“When was the last time you had barbecue for breakfast?” Pete Seghesio asked as we drove into the parking lot of Oklahoma Joe’s, an eatery that shares space with a gas station. You could smell the smoke from the meat and beans cooking the moment we climbed out of the car.
In Kansas City barbecue is practically a religion.
Saturday’s game plan: visit as many BBQs and taste as many entrées as we could. Pete and I had run into each other the night before. I was in town to visit friends; he was hosting a dinner featuring his wines at Jasper’s restaurant. So we agreed to spend some of our free time exploring the local food scene together, splitting the bills along the way.
We were among the first in at Joe’s when the doors opened at 11 am. Soon the place began to fill up with locals, and a line formed at the counter.
We were joined by one of Pete’s friends from K.C., Stan Peterson, his son and one of his son’s friends, making us a BBQ jury of five.
I figured Pete could order, but Stan had already taken care of that. Soon we were headed for our table, carrying ribs, beans, beef brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, French fries, coleslaw, pickles, bread and a pitcher of Boulevard beer, a local favorite.
Pete and Stan began to dissect the entrées and it soon became apparent that Stan knew his BBQ, probably better than Pete. After about 15 minutes, and eating more than we should have, we boxed up the leftovers into six carry-out plates and later handed them out to the homeless we encountered. We did the same thing at each of the next five stops, ending with about 30 boxed lunches. We liked Joe’s but expected better things to come.
Arthur Bryant’s was the next spot—more BBQ, fries, beans, beer and a hat and a t-shirt. You can see the Arthur Bryant chef chopping up and plating our ribs in the video below. Then on to Gates & Sons, and then Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, which was the first place where we could drink wine. I had been looking for a wine angle, figuring wine would be perfect with the spicy BBQ sauces. But most places only served soft drinks and beer. At Jack Stack, Pete uncorked a 2007 Seghesio Zin. We were also served onion rings, bowls of a cheesy corn dish and au gratin potatoes. By then I had located my Tums.
|LC's smoker earned it the distinction of "smokiest barbecue" on James Laube's whirlwind BBQ tour.|