Saturday, October 28, 2017

Smokey's on the Blvd BBQ in Overland Park, Kansas - Take Two

One of the things I enjoy about my quest is my chance to meet and correspond with the many small business owners that run all of these great barbecue places.  As a former small business owner myself, I understand what it's like to take the plunge and go out on your own.  I also enjoy discussing their stories and finding out more about how they came to do what they do.

The new owner of Smokey's, Winston Riley, contacted me after I posted my latest blog and provided some additional information that I think will be helpful to my readers.

Winston is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Technology and has a 40 year career in fine dining.  When I visited Smokey's, I noticed a LOT of hickory logs out front of the restaurant.  Winston said that they smoke their brisket for eight hours and wrap it four hours into the cook to give it the smoke flavor and smoke ring.  To fully savor the smoke flavor, make sure you order the brisket without sauce.  He also mentioned that they trim the fat to make it a lean cut, which I definitely noticed and pointed out in the blog post.  Thank you, Winston, for clarifying a few of these items for me.


I've picked up a lot of new readers since I started this quest and I hope you are enjoying following along with my journey.  The goal for me is to find the best barbecue in Kansas City and I'm doing that by visiting every barbecue restaurant in the Kansas City area.  I'll refer you to my first blog post that explains what I am doing.  I'm trying the brisket at each place because brisket is the most difficult cut of meat to "get right" from my own personal experience.  If someone can cook a great brisket, most likely everything else there is great as well.

As I said when I started, I'm not a professional writer nor a professional food critic.  I'm an amateur griller and barbecue fanatic that has done relatively well in local food competitions that I've entered.  I grill or smoke meat about five nights a week out on my deck, even in the winter.  I've always loved it.  That's about where my qualifications for this end.  I'm just a guy trying to find the best barbecue in town and figured the only way to do it is to visit each restaurant and then decide.  I rank them as I go and when I'm done I will make a list of my top 10 and we will have events at each place so everyone can go try their barbecue.  Everyone is invited to join.  Obviously I'm not getting paid for this and I don't contact the restaurants in any way before I visit.  I don't want them to know who I am until after I visit.  Part of the fun of this is making a lot of new friends along the way, which I have already done.

I hope you continue to follow me on my quest.  Thanks again for reading, following and sharing.
Till next time....

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Smokey's on the Blvd BBQ in Overland Park, Kansas

Smokey's brisket sandwich and sweet potato fries.
Tonight I visited Smokey's on the Blvd. BBQ in Overland Park, KS.  Smokey's has been around since 2012 and started as the father and son barbecue team of Rob and Jason Harris.  They are located in south Overland Park at 145th and Metcalf near the Tanner's and Jose Peppers on the southeast corner in the strip mall.

I arrived around 5:30 on Thursday.  They weren't very busy at this time, as there was only one other customer in the place.  This is a restaurant where you order at the counter and you seat yourself and they bring your food out to you.  Their dining room is fairly small and seats around 30 people.

I ordered a brisket sandwich and sweet potato fries.  My bill was around eleven dollars.  I got my drink at the self-serve drink station and found a booth to sit in.  About five minutes later they brought my food out to me.

The sandwich is served on a toasted hoagie style bun with sauce on it.  Since the bun is pretty soft, I'd characterize it more as a brat bun than a hoagie bun.  The brisket was warm and really tender.  I really couldn't detect a smoke flavor to the meat because of the sauce, but I did notice a nice smoke ring on it.  The sandwich went down really well due to the tenderness of the meat.  Overall it was a good sandwich.  They do a good job trimming the fat from the meat, as there was little fat.

They have two barbecue sauces that I tried, a regular sauce and a hot sauce.  The regular sauce was a tad sweet but did not have a kick to it at all.  The hot sauce had a bit of a kick to it, but not overpowering.  I preferred it to the regular sauce.

The sweet potato fries were waffle fries and had a nice flavor to them.

My Smokey's selfie!
I'll definitely go back to Smokey's to try their other menu items.  It's a nice little neighborhood barbecue place.

This makes visit number 26 on my quest.  46 more to go!  Till next time....

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Burnt End BBQ in Overland Park, KS

Burnt End BBQ brisket sandwich.
Tonight I visited Burnt End BBQ in Overland Park, KS.  Burnt End BBQ got its start in 2011 and has been at its current location on the corner of 119th and Metcalf since 2014.  I have been there once before but went tonight to try the brisket as part of my barbecue quest.

I arrived around 5:15 Thursday evening.  They weren't too busy at this time, as there were only three people eating at tables as I walked in and I'd estimate it seats about 50 people.  This is is a restaurant where you order at the counter and you seat yourself and they bring your food out to you.  I ordered a large brisket sandwich and fries and my bill was around eleven dollars.  They have a self serve drink station and by the time I got my drink and sat down they were bringing my food to me.

The brisket is thick cut and served on a toasted hoagie bun without sauce.  The brisket had a great smoky flavor and a nice smoke ring.  The meat was a bit dry and chewy and was too dry to eat on that bun with no sauce on it so I only ate a few bites without sauce before putting some of their original sauce on it to finish the sandwich.

Burnt End sauces.
They have three sauces at each table that you can try.  Their "Original" sauce is sweet with a small kick to it and has a brown sugar flavor.  Their "Thick and Bold" sauce had a strong molasses and smoke flavor to it.  It's my favorite of the three and a really good sauce with no kick to it at all.  The third of their sauces is the "Spicy Southwest," which has a bigger kick to it than their original sauce and is made with green chili peppers.  The french fries were standard fries that you would get at any fast food joint and were nothing special.

