Friday, September 29, 2017

LC's Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Missouri

LC's brisket sandwich and fries
Today I decided to try LC's Bar-B-Que in Raytown, Missouri.  The owner of LC's, LC Richardson, was a company chef for Farmland Industries until the early 80's and retired and opened LC's Bar-B-Que in 1986.  They've been going strong ever since.

I arrived around 1:30 on Friday afternoon.  If you decide to visit, make sure you put this one in your GPS or you might drive right past it.  It's on a sharp corner of a curve in the road.  There are only a handful of parking spots and I was lucky enough to snag one. When I walked in the building the first thing I noticed was the large smoker right behind the counter.  Nice!  This is a little hole-in-the-wall dive that seats about 15-20 people.

"The Pit" is located right behind the counter.
This is a restaurant where you order at the counter, they serve you right there, and then you seat yourself.  I ordered a brisket sandwich with fries.  My bill was $11.38.  I received my food almost instantly and found a table.  By the time I sat down the line was out the door about 15 people deep, so I arrived at just the right time to not have to wait.

The brisket sandwich is served on slices of bread with a bottom layer of bread, a layer of brisket, another layer of bread, brisket on top of that and topped with another layer of bread.  This is a huge sandwich!  A very generous portion of meat.  The sandwich was served with sauce on it.  The meat was warm and tender with a good flavor and a crunchy bark.  However, the meat was a bit chewy with some pieces of fat in it.  Even though it had a good smoke flavor, it was too chewy for my taste.

They didn't douse the sandwich with their sauce, (which is a good thing), so to adequately review the sauce I tried it with my fries.  They only have one sauce flavor and it's a little sweet with a slight brown sugar taste to it.  After just one visit I have become a fan of their sauce.  The fries are fresh cut and I was a bit disappointed in the consistency.  They give a large serving but some of the fries were overdone, some were underdone, (almost raw), and some were soggy.  I ate them anyway!

LC's rub.  I didn't try it, but I did snap a picture.
I'm glad I found this place.  It's a really good place to stop at if you're in the area.  They're close to the stadiums and are open on Chiefs Sundays.

Someone ditched a mattress in the wooded area right across the road from LC's.  Hey, it's part of the experience!
I love that they have their smoker right behind the counter and every time they open it the place fills with smoke that makes your mouth water.  It really adds to the experience at this place.

This makes visit number 22 on my quest!  Another milestone reached, as I've reached 30% of the list completed!  Thanks to all my readers for all the great questions and comments.  It helps keep me motivated to complete this!  Till next time....

My LC's selfie!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Roscoe's Barbecue in Edwardsville, Kansas

Roscoe's Barbecue brisket sandwich and fries.
I met my buddy Frank for lunch today at Roscoe's Barbecue in Edwardsville, KS.  Roscoe's started as a competition barbecue team many years ago and competed in contests across the country.  The restaurant in Edwardsville opened in 2009 and has been going strong ever since.  According to their website, they use hickory, apple and cherry wood in their smoker, giving their meat a distinct smoky flavor.  They use a unique rub on their meats which is a combination of spices from all around the country.

I arrived just after noon on Friday.  This is a restaurant where you order at the counter, they give you a drink cup to fill at the self-serve drink station, and you choose a table and they deliver your food to you.  The main restaurant probably seats about 20-25 people, so it's obviously not very big.  It was hard to find a parking spot out front as well.  Kind of a hole in the wall kind of place, but it was pretty nice on the inside.

I ordered a large brisket sandwich and fries.  My bill was $11.17.  You have the option to order the sandwich on a bun instead of bread. I didn't pay enough attention to the menu when I ordered and I didn't even realize that you had a choice between bread and a bun so I received my sandwich on bread.  I received my food about 10-15 minutes after placing the order.   The sandwich is served as slices of brisket with their sauce on the sandwich.  The meat was warm and tender with a nice smoky hickory flavor and a crispy bark with a nice tasting rub on it.  After a few bites the sandwich got a little dry, but the taste of the meat made up for it.  I was afraid the bread might get soggy, but it really didn't so I was glad about that.

