Chow Town

Kansas City, here’s where to get your smoked corned beef for a St. Patrick’s Day feast

Smoked McGonigle’s Market corned beef Reuben with Irish Cheddar, sauerkraut, Brobeck’s mustard barbecue sauce in Farm to Market Eight Grain bread and new potato/kale colcannon.
Smoked McGonigle’s Market corned beef Reuben with Irish Cheddar, sauerkraut, Brobeck’s mustard barbecue sauce in Farm to Market Eight Grain bread and new potato/kale colcannon. Special to The Star

Are you ready for St. Patrick’s Day? Will your eats and drinks be in step with tradition — or will you go rogue on March 17? It’s OK to do both.

Traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare in America is boiled corned beef with boiled cabbage and potatoes. There will be plenty of that in Chow Town restaurants and homes next week.

Chow Towners also will break from boil-it tradition with cuisine that fits our barbecue heritage: smoked corned beef. Get some at a select few barbecue joints, smoke your own at home, or do both.

Crazy Good Eats will feature a classic Reuben with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, housemade Thousand Island dressing and house-smoked corned beef on rye. Co-owner Bruce Lemay touts their St. Pat’s special as “some of the best smoked corned beef you’ve ever had.”

“I soak the corned beef for 24 hours and change the water out about three times to reduce the salt,” pitmaster Dan Isbell said. “Prep is a simple heavy coat of cracked coriander and black pepper. Smoke for about 10 hours, sliced by hand and piled high. Mouthwatering.”

Joe Tulipana at Blind Box Barbecue brines whole briskets for eight days, rinses and soaks them in clear water before pitmaster JT Bird smokes them with white oak, followed by a steam bath.

The Blind Box St. Pat’s special will feature two options: a traditional Reuben on rye with sauerkraut, melted provolone and housemade Thousand Island dressing. Option 2 adds green chilies with a spicy chipotle aioli.

The sample I tasted had great eye appeal, tender juicy kissed with smoke flavor complemented with sauerkraut, cheese, dressing and rye. Excellent.

RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack started serving Reubens last week. When co-owner Denise Palmgren told me, “and by the way they are absolutely delicious,” I had to try one.

Palmgren was right. RJ’s smoked corned beef Reuben is “absolutely delicious.” I like how the sweetness in the soft marbled rye bun and Thousand Island dressing combines with melted pepper jack cheese, sauerkraut and perfectly smoked sliced corned beef to make an “absolutely delicious” Reuben.

RJ’s rinses their corned beef with cold water to remove excess brine, lightly sprinkles it with Bob Palmgren’s special rub, and smokes it slow and low overnight until juicy tender.

Local Pig will feature some surprise Irish specials. Call today for details.

Four hours south, Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Cue in Broken Arrow will feature a classic Reuben with smoked corned beef. Joe Davidson smokes commercially brined corned beef to tender perfection. He says that a little saltiness in the smoked corned beef is good. It makes you thirsty for more beer.

St. Patrick’s Day is such a big deal in Savannah, Ga., that it is celebrated all week. Green water flows in city fountains. Thousands of spring break celebrants converge on the city for brews, Reubens and revelry. Those in the know go to Wiley’s Championship BBQ where Wiley’s smoked corned beef Reuben is so popular that it’s the year round Friday lunch special.

Wiley’s Reuben marries slow smoked slices of corned beef with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing between slices of Texas toast pressed in a panini until golden crispy.

Bogart’s Smokehouse in St. Louis’ Soulard District serves an extremely popular smoked corned beef pastrami sandwich in a marbled rye bun. It’s on the menu year-round. Pitmaster/proprietor Skip Steele learned pastrami mastery from Chow Town’s Chef Paul Kirk. Check out the homestyle version in America’s Best BBQ Revised, Page 71.

Chef Rob Magee at Q39 will roll out some St. Patrick’s specials next week. Given Chef Magee’s Irish heritage and outstanding culinary talents, we can count on some knock-your-socks-off Irish specials that will be the talk of the town. Reserve ahead or call in a takeout order.

Besides feasting on Chow Town’s cornucopia of St. Patrick’s specials next week, get a head start on the celebration with homestyle smoked corned beef, smashed potatoes, sautéed cabbage or colcannon. Corned beef of varying quality and price per pound is in most local supermarkets.

Although Mike McGonigle isn’t selling smoked corned beef sandwiches on St. Patrick’s Day, his famous house-brined McGonigle’s Market secret recipe corned beef brisket started flying out the door this Monday.

Bichelmeyer Meats will cut their special order Boyle’s Corned Beef to your specifications. Ask Joe or Jim about custom smoking or for some tips on smoking your own at home.

Broadway Butcher Shop stocks Akaushi corned beef year-round, prepared locally to chef/proprietor Stuart Aldridge’s specifications by Boyle’s. Aldridge will offer Irish Bangers next week as well as the Broadway Butcher Shop specialty, Octopus Pastrami, for a new twist on your St. Pat’s menu.

Get your Irish on and celebrate the season next week.

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 .