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.
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.
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?
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.
Sweet. I'ma bang that ho.
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