Chow Town

September 12, 2013

What every Kansas Citian should know about Kansas City barbecue: The answers

Kudos to all Chow Towners who are brushing up on Kansas City barbecue literacy.

Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

Kudos to all Chow Towners who are brushing up on Kansas City barbecue literacy.

Many have asked how I would answer last week’s quiz. Here goes:

How many barbecue restaurants in Kansas City?

At least 100 in the metro area.

Is that more per capita than anywhere else?

Smaller communities such as Owensboro, Ky., Toga, Texas, and Lexington, N.C., beat us on the per capita.

When did the first barbecue restaurant open in Kansas City?

Early 1900s, Henry Perry.

Who is:

(* indicates deceased)

*Henry Perry: a barbecue restaurant proprietor who is often called “the father of Kansas City barbecue.”

*Arthur Bryant: one of KC’s most famous barbecue restaurant proprietors.

*Anthony Rieke: founder of Rosedale Bar-B-Q.

Ollie Gates: proprietor of Gates Bar-B-Q.

Jack Fiorella: founder of Jack Stack Barbecue; his father, Russ Fiorella, founded the former Smokestack BBQ.

Case Dorman: President/owner, Jack Stack Barbecue.

Rich Davis: creator of KC Masterpiece Barbecue Sauces; Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee.

*Earl Quick: founder, Earl Quick’s Bar-B-Q.

Johnny White: founder, Johnny’s Bar-B-Q.

Ron Quick: son of Earl Quick; proprietor of Earl Quick’s Bar-B-Q.

*Richard France: former counter man at Arthur Bryant’s; served many famous customers; started his own restaurants after Mr. Bryant died.

Gary Berbiglia: owner/proprietor, Arthur Bryant’s Bar-B-Q.

*George Gates: co-founder, Gates Bar-B-Q.

*Arzelia Gates: co-founder, Gates Bar-B-Q; granddaughter named after her is in charge of community relations at Gates.

Hayward Spears: founder, Hayward’s Bar-B-Q.

Grace Harris: aka “Amazing Grace;” famous for her barbecue sauces; formerly available at now-closed Grand Emporium.

*Jake Edwards: original proprietor of famous Jake Edward’s Bar-B-Q.

Danny Edwards: son of Jake Edwards; proprietor of the former Lil’ Jake’s Eat It Beat It; now owns operates Danny Edward’s Boulevard Bar-B-Q.

*Otis Boyd: proprietor of once famous Boyd n’ Sons Bar-B-Q.

L.C. Richardson: proprietor of the popular LC’s Bar-B-Q.

Joe Don Davidson: aka Oklahoma Joe; proprietor of his own Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Q in Broken Arrow, Okla.

Lindsay Shannon: BB’s Lawnside BBQ proprietor; KC jazz blues expert.

Tim Keegan: Jack Stack Head Pitmaster; formerly of Keegan’s BBQ.

*Bill Snead: founder of Snead’s Snead’s Bar-B-Q.

Jeff Joy Stehney: Proprietors of Kansas City’s three Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Q restaurants.

Do Kansas City barbecue joints serve all kinds of barbecue meat, including goat, mutton, lamb, whole hog and pig snoot?

No goat, whole hog or pig snoot; limited availability of mutton lamb.

What’s a rub?

Dry seasonings such as pepper, salt, sugar granulated garlic, sprinkled on barbecue meat to enhance the flavor.

Is Kansas City barbecue sauce sweet?

Yes No.

What’s a smoke ring?

red or pink tint on the outer edge of smoked meats.

What are burnt ends?

Meat from the flat end of barbecue brisket; crusty, tender meat typically served cubed.

What’s a rib sandwich?

3 to 4 bone-in sauced pork spareribs between 2 slices of white sandwich bread.

What’s a rib tip?

Bony meat trimmed from the upper brisket portion of pork spareribs.

What’s the difference between “long end” and “short end?”

Long end has longer bones, less meat; short end: shorter bones, more meat.

Why did Count Basie spit on his ribs?

To make sure no one stole his slab while he was playing late night jam sessions.

Where can you get blues with your barbecue?

BB’s Lawnside or your own private party.

What’s a pork butt?

The upper portion of the shoulder.

What’s “pulled pork?”

Barbecued pork shoulder so tender that it pulls apart in shreds.

What is “bark” on a butt?

Crunchy crust formed on the outside.

What’s a yard bird?

A chicken; technically, a free-range chicken.

Where and when is the World Series of Barbecue?

The American Royal, first weekend in October.

Is there any kosher barbecue in Kansas City?

Yes. Most notably at the recent Kosher BBQ ? . I’m not aware of availability in any of our barbecue joints.

What’s a shiner?

Exposed lower bone in a slab of ribs.

What’s a “beef fries?”

Barbecue beef brisket sandwich with French fried potatoes.

Who or what’s a “Z-Man?”

Sliced beef brisket/barbecue sauce/provolone cheese/onion rings bun sandwich at Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Q

Why do Kansas City barbecue restaurants serve “St. Louis cut” ribs?

It’s a universally popular rectangular-shaped cut that has become an industry standard.

How did Kansas City become famous for barbecue?

National radio TV ballgame announcers raving about it; the writings of Calvin Trillin; word-of-mouth.

Why do they call it “Kansas City Barbeque Society” since their members live all over the USA and world?

That’s the original name and they’re sticking with it. As Carolyn Wells said, “It’s our heritage.”

Name the best barbecue restaurant in Kansas City.

You’re on your own with this one!

Name the oldest continuously operated barbecue restaurant in Kansas City.


How do you judge barbecue?

Appearance, Tenderness Taste

Several of these topics will be addressed with more detail in future blogs.

Now you have some important basics. You’re ready to break rib bones with the thousands of visitors who will flock to Kansas City this fall for the American Royal.

Have fun. Be civil. Welcome all visitors to our amazing barbeculinary landscape!

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 KCBS’s 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 “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”

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