I tried their sauce on my fries.  The sauce is pretty sweet and has a molasses flavor to it.  It was a bit too sweet for my taste, but it's definitely a unique barbecue sauce and I don't remember tasting anything quite like it before.  The fries were standard fries you would get at most places and didn't have any kind of seasoning on them.

I hate selfies, but what the heck.  I liked the sign.
If you've never been to Roscoe's, make sure you put it in the GPS or you might accidentally drive right by it like I did!  It's in between a gas station and an auto shop on the south side of 32 highway in Edwardsville right off of 435.  I'm glad I found this place, as they have good barbecue and it's relatively close to The Legends, which I visit occasionally.

This is visit number 21 on my quest.  51 more to go!  Till next time....

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Papa Bob's Bar-B-Que in Bonner Springs, Kansas

Papa Bob's brisket sandwich.
Tonight I visited Papa Bob's Bar-B-Que in Bonner Springs, KS, home of the "Ultimate Destroyer" food challenge that was featured on Man vs. Food.  I wasn't there to try the "Ultimate Destroyer," but I might try to tackle it in the future just for the heck of it.  I was there tonight to try the brisket as part of my barbecue quest.

I arrived around 5:00 PM on Thursday.  This is a restaurant where you seat yourself and a waitress serves you.  They have a bar area as well as six or seven tables in the main room and a pretty good sized seating area outside.  I had a seat at the bar and my waitress greeted me instantly.  I glanced at the menu and she asked what I wanted to order and told her that I was looking to order a brisket sandwich.  They have a regular sized sandwich and a large sized sandwich.  I ordered the large sandwich.  The sandwich doesn't come with a side, but I ordered a side of fries with it anyway so I could try the different sauces.

I received my order within a couple minutes of ordering.  The sandwich was served with the beef shredded with sauce already on it and was cut in half for me. This is the second restaurant of my 20 visits thus far that serves the brisket shredded.  The brisket was hot and very tender, but didn't have much taste to it.  I could taste the sauce, but they didn't drench the sandwich with sauce so I could still taste the meat.  The bun got very soggy, which must be a common denominator of a shredded beef brisket sandwich because I remember the same thing happened when I tried Wyandot Barbecue's brisket sandwich.

I tried three of their sauces with my fries.  First was their original sauce, which I really like.  It is just a little sweet and just the right amount for my taste.  Their hot sauce is a bit sweeter than the original sauce and was not really spicy at all.  It had a little bit of a kick to it, but not much.  Their habanero sauce is their sauce with a kick.  The taste lingered for a while after hitting my mouth.  It's not sweet, which is a good thing.  All in all, I was a fan of all three of the sauces I tried at Papa Bob's.

My bill was $12.85 for a large brisket sandwich and fries.  It's a bit on the higher price end compared to other barbecue places, but it's a good sized sandwich and a fairly large portion of fries.

This was my 20th visit on the quest.  A little more than 25% complete.  52 more to go!  Till next time....

Friday, September 15, 2017

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas

Joe's KC brisket sandwich.  A large helping of meat and a huge helping of fries!
The three most common questions I get from people who ask me about my barbecue quest are:

1)  Have you tried Joe's KC yet?
2)  Have you tried Oklahoma Joe's yet?
3)  Have you tried Joe's yet?

I decided to visit Joe's KC today in the original gas station location because I'm getting sick of answering "I've been there before, but haven't visited as part of my barbecue quest to do an official review."  Now I can say "Yes I have!"

