Friday, July 3, 2015

Joe's Kansas City Barb-B-Que: Kansas City, KS

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que, which used to be known as Oklahoma Joe's,  has lots of amazing press clippings: (a) Anthony Bourdain named it one of 13 places to eat before you die; (b) Just this year, Trip Advisor named it the 2nd best bbq joint in the U.S.; (c) In 2014, The Daily Meal named it the best ribs in America (Fiorella's Jack Stack was no. 8, Rendezvous in Memphis was no. 11 and Corky's in Memphis was no. 17); (d) In 2014, Yelp named it the no. 3 place to eat in the U.S. (Alinea in Chicago was no. 7); (e) In 2013, USA Today named it the tastiest ribs in America and so on and so forth. 
We arrived at Joe's at 2:00 p.m. on a Monday afternoon. It looked pretty inauspicious, several working Shamrock gas pumps are out front, but then we noticed a line of customers for the restaurant going out the door. At 2:00 p.m. on a Monday afternoon! 
It was a slow moving line, took us about 30 minutes to get up to the counter to order. As we got to the counter the line was still out the door. While in line we asked others what to order and looked over the menu. One customer said he always got the Z-Man sandwich, which is brisket, smoked provolone cheese, topped with two onion rings on a Kaiser roll. I'm seeing that Thrillest, this year, named the Z-Man one of 50 American sandwiches to eat before you die, and Zagat in 2013 named the Z-Man as the best sandwich in Kansas. We also decided we needed to try their ribs. They also had a special for burnt ends which Judy wanted to get. So we ordered a Z-Man, a half-slab of ribs (pork) and burnt ends. 
Fortunately we were able to find a place to sit. 
Note the line going out the door to the back left. 
The barbecue beans were pretty good, but decidedly inferior to the beans at Fiorella's Jack Stack, the best beans I've had. 

The Z-Man is good. The toasted Kaiser roll is soft and moist with lots of melted butter. Additional barbecue sauce, over and above that on the sandwich, added to the flavor. I particularly liked Joe's extra spicy sauce, but regular is good as well. It is not the best sandwich I've eaten, probably not even in the top 25 (I scratch my head as I look at these ratings), but who wants a sandwich when you can have pure unencumbered meat not soiled by cheese, onion rings, bread and barbecue sauce? 
Judy liked the burnt (beef) ends. They were flavorful, some pieces lots better (the fatty ones) than others. Some were a little tough, and well, burnt. 
Burnt ends with beans
The ribs were best. Fairly meaty, very smoky pink, but quite crisp and a little over-done for my taste. Not in the same hemisphere as Fiorella's Jack Stack crown prime beef short rib, the mutton ribs at Southside Market & Barbecue in Elgin, Texas or even the ribs at Just Ribs in Fort Meade, Florida. 
Half-slab of pork ribs.
Joe's is very good. But why wait 30 minutes in line at a gas station when you can go to Fiorella's Jack Stack and sit in a nice restaurant and have food every bit as good, or I think much better?

1 comment:

  1. It's partly about the atmosphere, don't you think? That in-a-gas-station and mass-produced-just-for-you-behind-this-lousy-counter ambiance? I do think my burnt ends were fantastic, and out of the pile there were only a couple I would call overdone. However, I agree that the sides are not their best feature. I'd love to go back and try a few more things on the menu. The jury's still out for me.