Tuesday, July 17, 2018

R & J Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas

R&J Barbecue brisket sandwich and fries
Tonight I visited R&J Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas.  R&J is located off Parallel Parkway near the Legends.  It's hard to find much background or historical information about some of these places and this is one of them.  All I could find online is reviews of this place.  You might actually drive right by the building if you weren't looking for it.  When I pulled up I was wondering if it was open, as there were only a couple of cars in the parking lot and it appeared no lights were on.  It turns out they were open, just not very busy at this time of day.

I took my daughter along on this visit.  We arrived around 4:45.  There was one other family in the restaurant when we walked in.  The hostess greeted us and asked us to have a seat anywhere.  I'd say the dining room seats between 70 and 80 people so we had the pick of just about any table we wanted.  We were waited on and given menus shortly after we sat down.

They have two different types of barbecue sandwiches.  One with a bun and one on a hoagie bun.  I ordered mine on a bun with fries.  My daughter ordered chicken tenders.  I was surprised a barbecue place had chicken tenders on the menu, but they do and she liked them!

We received our order in about 10 minutes.  The brisket is served with thin cut slices with their barbecue sauce on the sandwich.  The meat was tender with a hickory smoke flavor and a nice smoke ring.  The meat was neatly trimmed and I didn't detect any fat on the sandwich.  The sauce was good but a bit on the sweet side.  They served crinkle cut fries and they didn't have any seasoning on them.  I thought they were just about average for what you would normally get at a restaurant.

Overall the food was decent and the service was good.  Just not a place I'd normally go out of my way to eat at.

This stop was number 52 on my BBQ quest.  22 more to go!  I'm going to be on vacation next week, so I won't be posting another blog until I get back.

Don't forget to follow along on Facebook.  Thanks for reading and for your support and encouragement.  Till next time...

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Plowboys Barbecue in Blue Springs, Missouri

Plowboys brisket sandwich
For the next stop on my quest I visited Plowboys Barbecue in Blue Springs, Missouri on Friday evening.  Plowboys started as a competition barbecue team in 2001.  They have been very successful on the competition barbecue circuit and in 2013 they opened their restaurant in Blue Springs, Missouri.  From their website:

"The heart of Plowboys BBQ is competition-style barbecue. It began in 2001 when Todd Johns and his brother-in-law, Randy Hinck, started Pork Pullin Plowboys, their competition team. For the next six years, Todd and Randy would travel all over the country, participating in competitions, perfecting their craft and learning what makes truly great barbecue. Hint: It’s all about the “low and slow.” 

I met up with Ryan Cooper, the BBQ Tourist, who is in town on business and is doing a bunch of barbecue stops in the process.   We arrived around 5:30.  I ordered a large brisket sandwich and Ryan and I decided to split a sampler platter.  The sandwich was about eight dollars or so.

Their building looks like it was a former fast food restaurant.  It even has a drive through window.  When you walk in you order at the counter and they give you a number and then you have a seat and they bring your food out when it is ready.  One thing I noticed is that they do not ask for a tip on the receipt like a lot of places with a similar setup do.  I liked the ease of not having to think about whether or not to leave a tip when you're not really being waited on.

We received our food about five minutes after ordering.  The brisket sandwich was served without sauce on it.  The meat was served as thick cut slices and had a great smoke flavor and a crunchy, flavorful bark.  The meat was tender but a bit dry, and I did not need sauce to eat the sandwich.  I liked it, but it wasn't one of my favorites because it was a bit dry.

They have three sauces at each table to try.  A Sweet 180, a Crossroads, and an En Fuego.  The En Fuego is advertised as their spicy sauce but I didn't find it really spicy at all.  The Crossroads sauce tasted like it had a molasses base.  It was good and pretty mild.  I also liked the Sweet 180.  Pretty good for a sweet sauce.

When I checked in at Plowboys I had a follower comment that I needed to try the barbecue nachos, so I decided to go back to the counter and order some.  I ordered them with burnt ends on the nachos.  They put cheese, barbecue sauce and pieces of burnt ends on a layer of nachos.  You can get sour cream and other toppings if you want to but I didn't.  The nacho cheese mixed well with the barbecue sauce and the burnt ends were great!

