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Best Barbecue: East 

Summit Hickory Pit BBQ

There are two ways to judge the quality of a barbecue joint before you even walk into the building: (1) Does a rich, smoky fragrance waft through the air? (2) And is the parking lot filled with cars all day? By those criteria, the Summit Hickory Pit is a contender. The fast-growing hamlet of Lee's Summit boasts several good independently owned barbecue restaurants, but the Summit Hickory Pit is the biggest and the best. Located in a newer but spacious and rambling building, the venue offers sit-down service. Young servers wear T-shirts printed with "We Only Smoke the Good Stuff" — and it's true. Excellent pit-smoked ribs and burnt ends are slathered with the slightly sweet, mildly hot house sauce; the smoked chicken is exceptional, and the hickory-grilled catfish makes the lowly bottom feeder seem almost haute cuisine.

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