Chow Town

The year in Kansas City barbecue: Gains, losses, what’s ahead

Andrew Zimmern: Kansas City is America's best for barbecue

While visiting Kansas City in June, celebrity chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern talked to The Star's Sarah Gish about Kansas City's barbecue tradition and the city's future as a hot destination for food and entrepreneurship. Zimmern was in Ka
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While visiting Kansas City in June, celebrity chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern talked to The Star's Sarah Gish about Kansas City's barbecue tradition and the city's future as a hot destination for food and entrepreneurship. Zimmern was in Ka

The late poet, scholar and barbecue aficionado Jake Adam York penned one of my favorite poems, “United States of Barbecue.”

After references to iconic Alabama barbecue joints — Mud Creek, Dreamland, Twix ‘n’ Tween — York shares feelings, flavors and musings evoked from American “‘cue joints” that “rise through smoke and glow like roadhouses on Heaven’s Way.”

The President, governors and mayors will step forth in January with State of the Union, State of the State and State of the City speeches. Elected officials will not address the State of the United States of Barbecue. These notable Chow Town and out-of-Chow Town year-end highlights will suffice as a summary:

New Kansas City area barbecue restaurant openings:

▪  Crazy Good Eats, Olathe

▪  Plowboys, downtown Kansas City

▪  Blind Box, Shawnee

▪  Fiorella’s Jack Stack, Lee’s Summit

▪  Cleaver & Cork, Power & Light District

▪  Hog, Herd & a Bird, downtown Topeka

Restaurant news, honors & events:

▪  Q39’s new menu items: Burnt End Appetizer; Smoked Fried Chicken; BBQ Salmon Fillet; Mr. Burns; Ball Park Pork; Fudge Brownies; Hard Root Beer Float

▪  Rosedale Bar-B-Q added craft beers to the beverage menu

▪  SLAP’S hours changed to 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. or until sold out.

▪  Visit KC introduced a new fantastic online video featuring Kansas City Barbecue.

▪  Three new Barbecue Hall of Fame inductees: Chef Paul Kirk, Steven Raichlen & Ed Fisher

▪  New venue for the American Royal World Series of Barbecue: Arrowhead Stadium

In a first for the American Royal parade, 71 entries marched a 3/4 mile route on Saturday between Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium at the Truman Sports Complex. A smaller than usual crowd was on hand for this year's parade, which was moved t

▪  First Annual Royal Roo BBQ Contest at UMKC

▪  Alabama Tourism Department’s 50-plus city traveling exhibition featuring 75 Alabama barbecue restaurants, branded The Year of Alabama Barbecue, was at the American Royal World Series of Barbecue.

▪  Twenty nine legendary Alabama Barbecue Hall of Fame restaurants were inducted this inaugural year

▪  Dave Anderson opened Jimmie’s Old Southern Smokehouse BBQ in Hayward, Wisconsin, home of the original Famous Dave’s (1994). Anderson returned this year to a key management/consulting role with Famous Dave’s.

▪  Adam Wright is now Famous Dave’s CEO.

Losses:

▪  Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Rich Davis, inventor of KC Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce, died October 6, age 89.

▪  Bill Jamison, best-selling co-author of “Smoke & Spice” plus two dozen other books; 4-time James Beard award winner, died March 24, age 73.

What’s ahead in 2016:

(Caveat: This list is purely speculative.)

▪  The 2016 American Royal World Series of Barbecue will host more than 700 teams.

▪  Fueled with Q39’s Ball Park Pork, the KC Royals will retain their World Series Champions crown.

▪  Fueled with a medley of Chow Town’s best barbecue ribs, the Kansas City Chiefs will win Super Bowl 50 in honor of Lamar Hunt.

▪  Billionaire philanthropists will bankroll a Kemper Arena renovation into Planet Barbecue, a major international tourist attraction, home of the Barbecue Hall of Fame, the Smithsonian Barbecue History Museum and Archives, a state-of-the-art Barbecue Culinary Academy with a student dorm and restaurant learning environments featuring USA regional and international styles of barbecue and sides on a quarterly rotation, plus a conference center with hotel.

▪  Extreme Vegan BBQ Chop Haus will open at the corner of 47th Avenue & Mission Road in Roeland Park, Kansas.

Expect some exciting changes in Chow Town and the United States of Barbecue next year. Happy New Year!

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 releases are America’s Best BBQ (Revised Edition), with chef Paul Kirk, and Barbecue Lover’s Kansas City Style .

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