Chow Town

Austin beats KC for barbecue? Them’s fightin’ words

A tall pile of meat at Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue in Kansas City is topped with sauce.
A tall pile of meat at Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue in Kansas City is topped with sauce. THE KANSAS CITY STAR

Kansas City doesn’t like to come in second to anyone — especially when you’re talking barbecue.

So when the website Thrillist came out with its ranking of “The 11 Best BBQ Cities in America,” fans of Kansas City barbecue were upset.

Thrillist bestowed the top ranking upon Austin, Texas. Kansas City was No. 2.

For many KC barbecue fans, those are fighting words.

“As someone who lived most of her life in KC and is now making Austin her home I have to ask … what are you smoking?” Theresa Walter Mostaffa wrote in the comments section.

“There isn’t a BBQ place in the city of Austin worth its salt, and we’ve tried them all. Kansas City will always be the king of BBQ cities.”

Bob Hiatt wrote in the comments: “Texas BBQ is good BBQ. But it ain’t in the same league as KC BBQ. The one place in Texas I ate BBQ almost as good as AB’s or Gates was Tyler’s in Amarillo. Austin shouldn’t even be on the list.”

Moreover, Kansas City fans thought one of the area’s best barbecue joints was overlooked.

Thrillist listed Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, LC’s Bar-B-Q, Fiorella’s Jack Stack and Gates Bar-B-Q as the city’s major players.

Not listed was Joe’s Kansas City.

“Oklahoma Joe’s is some of the best Bar-B-que I ever ate!” Bruce Hall wrote in the comments. “Had to wait a while but it was worth it. They say they will ship it for $$!”

But Thrillist had separated Kansas and Missouri, saying the two cities could be one, but they’re not.

Joe’s Kansas City is on the Kansas side.

“Why split Kansas City on the state line?” Paul Culver commented. “It should be the Kansas City metro area! Should’ve definitely included Joe’s KC! Joe’s KC is about 1 mile from the state line … stupid. So, I guess if Joe’s KC would have been added, KC would be #1?”

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to