Joe's KC started in 1990 as a competition barbecue team called Slaughterhouse Five.  They quickly started winning barbecue contests, including the Lenexa barbecue battle and the American Royal.  From their website..."Out on the competition circuit, Jeff and Joy had become friends with Joe Don Davidson, founder and owner of the Oklahoma Joe's Smoker Company. Under the heady influence of barbecue smoke, Jeff and Joe decided to go into the restaurant business together.  Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue and Catering was created in mid-1995, and the first Oklahoma Joe’s restaurant opened in January 1996 in Stillwater, Oklahoma...Later that year, experience and commitment intersected with opportunity and serendipity at the corner of 47th Avenue and Mission Road in Kansas City, Kansas, where the owner of a little neighborhood gas station and convenience store, not far from the Stehneys' house, closed the little fried chicken counter he had been operating inside the store. “It seemed like a pretty good place for a barbecue joint,” Jeff says. “Inside a gas station. Plus, there was a liquor store next door, in the same building, which was kind of cool. But the main thing was that it was close to home. I knew we’d be putting in some long hours, and being close to home would be a really good thing. We put together a proposal, made an offer, and all of a sudden we were not only in the barbecue business, but also in the gas station 1997, Joe Davidson sold his smoker company and moved to Texas. With no one to oversee the Oklahoma restaurant, it was closed and Jeff and Joy bought Joe's share of the Kansas City restaurant. The Stehneys have been the sole owners of Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que restaurants from that time forward."

I first heard of "Oklahoma Joe's" when they advertised on sports radio 1510 in the mid 90's.  1510 was a startup all sports station in town and they had a guy who hosted the afternoon show named Mike Zarrick, also known as the "Z-Man."  He was the guy who held the 2 PM to 6 PM time slot before Kevin Kietzman eventually took over and has been doing it ever since.  I listened to Z-Man every day.  Since they were a startup company, each host had to sell their own advertising.  Zarrick loved Oklahoma Joe's barbecue and asked if they would be an advertiser.  They agreed and came up with a promotion for a new sandwich.  Since Z-Man was always talking about it on the air, everyone would come into the gas station and ask for the "Z-Man" sandwich.  The name stuck and they have kept the name to this day.  I always thought that was pretty cool.  Z-Man is not on the radio in town anymore, but Joe's pays homage to him by keeping his name associated with the popular sandwich.

I arrived at the restaurant around noon on Friday.  There was already a huge line that was 12 deep outside the door to the restaurant!

I snapped this picture when I finally got in the door.
It took me about 40 minutes to get through the line to the counter to place my order.  This is a place where you order at the counter, they serve you there, and you seat yourself.  I ordered a large brisket sandwich with fries.  My order was around 12 dollars and I received it a couple minutes after paying.  They serve the sandwich on a bun cut in half with sauce on the sandwich.  The brisket was warm (not hot) and tender, but had a little too much sauce on it for my taste.  The meat was thinly sliced and was a bit bland to be honest.  It was a good sandwich, but not great.

I decided to try their sauce with my fries.  The fries had a great tasting seasoning on them. I actually buy their fry seasoning and use it at home on stuff.  I'm obviously a big fan of it.  Their sauce is tangy with a little sweetness and kick to it.  A really good sauce overall.

There was a lot of meat on the sandwich and the side of fries was a huge serving.  For 12 bucks you definitely get your money worth.  I couldn't even finish the fries because I was stuffed.  When I left Joe's around 1:00 the line was still out the door and was as long as it was when I got there.

In July, the New York Post rated the 28 best barbecue places in America and named Joe's Kansas City number one.  When someone told me that my first reaction was to say "Joe's does a great job marketing, don't they?"  I read the article on the New York Post website and there is no indication that the person who wrote the article and made the rankings visited any of the restaurants like I am doing.  The write-ups on each place sound like generic marketing text.  I don't really trust someone in New York to rank the best barbecue places in the country, especially without visiting them.  At least they could make a list of what the general consensus says is the top 100, or the top couple in each state, and visit all of them before making a ranking of them.  But what do I know?

I have had people tell me that Joe's has the best brisket in town.  If you have said that to me, you REALLY need to check out a couple of the places I have already visited and try their brisket.  I am not kidding.  Send me a personal message and I'll let you know which ones to go try.  You owe it to yourself to do it!

