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BEST BOTTLED SAUCE 

Arthur Bryant's

Critics' Choice

Going to the Arthur Bryant's at 18th Street and Brooklyn is a quintessential Kansas City experience. You pull into the lot, and the smell overtakes you. Then you wait. You stand in line and salivate like a weirdo, increasingly agitated by the sight of diners ripping into heaps of brisket and burnt ends. And when you finally get a table, your hands heavy with mounds of meat and pickle slices, when you finally get to sit down and regard your food, there remains one important thing left to do. You pick up a squeeze bottle of sauce, and you go all fire hose on your plate. Because as good as the meat is here, it's the sauce that makes it Bryant's. The vinegary crimson fluid is the pinnacle for any barbecue fan who (correctly) prefers savory to sweet. And when you can't make it to the restaurant, the bottled version is a tasty stand-in. Unlike the bottled sauces put out by other local chains, Bryant's at the retail level retains its spice, delivers the special something that keeps us coming back. Slather it on your own cookout fare and be transported. Your meat isn't going to be legendary, but your sauce can be.

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