Chow Town

McGonigle’s ribs and burnt ends special does not disappoint

McGonigle’s burnt ends sandwich, seasoned Parmesan waffle fries and pit beans.
McGonigle’s burnt ends sandwich, seasoned Parmesan waffle fries and pit beans. Special to The Kansas City Star

“No pictures!” scowled McGonigle’s pitmaster-on-duty, Robert Morris, as I aimed my camera at him.

He was loading Mike McGonigle’s vintage Southern Yankee barbecue pit with racks of baby backs for the $2 off Thursday Special.

I gave him a surprised look of disbelief. He followed up with an “I was only kidding” smile and gave me an elbow bump, since his vinyl-gloved hands were handling raw meat.

Chow Towner friend Terry and I had stopped at McGonigle’s for early lunch on one of our occasional Chow Town grub crawls recently.

We followed McGonigle’s Mr. McGoo’s 1-2-3 BBQ Rules:

1) Order and pay inside.

2) Bring receipt to the trailer.

3) Enjoy!

We got a baby back slab special, burnt ends sandwich special, seasoned Parmesan waffle fries and McGonigle’s famous baked beans. With true marketing savvy, Robert added a sample of smoked Italian sausage. It worked. Next time I’ll add that special formula sausage to my order.

Since we were going to share our feast on location at McGonigle’s outdoor swine dining area, “Open 24/7,” Robert noted, he cut our slab into individual ribs so we wouldn’t have to tear them apart by hand, although they were tender enough for hands-on rib-picking primal feasting.

The barbecue was spot on perfect with eye appeal, tenderness and flavor. Mike McGonigle’s Chow Town-style baked bean medley, mixed with a mild McGonigle’s secret formula sauce and pieces of barbecue meat, along with the waffle fries, made excellent complementary sides.

A favorite source of chicken, ribs, pork butt and brisket for Chow Town competition barbecue teams, McGonigle’s also does a brisk business selling meats and sides to indoor and outdoor home cooks.

The friendly staffers know their products and are committed to customer satisfaction. McGonigle’s is reminiscent of the old-fashioned Texas meat markets that started barbecuing and selling tough meats made tender back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

When you can’t smoke your own, treat yourself to great Chow Town barbecue at McGonigle’s, 79th Street and Ward Parkway in Kansas City.

Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbecue community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS’ Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on food shows and writes for barbecue-related publications. He is also the author of books on barbecue. His most recent release is “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”