Chow Town

'Cue the applause: Here's how Zarda makes its tournament-winning barbecue burnt ends

It's been a pretty good week for Zarda.

On Wednesday, the family-owned barbecue joint with locations in Lenexa and Blue Springs won The Star's March Madness-style burnt ends tournament.

Then, on Thursday, Zarda debuted a celebratory burnt ends special — $4.99 for a Limited Reserve burnt ends sandwich on a toasted bun, or $9.99 for a burnt ends plate with sliced bread and two sides.

Zarda Limited Reserve burnt ends plate
Zarda's Limited Reserve burnt ends are coated in a sweet and spicy dry rub and served open face on white bread with fries. Sarah Gish Kansas City Star

Each location cooked an extra large batch of burnt ends — 300 pounds! — and sold out by the end of the lunch rush.

On Friday morning, we stopped by the Lenexa location for a barbecue-themed Facebook Live broadcast. I presented Zarda chief operations officer Terry Hyer with a certificate for winning the tourney, and watched general manager Suzanne Zarda prep KC Classic baked beans by slicing fresh burnt ends into sweet and spicy beans.

zardas fblive.JPG
Zarda is celebrating winning The Star's March Madness-style burnt ends tournament by offering specials in April. Shelly Yang

"These are my new favorite," Zarda said as she sliced the tender, charred beef.

"They're beautifully marbled, really tasty — they just fall apart," she said as she pulled a hunk apart by hand. "A lot of people have been converted from a brisket sandwich to these new burnt ends."

Watch the full broadcast to find out about more Zarda menu items, including cheesy corn, Limited Reserve ribs and a killer smoked turkey sandwich topped with crispy bacon.

Hyer, who has worked at Zarda for 38 years, also reveals a wild creation called the "Scooby Snack," a sandwich he invented as a teenager that's made with fries, beans and lots of others smoky Zarda specialties.