Sunday, August 26, 2018

Luther's BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri

Luther's BBQ brisket sandwich and fries
Last night I visited Luther's BBQ on 129th and State Line in Kansas City, Missouri.  Luther's opened on July 20th of this year and was formerly known as Murray's Tables and Taps.  Owner Pat Murray has partnered with Luther Saulsberry to help change Murray's into a barbecue restaurant.  I found a little bit of the background and history of this decision in an article from the Martin City Telegraph:

"The former Irish/American restaurant is now Luther’s BBQ, complete with a newly installed Ole Hickory wood smoker in the kitchen and a more rustic, industrial look in the dining area.

Owner Pat Murray shared some of the background on the transformation. He owned a barbecue restaurant for 13 years (1997 to 2010) with locations in Lawrence and Manhattan, Kan., and at the Hy-Vee at 123rd and State Line Road. It was called Pat’s Blue Rib’n Barbeque, Murray says, noting the play on words in the name.

Murray worked with award-winning pitmaster Luther Saulsberry  as a consultant for the Manhattan store back then. Saulsberry, who worked for 24 years at Quigley’s in Leawood, had recently become available. After tossing around the idea of reopening a barbecue restaurant, the two formed a partnership.

Now you’ll find Saulsberry in the kitchen serving up racks of ribs, burnt ends and smoked meats with just a drizzle of barbecue sauce.

Luther’s BBQ serves a full barbecue menu along with homemade side dishes. The specialty is burnt ends, but Murray is keeping some of the same items from his former menu such as salads, burgers and sandwiches. His daughter Katie Murray Dubin remains as the general manager.

As for the established bar business? In all likelihood Murray will bring back live music once he settles in. He definitely wants to keep his previous customers, stating, “This is my background and I really look forward to pursuing this now that I have the right person to do it with.'”

I went to check this place out with a small group of friends since one of them is friends with both owners and has worked with Luther in the past.  We arrived around 5:15 Saturday night.  This is a sit down restaurant where a hostess seats you and you are waited on.  We decided to order some appetizers and ordered the fried pickles and smoked wings.  Both were good.  The wings had a great smoky flavor.

Luther came out to say hello and we had a short conversation and he recommended the burnt ends.  I already knew what I was going to order, but one of my friends ordered the burnt ends and the other ordered a full slab of ribs.  I ordered a brisket sandwich on a bun with no sauce on it.  You can order it with bread or a bun.

We received our food about 15 minutes after ordering.  The brisket was thinly sliced on a toasted bun.  It was tender and juicy with a nice smoke ring, but it was a bit fatty.  They give you a large portion of meat on the sandwich, which is a great serving for the ten dollar price tag.  The sandwich and the meat reminded me of what you would get at Arthur Bryant's.  If you've had Bryant's brisket, it is similar to what you get at Luther's.

Luther's burnt ends
We received a sampling of the barbecue sauces that they offer and I decided to try them with my fries..  The standard sauce was a good, thick and mild barbecue sauce.  The spicy sauce had a bit of a kick to it.  Just enough to get the mouth to tingle a little bit.  Both sauces were really good.

Luther's ribs
The meal was great overall and I'd encourage you to check it out sometime.  I tried the ribs and they were really good as well.  Very tender and stuck to the bone.  Prepared almost perfectly.

I'm glad I have a lot of friends interested in my quest that have decided to join me on some of my stops.  It's always good to get their perspective and feedback on the food we're eating and it's nice to have some company as I'm going through this!

This was stop number 56!  18 more to go!  Thanks again for reading and following along.  I enjoy reading your comments as well.  Keep them coming.  Till next time...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

County Road Ice House in Kansas City, Missouri

County Road Ice House brisket sandwich
Tonight I visited County Road Ice House in the Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  County Road House opened in March of this year and is a unique dining and drinking concept entirely new to Kansas City. It features smoked meats, burgers, tacos, and ice cold beer served in a casual indoor and outdoor environment.

