Chow Town sports and barbecue buzz is intense this fall.
Will the Royals prevail in the playoffs, make it to the World Series and win? Does the football belong to the Kansas City Chiefs this season, all the way to the Super Bowl?
Finally, can you believe that the American Royal World Series of Barbecue takes place this year at the Truman Sports Complex?
The parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium has never been a stranger to barbecue. This year, however, for the first time in history, Arrowhead is the site of the world’s largest barbecue cooking contest, populated by cooking rigs, teams and characters never before seen on the premises.
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While most Chow Towners are texting or tweeting about the famous Friday night parties at the barbecue contest, including where to park, what to wear, who’s bringing what, and who has invitations to private parties — contest teams are absorbed with other questions:
How far are we from the turn-in table?
Who is next to us?
Are we there to party or to win?
What’s the drill for power hook-ups, portable toilets, hay and ice?
Where can we get the best meat for the best price?
That only scratches the surface of plan-ahead details facing the teams. Since it is primarily a meat-cooking contest, one of the most important questions is where to get the best meat for the best price.
Meat quality versus price is always a consideration. Some cooks will remind you that barbecue as a retail product was born out of necessity. Late 19th century butchers learned that instead of throwing out tough meats that didn’t sell, they could barbecue it and sell it.
Should cooking teams follow tradition and barbecue cheap meats at contests, or presumably better their odds of winning by investing in high-dollar, best-quality meats? My impression is that most opt for marrying top-quality meat with top-quality pit master skills.
Broadway Butcher Shop’s emphasis on quality meats, cheeses and prepared foods is one of the newest butcher shops in town to gain favor with contest and backyard pit masters.
I won’t mention names, but several teams swear by the chicken thighs and pork butt quality at Broadway Butcher Shop. In addition, some swear by the quality of the Ora King Salmon for the “anything but” contest category.
Stuart Aldridge, Broadway Butcher Shop owner, general manager and head butcher told me, it’s “the best salmon I have ever smoked. It is hands down the richest salmon I have ever had.”
Besides contest-quality chicken thighs and pork butts, Broadway Butcher Shop offers a moveable, seasonal feast of prepared meats such as pastrami, terrines, seafood, cheeses, gourmet condiments, seasonings, sandwiches, Savory Addictions Gourmet Nuts and more.
Aldridge’s impressive culinary pedigree includes a combination of formal culinary training with experience at several top quality Chow Town restaurants — Port Fonda and the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, to name two. He is readily available to share his culinary knowledge with customers.
Aldrige has recruited a competent, friendly team. Jim Denis, a Johnson County Community College Culinary Arts graduate is second in command, overseeing daily details, including soups, stocks and case work. Sam Daiker, the real life Kansas City version of the fictional “Abe Froman,” makes most of the sausages. T.J. Mayfield specializes in terrines.
Good luck to the barbecue competition teams and our hometown Royals and Chiefs.
If you haven’t been to Broadway Butcher Shop ever or lately, treat yourself to their quality products soon. As a new fan of Broadway’s duck breast pastrami, I can’t wait to try the “Octopus-Strami.” Could be the next big thing.
Broadway Butcher Shop is at 3828 Broadway in Kansas City, 816- 931-2333, www.facebook.com/BroadwayButcherShop.
Ardie Davis 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. His most recent release is America’s Best BBQ (Revised Edition), with chef Paul Kirk.