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.
On the first day that I drove by Auto's Plus (112 N. Highway) in Smithville, I saw the smoke rising from the parking lot of the used-car lot and I did nothing. Heading back south, I learned that the smoke was coming from a black smoker in the right corner of the lot. And I saw a vinyl banner advertising Bonedogs BBQ stretched across the front of the building. It was then that I rolled down my window, inhaled deeply and pledged my fealty. I would return the next day. Barbecue being served out of a used-car lot is not a choice; it's a calling.
The metal band's sauce - bottled locally at Original Juan's and created by the guitar player known as Balsac, the Jaws of Death - will be the centerpiece of a "Meat & Meet" event. It's in the Crossroads that GWAR will "drink and eat themselves into a bloated coma with their legion of slavering fans."
"Fish is not part of the barbecue canon," says Oklahoma Joe's Director of Marketing Doug Worgul. "But I always say that [co-owner] Jeff [Stehney] is very much an innovative traditionalist."
The salmon, imported from Chile, is cured for 36 hours before a housemade dry rub is applied. It then marinates for 72 hours before being finished in the smoker.
"Curing and rubbing and smoking. It's the same process we use for meat," Worgul says. "This is Joe's Kansas City Smoked Salmon prepared in the Kansas City tradition."
This summer, filmmakers Martin Diggs and Kevin Fossland, the pair behind Burnt Ends Media, set out to understand why that's the case, capturing footage at barbecue competitions and raising money for their untitled documentary, which they hope to release next fall. Diggs sat down with The Pitch to explain how the project came about and what they're shooting now.
"People have been asking about it for years. That's our first sign," co-owner Jeff Stehney says. "But it probably came 10 years after people wanted it."
Zarda bought buns at the grocery store before the supply ran out and has Bimbo Bakery working on a hoagie roll for their sandwiches. Arthur Bryant's turned to Roma Bakery for its sliced white bread. But as Bryant's manager Willis Simpson explained to Fox 4, the secret was never in the Wonder Bread:
"No one has said anything, it's most about the meat," Simpson said.
Amen, Mr. Simpson.
Kansas City has your molasses-based barbecue that you find a lot in the Midwest. To me, if you're molasses-based, you are already winning. Once you get out to North Carolina, then you're getting into vinegar-based barbecue, and that doesn't fly with me. My palate has been calibrated for Kansas City barbecue.
Riggle is a long-established fan of Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue, but the concept of taste buds primed for Kansas City's take on barbecue is fascinating. Do you think your palate has been calibrated for KC barbecue, or are you still able to appreciate different styles?
I want you to know that I'm not angry. I'm not charred. I'm not bitter. In fact, I'm glad that you've found someone else. We were never going to be exclusive. I'm a barbecue of the people. I could never be reserved for one person. But that doesn't mean I won't forget our time together and what you've meant to me. I know you feel the same. You told The Birmingham News that very thing.
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