This is How We Do It

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?

Anyway, I’m continually proven right by food writers around the country, most recently Terrence Henry on the Atlantic’s Food Channel.  Says Henry of my favorite joint:

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).

5 responses to “This is How We Do It

  1. I’m from Kansas City, but after hitting the same great whole hog place in NC on the way to and from vacation this week, my unwavering dedication is now wavering. KC is still tops for smoked meats, sauce, burnt ends, and bbq sausage, though, just not pork.

  2. Kate, get a grip. Everybody knows that the BBQ universe revolves around Memphis.

    This is the truth.

  3. I can tell you we do bbq only marginally well up here in Seattle. I know a couple of joints in the region that have good bbq (anyone up for “The Man”?), but I’ve yet to taste any *great* bbq since I moved here from Atlanta in the 90s. I guess here in the PNW they save the smoke for the salmon.

  4. I’d love to try some KC Q! Too bad you bury it in all that sauce.

  5. I’m partial to Texas-style briskets, but KC is great too. However, never quote Terrence Henry as a voice of legitimacy. He knows nothing, and the fact that the Atlantic has allowed him to write a blog is shameful.

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