Chow Town

Visitor’s barbecue from Joe’s Kansas City gets confiscated at KCI

Don’t put brisket from Joe’s Kansas City (shown here on a Z-Man sandwich) in your suitcase — it might get confiscated by the TSA.
Don’t put brisket from Joe’s Kansas City (shown here on a Z-Man sandwich) in your suitcase — it might get confiscated by the TSA. The Kansas City Star

Bob Porter wasn’t about to leave Kansas City without tasting our world famous barbecue.

Porter, a government affairs consultant from Washington, D.C., flew in over the weekend to attend the Chiefs game with a group of friends. Before catching his return flight at Kansas City International Airport, he stopped by the Leawood Joe’s Kansas City for a pound of brisket, a pound of smoked sausage and a small condiment cup of sauce.

Porter says he assumed the barbecue would be fine in his checked suitcase because it was wrapped in butcher paper and, for good measure, a plastic laundry bag from his hotel room. But when he arrived home in D.C. Monday and opened his suitcase, the barbecue was gone. In its place, he says, was an empty plastic laundry bag and a note from the Transportation Security Administration that said it had gone through his luggage.

“Really? That’s what you’re taking? My barbecue?” Porter says. “I’ve traveled all over the world, and I’ve never had anything like this happen before.”

Mark Howell, a regional spokesman for TSA, said TSA representatives in Kansas City checked the logs and footage from when Porter would have checked his bag, but found nothing out of the ordinary.

According to the TSA’s website, travelers are allowed to pack food in their checked luggage, including liquids such as sauces, soups, beer and wine. But if the food is wrapped, “TSA officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside.”

Porter’s airline, United, does not recommend stashing perishable items such as food in checked bags. According to United’s website, the airline is “not liable for the loss of, damage to or delay in delivery of such items.”

Porter says that he wasn’t aware of United’s policy and that he wishes he would have just carried his barbecue with him on the plane. The barbecue lover, who grew up in Dallas, says it’s hard to find good barbecue on the East Coast, which is why he was so excited to get his hands on that brisket from Oklahoma Joe’s — oops, we meant Joe’s Kansas City.

“Hopefully one day I’ll get a chance to try it,” Porter says.

He can’t help but wonder what happened to all that barbecue.

“I hope they ate it,” he says. “It probably was one of the dogs. What an ignoble end to good barbecue.”

Melissa Schupmann contributed to this report.

Have you ever packed barbecue in your luggage? Share your story via email at chowtownfeedback@kcstar.com, Twitter @chowtownkc, or Facebook.

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