This is the 19th visit on the quest!  I still can't quite see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm going to keep plugging away!  This has been a blast so far!  Till next time....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fireside BBQ in Overland Park, Kansas

Fireside BBQ brisket sandwich.
Tonight I visited Fireside BBQ in Overland Park off of 103rd and Mastin right off 69 highway and 103rd street.  Greg Barnes, an Overland Park firefighter for 32 years, opened Fireside BBQ in July, 2014.  Greg and his Dad started as a competition barbecue team in the early 1990s and did so well that Greg started catering after his Dad retired from the team.  Greg eventually opened the restaurant when he retired as a firefighter.

I arrived at the restaurant around 5:45 on a Tuesday evening.  This is a place where you order at the counter and they bring your food out to you.  They have a full bar as well.  I noticed their slogan right away..."Our meat is Boss without the sauce."  Big thumbs up from me!  I ordered the large brisket sandwich without a side dish and my order total was $10.10.  I had a seat and they brought my food out within five minutes.  The sandwich is served on a bun without sauce with thinly sliced pieces of brisket.  The meat was warm and tender with a great tasting rub on it and a nice bark on the meat.  The meat also had a GREAT smoky flavor to it.  Tasted like hickory, but I could be wrong.  It is by far the most smoky flavored meat I've tried thus far.  What a great sandwich.  Definitely try this one without sauce on it.

I did take a piece of brisket off so I could try the sauces.  The first sauce is called "Jack's Recipe."  It has some sweetness, but it's not the sweetest barbecue sauce you'll find.  Their "Original" sauce is a traditional barbecue sauce that has just enough of a kick to it to keep you interested.  The third sauce is called the "Ember" sauce and is their spicy sauce.  It had a little bit of a kick to it, but was not overpowering.  It did linger in my mouth a bit after trying it, which is not a bad thing.

I'm so glad I found this place.  Some of the best, if not the best, brisket I've had so far.  I'd highly recommend you try it if you're in the area.

This makes visit number 18!  I'm making good progress.  Till next time...

Friday, September 8, 2017

Scott's Kitchen at Hangar 29 in Kansas City, Missouri

Scott's Kitchen brisket sandwich.  Thick slices of beef!
Today I visited Scott's Kitchen at Hanger 29 in Kansas City, Missouri.  This restaurant was not on my initial list because they're not "only" a barbecue restaurant, but Scott started following my blog and invited me to come visit so I gladly added them to my list.

According to their website, Scott entered his first barbecue competition in 2009 in Platte City and won the chicken category in his first competition!  After entering a few more competitions over the years, in 2016 Scott won the brisket category in one of the local barbecue competitions that included 55 teams.  Scott decided to open a restaurant and opened Scott's Kitchen in July of this year near KCI.  If you'd like a visual of where it is, it is right next to the Sheraton by the airport right off of I-29.  They are open for breakfast Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 11 AM and for lunch from 11 AM to 3 PM.  It appears they are occasionally open on the weekends, but not every weekend.  You'll have to follow them on Facebook for that information.   Their breakfast menu appears to be a standard menu and their lunch menu includes tacos and wraps as well as barbecue.

I'm so glad Scott invited me to visit.  This is a great restaurant.  Due to the hours and long drive for me, I headed there after work and arrived around 12:40 on Friday.  This is a restaurant where you order at the counter and they bring your food out to you.  Sides are a la carte so I just ordered the brisket sandwich with no sides.  My bill was $9.76.  I received a number and seated myself.  There is a counter you can sit at and there were about five to seven tables inside and also a patio outside with some tables and chairs.  I decided to sit inside.

My order came out within minutes.  The sandwich was served with a small piece of watermelon and some pickles.  I instantly noticed the thick slices of brisket on the bun.  The brisket was flavorful, hot and very tender and was served with a bit of sauce on it.  The bark on the meat was crispy, which I loved.  I ate this sandwich in record time.  I couldn't get enough.  I did pull a couple pieces of brisket off the sandwich so I could try both of their sauces.  Their regular sauce is a bit sweet and too sweet for my taste.  There wasn't enough of that sauce on the sandwich to even notice the sweetness, which was fine by me.  The second sauce is their hot sauce which I really liked.  It wasn't too hot or spicy by any means and went down really well.