County Road House is owned by Back Napkin Restaurant Group and Joe's Kansas City founders Jeff and Joy Stehney.  In an article on their website, Stehney was quoted as saying “We’re thrilled to be introducing the ice house concept to Kansas City.  In Texas, where the ice house tradition originated, these were public places where friends and neighbors came together to relax and enjoy some good food and music. Usually with big outdoor seating areas. We want to replicate that experience here in our hometown.” I found that to be an accurate description of what I experienced.

I arrived around 4:45 on Tuesday.  This is a sit down restaurant where a hostess seats you and you are waited on.  I decided to sit at the bar and was greeted instantly by the bartender and given a glass of water and a menu.  I ordered a brisket sandwich and fries and the total was around 11 dollars.  I didn't know whether to expect the same sandwich you would get at Joe's KC or if it would be a bit different.  I received my order a few minutes after ordering, which I thought was really quick service.

I actually liked this sandwich better than the one I had at the original Joe's KC location on 47th street.  It was served with thinly cut slices of brisket on a toasted bun and served with their original sauce on it.  The brisket was tender and flavorful with a nice smoke ring.  It was a great sandwich.

I tried their two barbecue sauces with my fries.  The fries are served with Joe's KC seasoning on them, which I love.  The Joe's KC original sauce had a slight kick to it and is a molasses based sauce.  It's a really good, thick barbecue sauce and I'm a fan of it.  The "Night of the Living Bar-B-Q" sauce is their spicy sauce.  It is vinegar and molasses based with garlic powder and onion powder as main ingredients.  It gives your mouth just the right amount of "tingle" without being overpowering.  Both sauces are excellent, in my opinion.

Overall, this was a great meal and I have no complaints.  They have happy hour specials from 3-6 Monday through Friday which is a nice touch.  Definitely give this place a try when you're down near the Power and Light district.

This is stop number 55 on the quest!  19 left to go unless a new place opens up soon!  Thanks again for reading and following!  Till next time...

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Oden's BBQ in Belton, Missouri

Oden's BBQ brisket sandwich and fries
Today I visited Oden's Family BBQ in Belton, Missouri.  Oden's has been owned and operated by Jim & Karen Oden since 1982.  Oden's recently reopened after some embers from their smoke pit got inside the restaurant walls and started a fire.  There's not a lot of information about Oden's online and their website just lists their hours and allows you to place an online order for pickup.

I arrived around 1:30 on Sunday.  This is a sit down restaurant where a hostess seats you at a table as you walk in and you are waited on.  The restaurant has a rustic feel and decor to it.  Kind of reminded me of a Cracker Barrel.  I was seated instantly and waited on instantly.  They have a couple of different options for barbecue sandwiches.  You can order it on a round bun or hoagie bun.  I ordered the brisket on a round bun that was called "Jimbo on the Round" on the menu.  It comes with fries and costs nine dollars.

I received my order about 20 minutes after ordering.  The sandwich was served with thin cut slices of brisket on a toasted bun with no sauce.  The meat had an okay flavor but was tough and dry.  It was way overcooked in my opinion.  I ended up putting sauce on the sandwich after a few bites and finishing it that way.

The fries were wedge cut and I tried their sauces with the fries.  They have a standard sauce and a spicy sauce at each table for you to try.  The regular sauce was a pretty mild barbecue sauce and quite ketchupy.  The spicy sauce wasn't really very spicy to me.  It was what you would think of as a standard sauce you would get at most barbecue places.  It was definitely spicier than the standard sauce and I thought it was pretty decent.

Just an observation I had while dining, and this is a big pet peeve of mine, is that when the waitresses refill your water they take your glass to the back to refill it instead of bringing you a glass of water to replace your glass or bringing a pitcher of water around to refill your glass.  One of my waitresses disappeared with my glass for about five minutes and when she finally came back she apologized for taking so long to refill it.  It's just annoying to not have a drink in front of you to wash down your barbecue.  Maybe I'm being too picky.  Like I said, it's just a pet peeve of mine.

