get back to work!  Every employee in this place is so nice, from the person that greets you at the door to your waitress, to the many other employees that come and check on you during your meal.  They've got great customer service from the top down.

My Mom and I split a slab of ribs and I ordered a side of pulled pork.  I ordered broccoli and coleslaw as my side dishes.  My Dad ordered ribs and brisket.

Tin Kitchen pulled pork
I already know this place has great food but wanted to try something different.  When people ask me who has the best barbecue in town and I mention Tin Kitchen I get some weird looks.  But I stick to my guns because the food is excellent and oftentimes the person that asks me has never been there or has never heard of it.

Tin Kitchen won the USA Today Reader's Choice Award for best ribs in Missouri.   The pork ribs are St. Louis Cut spare ribs, rubbed with Kosher salt and coarse black pepper, and smoked over pecan wood for five hours.  During the cook the ribs are basted with a mix of Sweet BBQ sauce and cider vinegar.  I will just say the ribs are amazing.  They are very tender and juicy, but not fatty, and had a great flavor.

Tin Kitchen ribs, broccoli and coleslaw
I also tried the pulled pork.  A lot of times when you order pulled pork at restaurants here in town it tends to be dry.  Not at Tin Kitchen.  The pulled pork was tender and juicy and had a great flavor as well.

My Dad raved about the brisket.  He is pretty picky about his barbecue, especially burnt ends, and definitely has his favorites.  He said he's never had brisket that tender and would put Tin Kitchen's brisket at or near the top.  He also commented that anyone who argues about Tin Kitchen having some of the best brisket in town has simply never tried it.  I agree!

We had another successful trip to Tin Kitchen in Weston.  I'm not in a hurry to revisit every barbecue place in town to try the ribs and pulled pork, but it's my goal to get to each one again eventually.  Hope you enjoy following along.   Till next time...