Blog-B-Q

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Big Grill & More: Best barbecue you've never heard about

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 3:36 PM

A slab of house-smoked ribs -- with lots of pickles -- is the Thursday special at Big Grill & More at 501 N. Sixth Street in Kansas City, Kansas. The slab goes for $16.99 on Thursdays.
  • A slab of house-smoked ribs -- with lots of pickles -- is the Thursday special at Big Grill & More at 501 N. Sixth Street in Kansas City, Kansas. The slab goes for $16.99 on Thursdays.

My task at hand, earlier this week, was to make another visit to Slap's BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas (it's my review subject for next week), but I discovered that Slap's has a problem: it's too popular.

In June, veteran barbecue-team competitors Mike and Joe Pearce and Brandon Whipple opened the lunch-only barbecue shack, which frequently sells out of smoked meats a couple of hours after opening. That's great for Slap's (an acronym for Squeal Like a Pig, the name of this trio's barbecue team) but not so terrific for hungry customers who show up too late for a brisket sandwich.

It was on one of those days that I was driving around downtown Kansas City, Kansas, and stumbled upon the five-year-old Big Grill & More at 501 North Sixth Street. It's located in a two-story brick storefront that was, six years ago, occupied by the Skillet Licker Cafe, a diner that made its own little fried doughnuts each day.

I'm ashamed that it has taken me so long to find this restaurant, operated by the Dantzler family, a combination barbecue restaurant and old-fashioned diner. The food is very good, and the house-made pear cobbler (made, like most of the desserts, by Jerri Dantzler Martin) is, to put it mildly, sensational.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Slap's BBQ wants to make Strawberry Hill squeal

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 6:15 AM

The award-winning Squeal Like a Pig BBQ team -- from left, Mike Pearce, Brandon Whipple and Joe Pearce -- hope to have their first restaurant, Slap's BBQ, open in Kansas City, Kansas, next month. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • The award-winning Squeal Like a Pig BBQ team -- from left, Mike Pearce, Brandon Whipple and Joe Pearce -- hope to have their first restaurant, Slap's BBQ, open in Kansas City, Kansas, next month.

Brothers Mike and Joe Pearce of the Squeal Like a Pig BBQ team were sworn to secrecy by the producers of Destination America's BBQ Pitmasters. The brothers have known for weeks that they won the show's regional competition, but confidentiality agreements kept them silent until the program was broadcast April 26. (The Pearces move on to the semifinal round in late May with a $50,000 grand prize on the line.)

And now another secret is out. In June, the two of them and longtime competition team partner Brandon Whipple (who wasn't on the TV show; the producers limit all teams to two members) will open their first restaurant, Slap's BBQ, at 553 Central in Kansas City, Kansas. Slap's is the acronym for the team's name, which Joe Pearce says was "great for a team name but not so catchy for a restaurant." 

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Smokey's on the Boulevard BBQ wins a Chief with an unlikely dish

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 9:31 AM

eggroll2.jpg

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Jeff Allen was a stranger to the barbecue egg roll, and I'd never eaten one, either. When we agreed that it was time to try one, we headed to lunch at Smokey's on the Boulevard BBQ, the Overland Park storefront of father-and-son barbecue team Rob and Jason Harris. (The 19-month-old business is in a strip center at 14521 Metcalf, 913-897-7427.)

First we worked through a tray filled with smoked meats and ribs. Then Rob Harris popped out of his kitchen with a relatively petite offering: a plate that held a pair of the egg rolls. "Here's something you've never seen in a barbecue restaurant before," he said.

Very true. Allen and I each now had before us a pocket stuffed with beef-brisket burnt ends and freshly cut vegetables. (They come two for $3.99 here.) "It's a weird twist on barbecue," Rob said, "something we came up with when we were bored one afternoon."

Allen was intrigued. He took a bite.

"That's awesome," he said. "I love egg rolls."

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Kansas City SmokeShack BBQ has closed

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Restaurateur Glenn Yeager opened a barbecue restaurant at 900 Swift in North Kansas City, but some customers had a hard time finding the venue. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • Restaurateur Glenn Yeager opened a barbecue restaurant at 900 Swift in North Kansas City, but some customers had a hard time finding the venue.

The 10-month-old Kansas City SmokeShack BBQ at 900 Swift in North Kansas City posted the announcement that it had closed on the restaurant's Facebook page on Friday. The February 7 Facebook post read:

Good Folks. We are closed indefinitely as of today. You have been the most awesome customers a barbecue joint could ever wish for. Thank You for patronizing us over the past 10 months. The reasons for closing have nothing to do with you folks. Thank You! See you sometime.

