If you’ve got time for a single meal in KC, this is where you’re going to have it. Joe’s isn’t just the best in Kansas City, it’s some of the best in the entire country and the original gas station location is the place to go. The line might be long, but it will still be worth it. But don’t take our word for it: the late Anthony Bourdain named Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que one of the 13 places to eat at before you die. You can’t go wrong with a pulled pork sandwich or opt to go big with a combo plate filled with ribs, plus your choice of pulled pork, brisket, turkey, ham, sausage or a quarter of a chicken. Just make sure the onion rings are at least one of your side dishes and don't go conservative when dressing your meat.
Texas has brisket, Carolina has pulled pork and St. Louis has ribs, but the crown jewel of the Kansas City BBQ scene is a plate of burnt ends. We're talking about those wonderful bites of brisket that are caramelized and smokey on the outside and tender on the inside. Basically, they’re meat gold. Although plenty of butchers used to discard this meat because it was thought to be too chewy for sandwiches, today, the dish sells out on a daily basis all around town. That's because BBQ in Kansas City isn’t just the town’s most recognizable culinary offering (and one of the best things to do in Kansas City), it’s an institution that has shaped the entire country’s gastronomical landscape since the 1920s. (That's when Henry Perry fired up a smoker in an old streetcar barn and sold grilled meat in newspapers for customers to carry out.) Today, that tradition has expanded to more than 100 restaurants serving BBQ in the area—slathered in world-famous KC BBQ sauce (thick and sweet with a hint of spice), of course—and even BBQ-themed events and festivals. So what are you still waiting for? Put on that bib and get to these top spots for the best BBQ in Kansas City.
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