Continuing my quest to empty my bucket list, I visited a new state a few weekends ago to partake of their speciality: barbecue. Well, to be honest, I was visiting dear friends in Kansas for the baptism of their sweet daughter, and barbecue was just an added bonus. (I told them I would be the godmother of their baby if they fed me Kansas City bbq. But I was joking. I promise.)
My recent trip to Asheville meant trying North Carolina bbq, and with all due respect to my friends in the Tar Heel State, I’m just not a huge fan of vinegar-based sauce. So while our trips to Luella’s and Buxton Hall had been great, I suspected I would like my feast in Kansas City better.
Marisa and Dan didn’t mess around – they took me straight to the place that was supposed to be the best… Joe’s. Lauded by no other but Anthony Bourdain as one of the 13 places to eat before you die, Joe’s is in a gas station in Kansas City, KS (just a few blocks over the state line).
As you can tell by the line out the door, it’s a popular place. This was at 2 in the afternoon – I don’t know what it would be like at lunch time! Joe’s is known for a sandwich called the Z-Man: sliced brisket, smoked provolone cheese, onion rings, and barbecue sauce on a Kaiser roll. While I’m usually a pulled pork girl, I knew I should try their signature sandwich. Marisa and I decided to split the sandwich and a plate of pulled pork. Win, win.
We waited in line for about an hour, but hey, when you’re with old friends (and their kids are napping happily), an hour passes pretty quickly. And believe me … it was well worth the wait.
It may not look like much here, because I’m no food photographer, and honestly, once I took a bite there was no stopping for second shots. Marisa’s lucky she got half the sandwich away from me. One of the reasons I don’t rush to order brisket is that it can often be hard to eat — big, thick pieces that are hard to bite. But this was sliced thin and was beautifully tender.
The pulled pork, not pictured, was also among the most tender pulled pork I’ve ever had. While some barbecue places leave you remembering the sauce, Joe’s hit a home run with the meat itself.
The sides we ordered were pretty good – coleslaw, french fries, and Kansas City caviar – but that sandwich is what remained etched in my brain (and on my tastebuds). I think I might be willing to go back to Kansas for it.
Emptied the bucket list!
Since Marisa knows me pretty well, we followed lunch up with my favorite food of all time: ice cream. I tend to order vanilla when I go to a new ice cream place – not because I’m boring, but so that I can accurately judge various ice cream places next to each other without getting swayed by crazy ingredients. So I got a dish of vanilla and peanut butter, and let me tell you, this was pretty amazing vanilla ice cream.
Look at those flecks! (The vanilla is the bottom scoop.) I don’t know if that’s really a sign of good vanilla ice cream or not, but heck, this was good vanilla ice cream.
So next time you’re in Kansas City, hit up Joe’s in Kansas and Glacé in Missouri. You will come home fat and happy.
Just be careful of those giants playing badminton.