Kansas City natives are proud of their barbecue. In fact, they call Kansas City, “The Barbecue Capital of the United States”. Being home to more than 100 barbecue restaurants , Kansas City, MO has some of the best BBQ joints in the country. The Food Coma team decided to pay a visit to some of these “World Famous” BBQ joints and see how they have made Kansas City, an icon of the barbecue culture.
The Barbecue Capital: Part 1 – Jack Stack Barbecue
I started my journey from Jack Stack Barbecue, one of the most popular barbecue joints in the city.
There are Five Jack Stack restaurants in KC area and I decided to go to the Martin City location.
As soon as I entered, the first thing I noticed was the distinctive interior. The interior of this restaurant is very different from other BBQ restaurants in the area. The mildly lit dining area, with full of decorations, gave a cozy, homely feeling. This interior combined with the smell of barbecue , was signaling me to expect something great.
It is common to have a wait time for any Jack Stack restaurant (which often a good indicator in a way), usually around 15 – 20 mins. We were lucky, our wait time was simply 5 mins.
What did I order
Having heard of how good the Onion Rings, I did not think twice to select that as my appetizer. As the main course, I chose the BBQ Combo Lunch with Pork Spare Ribs and Beef Burnt Ends (A Kansas City speciality). The combo lunch lets you select two side dishes, which I ended up selecting potato salad and hickory smoked pit beans.
My impression on their food
Onion Rings in Jack Stack’s maybe some of the best onion rings that you will ever taste. The mammoth sized onion rings were lightly seasoned, breaded and fried until golden brown. The breaded exterior is crunchy and flavorful, while the interior onion ring itself is sweet, juicy and soft. The balance of flavors and textures of this, usually simple appetizer, should be highly admired. Onion rings were nicely prepared, compared to overcooked or undercooked onion rings in most restaurants.
The appetizer was simply an introduction to what Jack Stack has to offer. The main course explained us why Kansas City is called the BBQ Capital. The pork spare ribs were cooked to perfection, meat was simply falling off of the bone. Soft and succulent meat just melted in my mouth. The pork ribs tasted slightly sweet (another characteristic of Kansas City BBQ) and I am loss of words to describe how good they were when combined with Jack Stack’s Hot BBQ sauce. The smoky, slightly sweet, juicy pork ribs mingled with tangy and peppery hot BBQ sauce will take you to the barbecue heaven.
Burnt Ends were another perfection. I must say Jack Stack did a great job honoring this Kansas City tradition. Slightly charred, and easily breaking apart, chunks of smoky beef combined with Jack Stack’s original BBQ sauce was one of my favorites ever. This thick sauce which was smoky, sweet and with a hint of cumin flavor, played its own little part to bring out the flavors of the burnt ends.
For me, the main area Jack Stack outdo other top BBQ restaurants in the city, is the side dishes section. Jack Stack has a great selection of side dishes, and as I have tried, all of them tastes exceptionally good. The hickory smoked pit beans that I ordered were outstanding. Although the dish was a little too sweet for my taste, it packed a lot of flavor. Their potato salad (which I always order) was simply perfect. Celery, bell peppers and pieces of boiled eggs added texture and flavor to the creamy potato salad.
This whole meal, combined with beverages, cost me around $25.
I loved “the Jack Stack Experience”. The service was exceptional, with friendly and quick staff. The somewhat upscale ambience was unique and welcoming. Their food (maybe slightly pricier than some other BBQ places), was unique and outstanding.
Jack Stack is certainly one of the “must try” restaurants, if you ever need to get an idea about Kansas City barbecue. Their food showcase the characteristics of Kansas City barbecue and I believe the restaurant is a great starting point for a person who needs an introdution to Kansas City and its BBQ culture.
My Rating: 8/10