Kansas City BBQ & Golf Weekend

Compiled by Fat Guy

Kansas City is one of the five best spots for barbeque in the country, alongside Texas, the Carolinas, St. Louis, and Memphis Tennessee.  K.C. barbeque is famous for burnt ends (the crunchy charred bark on the edges of the meat), as well as a unique mishmash utilizing the other four styles of barbeque.  They're also pretty famous for steak out here in the heart of beef country, so check out my Kansas City Golf Weekend page for K.C. steakhouse recommendations.

Where To 'Que: Here's a stack of K.C. BBQ favorites from various sources:

Local K.C. business associates of Fat Guy : Fiorella's Jack Stack has the most extensive menu in town and actual table service; lesser-known stands such as LC's, The Smokehouse, or Oklahoma Joe's (located inside a gas station) are the real treasures where meaty ribs and melt-in-your-mouth sliced pork are the respective kings.

Local boy Tom Watson : Arthur Bryant's is in a plain brick building in a redeveloped part of town. The sauce is tart and spicy and slow-cooked in. Writer Calvin Trillin called it the best restaurant in the world and suggested that the airport be named for Arthur. You carry your tray cafeteria-style past the pit. Ask for some burnt ends. [ Fat Guy Note : I ordered their sauce off the internet and thought it tasted like someone pissed in a cup of coffee, but to each his own.]

Zane Lamprey of Drinking Made Easy :  If you’re looking for some KC BBQ and great music, look no further than B.B.’s Lawn Side Bar BQ , where barbeque meets the blues. For nearly 20 years, B.B.’s has been serving slow cooked meats from its 60 year-old pit. Make sure you come hungry and try the BBQ Sundae, which weighs over 1 lb, is served in a mason jar, and consists of 6 oz pork, 5 oz coleslaw and 6.5 oz beans. In addition to barbeque, B.B.’s also serves signature Louisiana dishes like gumbo, jumbalaya, red beans, rice and goulash. B.B.’s Lawn Side Bar B-Q | 1205 East 85th St, Kansas City, MO 64105 | (816) 822-7427. Arthur Bryant’s is a local BBQ restaurant with some real Kansas City history. Known as the “master of barbeque” or the “King of Ribs” Bryant created a sauce that has attracted US presidents and celebrities to enjoy KC style barbeque that’s slow-smoked with a combination of hickory and oaks woods. Arthur’s brother Charlie worked for Henry Perry, the man who Kansas City-style BBQ is attributed to and Arthur used to work for him. After Charlie died, Arthur took over and opened his restaurant on 18th and Brooklyn and it’s since become legendary. Today there are 2 other locations in KCMO as well. Another local favorite KC BAR B-Q joint is LC’s Barbeque . Their burnt ends “sandwich” is an impossibly large pile of meat chunks doused with celery seed accented barbecue sauce and garnished with white bread.

Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives :

Smokin' Guns BBQ
1218 Swift Avenue
North Kansas City, MO 64116
Order the K.C. specialty burnt ends.

RJ's Bob-Be-Que Shack
5835 Lamar Ave.
Mission, KS 66062
Order the 3 meat BBQ sandwich on artisan bread.

Johnny's Bar-B-Q
5959 Broadmoor
Mission, KS 66201
Order the smoked-then-deep-fried BBQ chicken.

Woodyard Bar-B-Que
3001 Merriam Ln
Kansas City, KS 66106
Go for anything featuring Woodyard's signature rub, like the ribs or the pulled pork.

Travel Channel :  Travel Channel likes the down home style and thinnish vinegary sauce at BBQ icon Arthur Bryant's , where Presidents have been regulars since 1930. No-frills, order at the counter, and get succulent sliced beef and chewy burnt ends (a true K.C. BBQ staple). Gates & Sons ranks a close second to Bryant's.

Wikipedia : Curt's Famous Meats is a meat market founded in 1947 by Curtis Jones and sold to Donna Pittman in 1989. With clientele from all across America, Curt's specializes in barbecue prepared with Kansas City rub. It has a long history of award winning barbecue, having won eight times the American Royal barbecue competition, the largest in the world. Curt's is located on East Truman Road in the Maywood neighborhood of Independence, Missouri. Although not in Kansas City proper, Curt's has been a large competitor in many local competitions in barbecue. Curt's Famous Meats is also known for its predominantly female staff that Donna Pittman has hired. They are know locally as the Lady Meat Cutters.  In 1977, Rich Davis capitalized on the reputation of Kansas City barbecue to form KC Masterpiece , which evolved from his "K.C. Soul Style Barbecue Sauce." KC Masterpiece is sweeter and thicker than many of the traditional Kansas City sauces served in the region. The KC Masterpiece recipe uses extra molasses to achieve its thick, sweet character. KC Masterpiece was sold to the Kingsford division of Clorox in 1986 and now claims to be the number one premium barbecue brand in the U.S. In 1946 Arthur Pinkard, who was a cook for Perry, joined with George Gates to form Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q . The restaurant was situated initially in the same neighborhood. Gates barbecue sauce does not contain molasses as many K.C. sauces do.  The ingredients include tomatoes, vinegar, salt, sugar, celery, garlic, spices, and pepper. This local chain currently consists of 6 area restaurants: 4 in Missouri, 2 in Kansas. Gates also sells barbecue sandwiches at Kauffman Stadium during Kansas City Royals home games, and at Arrowhead Stadium during Kansas City Chiefs home games.

Where To Play: Tom Watson says, "This is a very active golf area with a lot of fine courses. I have a special feeling for Blue Hills CC , where I won perhaps the most important tournament of my life when I was 14 -- the Kansas City Match Play Championship. It gave me a dream of becoming a professional golfer. My Children's Mercy Hospital Classic was played there for 25 straight years. And this year the Watson Challenge, an event I started to determine the best golfer in the area, is being held there, with a 48-man field of pros and amateurs. For four years the Champions Tour was at Tiffany Greens GC , a spacious and challenging course near the airport that's open to the public. So is one of the last courses Tillinghast designed, Swope Memorial GC in Swope Park, one of the largest urban parks that also includes the zoo and a wonderful outdoor summer theater. I designed a First Tee course there where we stage a junior golf festival in the spring." [ Golf Digest ]

T&L Golf says Prarie Highlands is the best example of minimalist course design in K.C.  Craig Schreiner routed through natural contours, leaving a flat, wide-open, and walkable links-style course.  Not terribly difficult, but the perfect venue for practicing your low, running wind-cheaters. Ironhorse GC (6988, 141, $62-70, '95 Hurdzan, 4 1/2 stars, Leawood KS, 913-685-4653) is a fave of local and visiting pro athletes (Roger Clemmons is a regular), and the back 9 may be the best collection of public holes in K.C.. Shoal Creek GC (6944, 130, $50-60, '01 Steve Wolfard, 4 stars, 816-407-7242) is city-owned with a private club feel, GPS, maturing quickly to primo condition with a tough back 9 featuring deep front-side bunkers demanding accuracy off the tee. Tiffany Greens GC (6977, 133, $55-65, '99 RTJ Jr, 4 stars, 10 mins from airport, 816-880-9600) with thick grasses, water on 13 holes, long par-3s and wind; the final 4 on the front roll sweetly through pastoral lands with nary a McMansion in sight.