They had some interesting things on the walls in this place, like this rotary phone:

I hadn't seen one in a while, so I had to snap a picture of it!

This restaurant has been in business for a while, but it's obvious to me that brisket isn't their specialty.  They do serve items other than barbecue, so I'd be interested to hear what others have to say about their food.  Seems like they have mostly positive reviews online.

This is number 54 on the quest.  20 left to go!  You can also follow allong on Facebook at  Till  next time....

Friday, August 10, 2018

Jazzy B's Diner in Lee's Summit, Missouri

Jazzy B's brisket sandwich and fries

Thursday night I visited Jazzy B's Diner in Lee's Summit, Missouri.  Jazzy B's is owned by Brandon Simpson, who started his business as a food truck in 2010.  It was so successful that he eventually opened the restaurant in 2016.  The food truck is still in operation as well.  Brandon made a great decision getting into this business because this guy knows his barbecue!

I went with a buddy of mine from out of town who loves barbecue and had never tried this place.  We arrived around 6:00.  This is a place where you order at the counter and they serve your food right there at the counter and you can sit wherever you find a table.  I saw Brandon when we ordered and introduced myself and explained my barbecue quest.  He asked what my favorites are so far and he seemed kind of surprised as he had only heard of one of them.  Brandon's a jovial and outgoing guy and a pleasure to talk to. 

I ordered my standard brisket sandwich and fries.  They asked which sauce I wanted on it, regular or spicy.  I asked if I could try both on the side and they said that was no problem.  The bill was about $12.50.  We received our food about five minutes after ordering and had a seat.  The brisket is cut into chunks and served on a bun.  It's kind of like burnt ends would be served, but not quite as thick as burnt ends are cut.  It was a unique way to serve a brisket sandwich and it was the first restaurant that I've been to that served it this way.  The meat was tender and flavorful and had a nice crunchy bark and nice smoke ring.  It was a little dry, but I still didn't need any sauce on it to devour the sandwich in almost record time.  Overall a great sandwich.

I tried the sauces with my fries.  The fries had a nice sprinkling of seasoning on them  The regular sauce had a molasses flavor to it with a hint of grape jelly.  A good, mild sauce.  The spicy sauce is made with habanero, ghost peppers and some sort of blueberry spice.  It sounds really spicy, but it is really fairly mild and not overpowering.  However, it has enough spice to get your mouth tingling and keep it that way as you keep eating it.

My friend tried a sampler platter which included the ribs, burnt ends and sausage.  He was nice enough to let me try everything.  The burnt ends and sausage were good, but I think the standout was the ribs.  My friend commented that he thought they were some of the best ribs he's had in his life.  Pretty high praise!  I thought they were amazing.

Shortly after we got there I asked Brandon how the wings are.  The expression on his face and his reaction was enough to tell me I had to try them.  So I ordered some for dessert!  I have to say these were the best smoked wings I have ever had.  They are advertised as "Smoke Fried Chicken Wings."  I asked Brandon how he prepares them and he smokes them and then deep fries them to get a crunchy skin on them.  Like a lot of us, he didn't like the rubbery skin you get when trying to smoke wings and this is a great solution to that problem! These are whole chicken wings like what you would get at The Peanut and you can order them regular or with the spicy sauce on them.  I ordered them spicy and by the time I had five of them I was so stuffed I couldn't eat anymore.

Is your mouth watering yet?
I'm so glad I found this place.  Brandon knows his barbecue!  It's a bit of a drive for me, but it was well worth the drive.  If you're someone who thinks Gates, Arthur Bryant's, Joe's KC or Jack Stack has the best barbecue in town, it might be worth a trip to Jazzy B's to see if your opinion might change.

This completes stop number 53!  Still plugging away!  22 more to go!  Don't forget to follow along on Facebook!  Till next time...