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Holy smoke: Joe’s Kansas City named America’s ‘best BBQ restaurant’

Chow Town Live: How Joe’s Kansas City makes its Z-Man sandwich and fries

Sarah Gish visits the original Joe's Kansas City in Kansas City, Kan., where general manager Jerry Taylor shows off Joe's famous Z-Man sandwich, fries and other barbecue specialties.
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Sarah Gish visits the original Joe's Kansas City in Kansas City, Kan., where general manager Jerry Taylor shows off Joe's famous Z-Man sandwich, fries and other barbecue specialties.

Surprise, surprise: Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que was named America’s “best BBQ restaurant” by the New York Post.

Joe’s, with locations in Kansas City, Kan., Leawood and Olathe, is No. 1 on the Post’s list of 28 smokehouses.

The Post says Joe’s “epitomizes the Kansas City style: slow-smoked meats slathered in a thick, sweet, tomato-and-molasses-based sauce.”

“Kansas City — on both its Kansas and Missouri sides — is chockablock with excellent BBQ spots, but Joe’s is a (two-) statewide favorite. Don’t miss the iconic pulled pork and beef brisket, or, if you can’t decide between the two, go for the Smoky Joe, which combines both on a soft over-sized bun.”

Other barbecue joints that made the cut include The Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas (No. 2), Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis (No. 3), Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas (No. 17) and Memphis Minnie’s BBQ Joint in San Francisco (No. 19).

It’s been a good year for Joe’s, which won The Star’s french fry face-off in March, then celebrated by giving away 5,000 orders of fries to customers. A few days later, hometown hero Jason Sudeikis brought the restaurant’s burnt ends to an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

More recently, Joe’s received a burnt ends shout-out from Zagat and was named one of the four best restaurants in Kansas by the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association. Owner and Z-man sandwich creator Jeff Stehney will be inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame at a ceremony during the American Royal on Labor Day weekend.

And soon barbecue fans will be able to enjoy Joe’s candied burnt ends in ice cream at Betty Rae’s in Waldo. Only in Kansas City.

Betty Rae's Ice Cream owner David Friesen will unveil a new flavor July 16th: barbecue ice cream, made with Joe's Kansas City sauce and burnt ends. Video by David Eulitt, story by Jill Silva deulitt@kcstar.com

For more about Kansas City’s barbecue food trucks and restaurants, check out this A-Z guide.

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