For a small city known for its delicious barbecue, it pays to know where to go. For this list, we’ll include some of famous and lesser-known establishments that have barbecue all throughout the taste buds spectrum.
The legendary barbecue joint has hosted presidents and celebrities for one main reason, and that’s their reputation for slow-cooked succulent meats! The meats are cooked with hickory and/or oak and are combined with their secret sauces that give you the legend you see today. There are a few locations now, but we recommend going to the original first.
Name: Gates Bar-B-Q
Date Established: 1946
Address: 1325 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd, Kansas City
For unbelievable seasoned meats at family-style portions, your best stop is Gates. Many of their meats have their special sauces rubbed in for a consistent (to the bone) taste that you expect from the masters. The atmosphere is unique in the sense that you know its a famous place, but it gives you a comfortable home-like feeling.
Name: Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue
Date Established: 1974
Address: 101 West 22nd Street #300, Kansas City
There’s a lot of competition, but when it comes to a barbecue sandwich, we probably have to go with Fiorella’s. The burnt-end ribs are among one of the best things you can get in Kansas City and the brisket sandwiches are right up there as well. Like many older establishments, the rustic aesthetic at the Freight House will only improve your experience.
Name: Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
Date Established: 1996
Address: 3002 W 47th Ave Kansas City
Joe’s is a local favorite and is actually… a gas station. Obviously, it’s known more for its competition-level barbecue and now they ship this delicious food. Above all else, you must try the Z-Man, which is brisket, onion rings and their signature barbecue sauce on toasted buns.
Name: Scott’s Kitchen and Catering at Hangar 29
Date Established: 2009
Address: 11920 N Ambassador Drive, Kansas City
Located right off Highway 29, Scott’s Kitchen has become a tourist and a traveler’s destination for the past 10 years. They do a wide variety of cuisines from classic barbecue to burritos and even breakfast! While this might not be the typical “bucket list” spot, it’s become a staple and is a must-try!
Date Established: 2014
Address: 1000 W 39th St, Kansas City
Acting as a perfect hybrid of classic barbecue and wood-fire grilling, Q39 captures the vintage taste of midwest grilling with a touch of modernism. It’s equipped with a full bar and drink specials with music to complete the trifecta of fun energy.
Name: Plowboys Barbecue
Date Established: 2001
Address: 1111 Main St. Suite 120 Kansas City
The home of grand grilling champions and many fun nights, Plowboys gives midwest barbecue a refreshing spin! They’re most known for their BBQ nachos, which is a long-time local favorite. We’re particularly fans of their ribs and moink, but your favorites are for you to decide.
Name: Char Bar
Date Established: 1995
Address: 4050 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City
Char Bar gives you the best of both worlds, great barbecue and an atmosphere to match… also a great beer selection! That’s three worlds! The atmosphere includes fun outdoor activities like cornhole which molds it into more of a hangout spot for an afternoon, rather than a quick dive. Quick tip: their burnt ends are insanely good!
Date Established: 2018
Address: 1531 Grand Blvd, Kansas City
This is our dark horse. The Korean BBQ and sushi bar might be the odd man out on our list, but in terms of quality and excellence, it fits right in. While the ingredients might be unique, the flavor is something anyone can appreciate!
Name: Slap’s BBQ
Date Established: 2014
Address: 533 Central Ave, Kansas City
If you’re a fan of smokey, you’ll have to visit Slap’s! Their smokey and spicy foods are among some of the best around, ranging from classic to southern cuisine, and Mexican! Their custom sauces and spices are top of the game too, which they conveniently sell on the side.
Name: Hawg Jaw Que & Brew
Date Established: 2008
Address: 900 Swift St, North Kansas City
Hawg Jaw is home to some of the best BBQ, sandwiches and hot dogs you’ll find. They also have the best beer selection available, when it comes to craft beers. It’s a small, mellow establishment with an inviting atmosphere and food that will make you never want to leave.