I also tried the pork ribs and I really enjoyed them as well.  They make some good barbecue at this place.

Hanging out with the BBQ Tourist!

Plowboys displays their many competition awards in their display case.
I'm glad I finally got around to trying Plowboys.  They have a second location near downtown if that is closer for you.

This was stop number 51 on my quest.  I've got 22 more to go as of right now.  Don't forget to follow along on Facebook!  Till next time...

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Smoke Brewing Company in Lee's Summit, Missouri

Smoke Brewing Company brisket sandwich
Saturday was a big milestone as I reached stop number 50 on my quest.  I visited a relatively new barbecue restaurant called Smoke Brewing Company in Lee's Summit, Missouri.  Here's a blurb about Smoke Brewing from their website:

"Few collaborations of business, brew and BBQ have run down a lineage path of father to son to family as this one. For Josh, Jeff and Lanni Edwards, though, that’s exactly where Smoke Brewing Company was born and bred. The family. Jeff and Josh Edwards have built homes together, they’ve barbecued together and, eventually, they brewed together. And that tradition has helped open the first-ever BBQ-Brew restaurant in Downtown Lee’s Summit.

Smoke Brewing Company fuses championship, competitive barbecue with fresh craft brew to deliver one of the most unique restaurant perspectives in Lee’s Summit. Smoke Brewing combines the passion of competition BBQ with new culinary concepts and craft brew to offer a menu, style and atmosphere unlike any other in Downtown Lee’s Summit. At Smoke Brewing Company, your family will feel just as home enjoying our menu as we are creating and serving it." 

This is another restaurant that started as a competition barbecue team and is also family run.  They combined their success on the competition barbecue circuit and their love of home brewing to create Smoke Brewing Company in 2017.  I found an article online that was written and posted shortly after their opening that goes a little bit into the history of the founding of the restaurant.

A group of friends decided to join me on Saturday to help me celebrate stop number 50.  We arrived around 6:00.  This is a sit down restaurant where a hostess greets you when you walk in the door and seats you and you get waited on.  We ordered a couple appetizers and decided to try a sampler of their beers along with the smoked wings and chicken fried bacon.  Yes, I said chicken fried bacon!  It's like chicken fried steak, but with bacon in the middle instead of steak.  All the sides and the beers were great.  I'm not sure I've had better smoked wings at a Kansas City barbecue place.

Smoked wings
We ordered our main course and received our food about 20 minutes after ordering.  I ordered the brisket sandwich, which comes with two sides, fries and coleslaw.  I ordered it without sauce.  The brisket can be ordered shredded or sliced and I ordered it sliced.  The pieces were thick cut and the meat had a great smoke flavor and a nice crunchy bark and smoke ring.  There was a huge portion of meat on the sandwich, which was served on a hard roll style bun.  The meat was nicely trimmed of fat.  In fact, I didn't notice ANY fat on the sandwich.  But the meat was still very tender and I did not need sauce on the sandwich to devour the whole thing.  The cost for the sandwich and sides was 12 dollars.  Quite a bargain.

I tried the sauce with my fries.  The fries were good and had a nice, tasty seasoning on them.  The sauce is molasses based and pretty sweet.  I'm not a fan of sweet sauces, so you won't hear me raving about the sauce, but others at our table really liked it.  To each his own.

Everyone at our table raved about their meals.  Everything was good.  We'll all definitely go back to try their other selections.  One of my friends commented "If I lived near here, I would eat here all the time!"  If your list of favorite barbecue places includes Joe's KC, Gates, Arthur Bryants, Jack Stack and Q39, it's time to try Smoke Brewing Company to see if your list of favorites changes!  Another thing to note is that we all had food left on our plates that we couldn't eat because we were so full.  I can usually eat my entire meal with no problem, but I couldn't finish my fries because I was so stuffed.

Chicken fried bacon?  Yes, please!
I mentioned this stop was a big milestone, as it was stop number 50.  I've got 23 more to go.  I keep finding great places along the way and my final rankings will most likely raise some eyebrows...in a good way.

Follow along on Facebook to more closely follow my quest.  Thanks for reading and encouraging me to keep going!  Till next time...