The local barbecue debate might be decided on national television.
The crew from Food Wars, a new show set to debut in March on the Travel Channel, is in town this weekend filming for an episode that pits the ribs from Arthur Bryant's against those of Gates Barbecue in a battle of Kansas City heavyweights.
Food Wars (it premiers Tuesday, March 9, at 9 p.m.) goes from city to city to decide which fans are right when it comes to two local makers of a town's iconic food. Upcoming episodes will test cheese steaks in Philadelphia, Italian beef sandwiches in Chicago and hot dogs in Detroit.
But right now it's Kansas City's turn. Host Camille Ford will be at Gates Bar-B-Q (1221 Brooklyn Avenue) between 12 and 4 p.m. today. Fans of Gates are encouraged to show up to be interviewed and talk about why the ribs are superior.
The crew moves on to Arthur Bryant's (1727 Brooklyn) on Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m. And those who feel that Arthur Bryant's is the best in town are asked to stop by to lend their support.
The ribs from both joints go head-to-head on the last day of filming, which is slated for noon on Sunday at the Negro Leagues Museum (1616 E. 18th St.). Fans of Gates and Arthur Bryant's will then be asked to tell the difference between the ribs while eating them blindfolded. Wear your barbecue paraphernalia and bring homemade signs -- that's your best bet for seeing yourself on television.
The show has a tongue-in-cheek militaristic tone but is serious in its approach to settling state's rivalries. Watching the trailer, it appears as if the host visits two restaurants in each city before putting them up and against one another in a blind taste test. The other thing I learned from the trailer: Chicagoans love to swear and a lot of guys rock mustaches. The Italian beef battle between Mr. Beef and Al's Italian Beef will be resolved during the first episode.