This was visit number 25 on my barbecue quest.  Although one of my ground rules was to not include any chain restaurants other than local chains, I decided to include this one. It is part of a larger restaurant group called PB&J, but this is the only barbecue place in the chain.  They own other restaurants in the area such as YaYa's and Red Robin.

Thank you for reading and following along.  Please feel free to share any of my posts on social media and "like" my Facebook page.  Till next time...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Woodyard Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, KS

Woodyard Bar-B-Que brisket sandwich.
Today I visited Woodyard Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas.  Woodyard is located off I-635 and Merriam Drive.  According to their website, they have been at their Merriam location since the late 1950's.  Woodyard Bar-B-Que started with Frank Schloegel II working his grill at lunch, feeding his customers and his friends for free, while he sold wood deliveries over the phone. Frank Schloegel III kept it going in the same spirit of generosity and started smoking for charities and church fundraisers. Eventually he gave in to multiple requests and opened the restaurant.  They've been a staple of the community ever since.

I arrived around 5:10 on Thursday evening.  This is a restaurant where you order at the counter and they bring your food out to your table.  They also have a self-serve drink station inside.  There are only a couple of tables in the main building where you order, but there are two additional buildings connected to it that may have had additional indoor seating but they were closed today.  Most of the seating is outside.

I ordered their brisket sandwich and fries and got my drink and sat at one of the tables.  My bill was $11.90.  There were only two other people in the restaurant when I arrived, so it was a good time to go.  Within a couple minutes they brought my sandwich to me.

The sandwich was served without sauce.  The brisket was thinly sliced and was warm but a bit tough and bland.  It was juicy enough to make the bun soggy, but didn't have much of a taste to it.  It actually tasted like a brisket you would make in a crock pot.  I would doubt that's how they prepare it, but that's what it tasted like.  I finished the sandwich without putting any sauce on it, but pulled a couple slices of beef off so I could try their sauces.

They have an original sauce and another sauce that they call their "hot" sauce.  The original sauce is sweet with a molasses taste to it.  It's a good sauce overall.  The hot sauce only had a little bit of kick to it.  I wouldn't classify it as "hot" personally, but it did have more of a kick to it than their original sauce.

The fries they served were shoestring cut.  They were flavorful with a little bit of seasoning on them.  I ate them with the hot barbecue sauce.  I noticed on their menu that they highlight their smoked hot wings.  You can order as little as one of them and they advertise them as jumbo wings, so I ordered one.  The wing was chewy, as was the skin.  The meat did have a smoky flavor to it, but I wouldn't classify it as a spicy or hot buffalo-style wing.

Woodyard's smoked hot wing.
Woodyard's has been featured on quite a few food television shows.  They were featured on Guy Fieri’s "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on July 12th 2012, Anthony Bourdain’s "No Reservations" April 16th of 2012, Andrew Zimmern’s "Delicious Destinations" on November 24th 2015 and "Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Special" on December 11th, 2015.

Signs showing all the television shows they've been featured on.
This makes number 24 on my quest.  I've got 1/3 of my visits completed now.  A lot more to go, so stay tuned!  Till next time....

My Woodyard's selfie.  I was staring into the sun!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri

"The Big One."
Today I visited B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri.  The owner, Lindsay Shannon, and his wife Jo opened B.B.'s in October of 1990.  B.B.'s main focus is barbecue, but Lindsay is a big fan of blues music and they have live music Thursday through Sunday evenings.

I arrived around 5:00 on Thursday.  When I parked and got out of the car the smell of barbecue and the smoker engulfed me.  Enough that my mouth started watering!   I walked in and was their first customer of the evening and I decided to sit at the bar.  They have picnic table style seating along with the full bar.  I'd guess their dining area can seat between 60 and 80 people, so it's pretty good sized.  When I sat down I  was waited on instantly.  I looked at the menu and ordered the large beef sandwich, which they call "The Big One."  You can have it on bread or on a bun and I decided to try it on a bun.  The sandwich is served with fries and costs $9.99.  This sandwich ended up being the best bargain on my journey so far.

I received the sandwich about five minutes after ordering.  This is a humongous sandwich!  It was served with their standard sauce on it with three strips of their battered fries.  The meat was thinly sliced, had an excellent smoky flavor and had a very nice smoke ring.  It was hot and a bit chewy, but the taste of the meat made up for the chewiness.  I could barely finish this monster of a sandwich and I can eat!  I'd estimate about 70% of people would have lunch and maybe dinner the next day in leftovers after ordering this sandwich.

They have two sauces, a standard sauce and a spicy sauce.  I would characterize the standard sauce as a generic barbecue sauce that you would get anywhere.  It is not sweet and has only a slight kick to it.  The spicy sauce had a kick to it and made my tongue tingle for a bit.  It is not overpowering spicy, but just the right amount of spice for my taste.  I overheard the bartender telling someone that every employee that works there eats the food with the spicy sauce because it's not "really" spicy.  I'd concur that it was my favorite of the two sauces.

The sandwich came with three large strips of battered fries.  They were a bit unique from the fries I've had anywhere else.  Kind of reminded me of a small baked potato cut in three slices.  They were pretty good overall.

My BB's Selfie!
I had never been to BB's before, but I'm glad I found it.  Like I mentioned, it's definitely the best buy I've had so far for what you spend and the amount of food you get.  I'll definitely go back to try some other menu items.

This makes visit number 23 on my quest.  Only about 50 more to go!  Till next time....