The Pitch reviewed the restaurant's barbecue last year. The restaurant's owner, Glenn Yeager, could not be reached for comment.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pellet Envy's Rod Gray competes in Sunday's BBQ Pitmasters finale

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 7:56 AM

Gray will once again be cooking on your TV.
  • Pellet Envy
  • Gray will once again be cooking on your TV.
Could someone other than a Kansas Citian walk away with $50,000 and the title on a show called BBQ Pitmasters? That's the question that will be answered Sunday night on the Discovery Network at 8 p.m. Pellet Envy's Rod Gray (who has been advising would-be pitmasters on the Fast Pitch since 2010) will one be one of the three finalists for the fourth season of the show.

He earned his spot for the season with a victory in the Kansas City episode filmed at last year's American Royal. (I wrote briefly about the filming as part of a longer piece on what it's like to be a barbecue judge.) Gray launched his own line of sauces and rubs this year and continues to teach classes that ultimately form the field trying to beat him.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Win or lose, it's how you sauce the game

Posted By on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 8:00 AM

We uncorked Billys Hit it a Ton sauce.
KC's surging sports teams seem to be running on smoke and molasses. Exhibit A: the Royals, a club now in the habit of dousing walk-off heroes in what players call "Rally Sauce" (Billy Butler's Hit It a Ton barbecue sauce). Oklahoma Joe's has played a role at the K, too. Following speculation that the Minnesota Twins took a Royals homestand because the team had tasted Z-Man sandwiches pregame, the local pitmen sent 51 heroes to the boys in blue. The Royals roared to life and promptly scored a 5-3 win.

Sporting Kansas City unveiled a smoked tequila-blackberry brisket sandwich at July's MLS All-Star Game (it's still available at Sporting Park) and now sits at first place in the Eastern Conference. Coincidence? Probably. But this team loves its barbecue. Recall that, back in January, SportsBusiness Journal reported that Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Jimmy Nielsen delivered a barbecue lunch to Ivy Funds, a move that helped seal the Overland Park investment-management company's decision to sponsor Sporting's jerseys for the next five years.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Is Oklahoma Joe's the most iconic restaurant in Kansas City?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Does this sandwich stand for KC now?
  • Facebook: Oklahoma Joe's
  • Does this sandwich stand for KC now?
The Smithsonian exists to catalogue our national heritage, whether it's the Fonz's jacket or now Kansas City's burnt ends. In a recent list of the '20 Most Iconic Food Destinations Across America,' the Smithsonian tabbed Oklahoma Joe's as the lone representative of the region.

In the introduction to the list, the restaurants are touted as places "locals swear by and tourists swarm." While that certainly fits Oklahoma Joe's (which made headlines last week for fueling the Royals and their opponents), can a 17-year-old restaurant really stand for an entire city's food culture? Is Oklahoma Joe's the most iconic eatery in Kansas City?

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Smokin' Fresh Streetside BBQ will sell you the whole barnyard

Posted By on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 at 8:42 AM

The pulled pork at Smokin Fresh Streetside BBQ.
  • Facebook: Smokin' Fresh
  • The pulled pork at Smokin' Fresh Streetside BBQ.
Breakfast sandwiches are often the Trojan Horse to excess. You start with something simple like an egg sandwich, but before you know it, you're eating half the farmstead. Smokin' Fresh Streetside BBQ has just such a morning plan to topple your appetite. As you near the southeast corner of the Brookside Farmers Market (6321 Wornall), the rich smell of smoked meats will curl under your nose and pull your feet toward the black food truck. And that's when your defenses will come tumbling down.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jack Stack picked as one of Maxim's "America's 5 Best BBQ Hot Spots"

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 7:59 AM

Jack Stack got some national love.
  • Jack Stack got some national love.
It just ain't a barbecue list without a Kansas City joint. Maxim just released its list of "America's 5 Best BBQ Hot Spots," and Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue is sitting at No. 5. It sits there alongside Franklin Barbecue out of Austin, Texas (which claimed the top spot); Black Dog Smoke & Ale House in Urbana, Illinois; the Joint in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Fox Brothers BBQ out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Maxim is not shy in its praise of Jack Stack, home to "what might be the greatest piece of Kansas City barbecue that will ever be inside your mouth, ever." As with all statements about KC barbecue, that one is ripe for debate.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Famous Dave's ensures the secret to burnt ends is safe

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 12:05 AM

The secret is safe.
  • Facebook: Famous Dave's
  • The secret is safe.
Pitmasters guard their secrets like the Knights Templar, only giving them up when faced with death or a human of great moral conviction (a penitent man, for example). So I'll admit that I was a bit worried for Kansas City pitmasters when I saw that Famous Dave's was promising to reveal the secret to burnt ends. I envisioned a squirrelly executive infiltrating the smoky underbelly of KC just to ferret away a multigenerational spice rub or time-honed wood mix. Then I remembered, this is Famous Dave's we're talking about...

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