3001 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, Kansas| 913-362-8000
Forget the fork test — the best way to gauge the tenderness of barbecue is with a plastic spoon. And there's plenty of meat to poke your spoon at in the burnt-end chili made by Schloegel's Woodyard Bar-B-Que, owned by Frank Schloegel IV, the fourth generation of Schloegels to smoke in Kansas City. The chili, featured in Jane and Michael Stern's 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late, is so addictive, you won't put your spoon down until you're scraping the bottom clean, and you'll never need to pick up a fork or a knife. Take a cup to the deck that overlooks the woodpiles (the place sells oak, hickory, pecan and four kinds of fruit wood for the smoke-at-home enthusiasts among us) and admire the hand-built brick smoker, which cradled your burnt ends to perfection. Great chili takes time to make, even if it doesn't take very long to eat.