by Kate Steadman
Long-time readers know my intense partisan dedication to Kansas City bbq. Whenever sampling bbq elsewhere, my boyfriend is subjected to a variation of the same conversation, below:
Kate: I mean, it’s fine, but it’s nothing like Kansas City.
BF: Kate, people can like bbq that’s not from KC. People have different preferences.
Kate: No. no. no. This is not a subjective question. This is perfectly objective. Kansas City simply has the best bbq. You will agree when we go and I force-feed you three kinds of bar-b-qued meats.
BF: I’m just never going to have the same enthusiasm you do for KC bbq.
Kate: Hope is convincing you to worship KC bbq.
BF: Wait, what?
On our visit most everyone seemed to be getting ribs, so we did, too. These are not the simple Texas-style barbecue beef ribs, however, where the smoke is the star–these ribs are thin racks of pork, adorned with both a rub and a sauce.
Smoky, tender, and with that signature tanginess of KC barbecue sauce, it was immediately clear what all the fuss was about. After the first bite, one of those moments that has come to define our culinary tour: a quick glance over at my wife, who’s smiling wide like me, giddy at the tastiness before us. Without saying anything, we knew we were having the same thought: yes, it was worth the trip.
The day after our barbecue tour of Kansas City, I woke up and noticed the distinct smell of smoke. A quick survey of our hotel room convinced me nothing was on fire, and I realized that it was my hands–the many handfuls of burnt ends, ribs, and pulled pork had left a residual aroma of smoke. Strangers passing us on the highway must wonder why I kept smelling my hands on the way to Denver. Truckers must have looked down from their cabs, curious as to why I eyed my like tiny racks of ribs. They’ve probably taken to calling me Edward BBQ-hands by now. Well, blame Kansas City.
Exactly. Good bbq leaves your hands cruelly rewakening your taste buds the day after your feast — it’s why you keep coming back (and back and back).