This was a great sandwich.  I'm very glad I discovered this place.  If you're up by the airport, or even if you're not up by the airport, definitely check it out.  Stop in for breakfast or lunch before or after your flight.  They serve some great food.  One cool thing they do is you can join their "frequent flyer" club.  You receive a point for every dollar you spend there and after 50 points you get $5.00 off your next order.

To be honest, I think I have a new leader in the clubhouse.  Till next time...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City, Missouri

Arthur Bryant's Beef Sandwich.  Lots of beef!
I visited Arthur Bryant's on 18th and Brooklyn in Kansas City, Missouri around 2:00 on Sunday, September 3rd.  I have been to this Bryant's before, but it's been a while and I wanted a fresh perspective for my barbecue quest.  Arthur Bryant's has been a staple in Kansas city since the 1930s.  Charlie Bryant started the Kansas City barbecue tradition, or some say it was Henry Perry for whom Charlie worked. Arthur visited his brother Charlie in KC and never left. Charlie owned the business after Henry died, then after Charlie died Arthur took over. Arthur first perfected the sauce ("I make it so you can put it on bread and eat it") and then opened the 18th & Brooklyn restaurant that was to become a legend. After Arthur passed away in 1982 Gary Berbiglia and Bill Rauschelbach acquired the restaurant and have expanded the business while preserving the original Arthur Bryant's traditions and world-famous flavor.

When I arrived around 2:00 there was a line out the door and down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.  I thought I might avoid the lunch rush, but it wasn't to be.  The smell of barbecue engulfed the place, even outside on the sidewalk.  I stood in line approximately 30 minutes before making it to the counter.  If you're not familiar with Arthur Bryant's, you order at the counter and they serve you there and then you seat yourself.  I ordered their brisket sandwich with fries.  After I ordered I received my food within a minute or so and then waited another 10 minutes or so to pay.  They were very busy.  The line behind me was still to the front door.

Once I made it through the gauntlet I found a seat rather easily.  Their brisket sandwich is served on bread slices and the meat is thinly sliced.  The meat was tender and flavorful.  I wouldn't call it dry but it wasn't juicy, either.  It wasn't really hot, but I did wait about 10 minutes to pay after receiving my food, so that's probably why.  They serve a really good portion of meat.   The meat was a bit fatty and every third bite or so I got a sizable chunk of fat.  I finished the whole sandwich without putting any sauce on it.  I wasn't going to ruin the Arthur Bryant's experience and this sandwich by putting sauce on it.

I did pull a few slices off of the sandwich so I could try the sauces.  Their original sauce has a bit of zing to it.  Has a distinct vinegar taste to it and in looking at the ingredients, vinegar, onion and garlic are some of the primary ingredients.  The second sauce I tried was the rich and spicy sauce.  This is my favorite sauce of theirs.  It has a bit of a kick to it, but not overpowering and the taste does not linger long.  It's a really good sauce.  The third sauce I had an opportunity to try is their sweet sauce.  It's actually not too sweet and, for me, has just the right amount of sweetness for a barbecue sauce.

When I left around 3:00 the line was still about 2/3 of the way to the door.  This place sure does a good business.

The line behind me was as long as the line in front of me!
I'm glad I got to try Bryant's today.  I have talked with numerous buddies about my quest and my biggest fear going into this was that my final rankings of the best barbecue in Kansas City was just going to include the old staples....Bryant's, Gates, Joe's, Jack Stack, etc.  If that were the case I might find this to be a wasted effort.  Well no worries.  I've been two two of those already and neither is at the top of the list so far and I've been to 16 restaurants now.  So the quest continues!  Till next time....