Doug Brobeck was raised in eastern Tennessee, eating Carolina-style barbecue.
“Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains, there was a lot of pork,” Brobeck says. “Pork chops, pork roast, pork ribs...”
That’s partly why Brobeck’s bustling seven-year-old Overland Park restaurant, Brobeck’s Barbeque, is known for pulled pork.
Brobeck and his sons Dean and Dave make their pulled pork by hickory-smoking pork butts overnight, then pulling the meat by hand, adding seasonings and removing excess fat.
The juicy, flavor-packed pork is served up without sauce on a pillowy bun for $4.95 (the larger Tennesee Porker sandwich costs $6.75). Add a side of Brobeck’s sweet and tangy mustard-based barbecue sauce and you’re in hog heaven.
I first heard about Brobeck’s Barbeque from Nick LaBruzzo, coordinator of AMC Theatres’ food and beverage department. LaBruzzo and a group of his friends that call themselves BroBQ meet up once a month to try a new barbecue restaurant.
LaBruzzo raves about the beef brisket at Arthur Bryant’s, the burnt ends at LC’s Bar-B-Q and the Jon Russell sandwich at Jon Russell’s BBQ. But when it comes to pulled pork, he says, Brobeck’s smokes the competition.
“The pork there is out of this world,” LaBruzzo says.
But pork isn’t the only meat on Brobeck’s menu. This is beef country, after all.
Brobeck boasts that his ribs and burnt ends stand up to any you’ll find in Kansas City.
The burnt ends, he says, are “true burnt ends” from the point half of the brisket — not chopped-up brisket. They spend 18 hours in the Southern Pride smoker until they’re super-tender, with a charred black exterior concealing a pink smoke ring.
Brobeck serves his burnt ends sauce-less.
“If you smoke the meat the proper way, you don’t need the sauce” he says.
If you prefer, you can add Brobeck’s own sweet and tangy sauce, bring your own, or peruse the restaurants’ sauce bar for selections from KC Masterpiece, Oklahoma Joe’s, Gates and other area barbecue restaurants.
That’s right: Brobeck’s Barbeque serves sauce from its competitors.
“I’m not in the sauce business,” Brobeck says. “I’m in the meat business.”
The Overland Park barbecue joint also serves baked beans ($1.95 for a small side) flavored with brisket, cheesy corn ($1.95) made with American and cheddar cheese and a popular ham salad dip ($4.50) made with smoked ham, smoked turkey breast, pickle relish, chopped onion and seasonings.
Weekends-only specials include smoked peel-and-eat shrimp and smoked baked potatoes topped with onions, cheese and sour cream.
I’m a big fan of the fries ($2.50) — giant spears that are golden brown on the outside and soft and steamy on the inside. They taste great dipped in Brobeck’s mustard-based sauce, which is seasoned with garlic salt, onion salt, chili powder, vinegar and brown and white sugar.
The sauce costs $2.95 a pint to go and is also for sale at McGonigle’s Market, 1307 W. 79th St., Kansas City.
Brobeck says some customers use his mustard-based barbecue sauce to add tanginess to egg salad, potato salad, deviled eggs and even scrambled eggs — proof that it’s never too early for barbecue.
Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes about Johnson County restaurants every first and third week of the month. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @sarah_gish.
Location: 4615 Indian Creek Parkway in Overland Park
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday
Credit cards: Yes
Parking: Free lot
Don’t miss: The pulled pork sandwich ($4.95) with mustard-based barbecue sauce and fries ($2.50), the ribs ($14.95 for a half slab or $1.75 for a single rib) and the ham salad dip ($4.50).
Vegetarian: This is a barbecue joint, so none of the entrees are meat-free, but several appetizers are. Try the fried onion rings ($4.95) or the cheesy corn nuggets ($4.95).
More info: brobecksbbq.com