The Cravings Queen’s Kansas City Barbecue Tour

Across the United States, several cities and states claim to serve the best barbecue. The Carolinas are known for pulled pork, Memphis has ribs and Texas has several different styles. Among those is Kansas City. Over the Christmas break, when visiting my grandparents, I set out to try as many of Kansas City’s barbecue restaurants as possible. These restaurants have been recommended by family, food writers and strangers just looking to make sure you only eat the best when you visit.

What is Kansas City Barbecue?

In the 1920s, Henry Perry began serving meat that he cooked in an outdoor pit. Perry is now known as the “father of Kansas City barbecue.” From there, the Gates and Bryant families expanded the prestige of Kansas City barbecue. This is merely a brief overview of Kansas City’s history and heritage of barbecue. Those interested in learning more should read Kansas City Business Journal’s article.

Kansas City barbecue differs from the rest of the nation in the preparation of the meat. Kansas City barbecue uses a variety of meats, including beef, chicken, pork sausage and more, but is best known for burnt ends. There are two parts of a brisket, the flat and the point. Burnt ends come from the point and draw more of the flavor from the fat than other parts of the brisket.

When preparing Kansas City-style barbecue, the meat is rubbed with spices, slow-smoked and slathered with tomato-based barbecue sauce. The flavors of the sauce then vary depending on the restaurant.


My mother, a native of the Kansas City area, has always sang the praises of Kansas City barbecue. Growing up, I always had a bottle of Gates Bar-BQ sauce at home but knew nothing more of the area’s famous barbecue. My family swears by Gate’s barbecue but during my visit, I wanted to expand my horizons.

There have been countless articles and television shows about Kansas City’s best barbecue restaurants. I did some research and compiled a list. Over the six days I was in the area, I made it to three of Kansas City’s top barbecue restaurants. Click below to read about each one.

Joe’s Kansas City

Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque Restaurant

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue