Texans on the road: Exploring Kansas City BBQ


KANSAS CITY – For the Texans fans traveling to Kansas City for the Chiefs-Texans matchup, or for any Houstonians who want to take a trip to a different BBQ hot spot in the country, I’ve put together a short guide to the most famous BBQ places in a city known for them.

Kansas City has long had a “Big 4” of KC BBQ, but a new restaurant has stepped into the mix and is arguably better than each of the Big 4, at least according to some locals. Along with my review, I asked a couple of my friends from Kansas City for their input.

The Big 4

Jack Stack:

Arguably the most famous, and definitely the nicest sit-down place, Jack Stack BBQ is a must. Like any Kansas City BBQ spot worth it's salt, it’s known for terrific burnt ends. You can find it downtown, with a big bull statue out front and while you’re there, grab a canister of the seasoning. I’m a huge fan and use it on pretty much any meat.

KC native says: “The best all-around experience. Try the creamy corn and cheesy potato bake.”

Gates BBQ:

“Hi, may I help you!!!???”

That’s how you’re greeted when you walk into a Gates BBQ spot, found all over Kansas City. This place’s specialty is the incredible tomato-based sauce. It’s got any type of BBQ you want, with good sandwiches and that famous sauce.

KC Native says: “Best sauce, also ... 'Hi, may I help you!?'”

Arthur Bryant’s:

This is my favorite spot for ribs. The wet ribs are among the best BBQ I’ve ever had. This hole in the wall may not have as good of sauce as Gates, or sandwiches as KC Joe’s, but you can’t beat Bryant’s for ribs.

KC Native says: “A favorite of KC sportswriter Joe Posnanski.”

Joe’s KC BBQ:

Many of you know this place as “Oklahoma Joe’s,” and it’s been renamed to show love to the city it’s in. In my opinion, KC Joe’s has the best sandwich with the legendary Z-Man. A brisket sandwich with cheese on a kaiser roll with onion rings is the most famous dish at Joe’s. There’s just something about the bread and the meat, then wiping your face off with a paper towel roll, that makes this place special.

KC Native says: “The seasoned fries here are amazing. Joe’s and Jack Stack are the two best. 2nd KC Native says: “Joe’s and Q39 are the best.”

New kid on the block


Q39 has only been around for five years but has already established itself as a premier Kansas City BBQ destination. When I called my Kansas City friends and told them I’d be coming for the game, the first response was, “We’re going to Q39.”

For BBQ lovers, it’s all elite everything here. Terrific sauce, great meats all around and great sandwiches. Their classic BBQ sauce on burnt ends is hard to beat.

KC Native says: “Best known for its brisket.”