What do Chow Town third graders know about Kansas City barbecue? It depends upon their school, the curriculum and their teachers.
By ARDIE A. DAVIS
Third graders at Westwood View Elementary in Westwood are the most barbecue-savvy third graders in Chow Town today.
On a good day, suburban prairie winds treat their nostrils to the aroma of hardwood smoke from meat fires at Oklahoma Joes on 47th Avenue and Mission Road. Rebecca Blizzard and Jana Winkelbauer, third grade teachers at Westwood View, make sure their students do more than smell the barbecue.
When their fall curriculum focuses on Kansas City history, an important chunk of that history is spelled B-B-Q. By the time they are finished, the students can tell you:
• What barbecue is and isnt.
• Why and when barbecue got started in Kansas City.
• How Kansas City become famous for barbecue.
Blizzard and Winkelbauer bring Kansas City barbecue history to life by inviting local barbecue experts to meet with their students. After a review of the what, why, when and how of Kansas City barbecue, students are introduced to a local pitmaster.
Whats it like to operate a barbecue business? How and why did you get involved in it? How much barbecue do you sell in a week? Whats your most popular item? Do you ever get tired of barbecue? And the questions roll on.
The schools Chow Town Barbecue Royalty guests thus far have been Johnny White of Johnnys Bar-B-Q in Mission and Olathe; Ron Quick of Earl Quicks in Kansas City, Kan; Doug Worgul of Oklahoma Joes in Kansas City, Kan., Olathe and Leawood; Case Dorman of Jack Stack in Kansas City, Martin City and Overland Park, Kan., and Gary Berbiglia of Arthur Bryants in Kansas City and Village West in Kansas City, Kan.
Last week, Gary Berbiglia and his wife, Roxane, returned to Westwood View for an encore engagement. Imagine the thrill of meeting the owners of the most famous barbecue restaurant in the world.
Gary told the students that Mr. Bryant often humbly remarked, Its just a greasehouse.
Gary reviewed the restaurants legacy from Henry Perry to present-day, including Mr. Bryants original signature vinegar base sauce that is a longtime favorite of Arthur Bryant fans. They also learned about Garys new Sweet Heat and Rich and Spicy smooth tomato base sauces for customers who like it sweet.
After the lively Q & A, Westwood View Pythons took the official Kansas City Barbeque Society judges oath and chowed down on Arthur Bryants barbecue beef or turkey sandwiches, pork ribs, pit beans, dill pickle chips, Rich and Spicy sauce and a gigantic chocolate chip cookie.
Learning doesnt get more hands on than that! Their oohs and ahhs resonated all the way to 47th Avenue.
Westwood View Elementary third graders and yours truly applaud Gary and Roxy Berbiglia, Chow Town Barbecue Rock Stars.
Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbecue community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBSs Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on numerous food shows and writes for a variety of barbecue-related publications. He is also the author of a number of barbecue books, His most recent release book is Americas Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.