Two local BBQs make national list of ’33 Best’ — and they may not be who you think

Tracing the trail of BBQ to Kansas City

From the Carolinas to KC, The Star's food editor Jill Silva talks America's various styles of barbecue.
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From the Carolinas to KC, The Star's food editor Jill Silva talks America's various styles of barbecue.

Lifestyle website Thrillist recently released its latest “The 33 Best BBQ Joints in America” list.

Previously, such obvious local names as Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que and LC’s Bar-B-Q made the cut.

Not this year.

Among the 33 this go-around are two local operations that have garnered lots of extra buzz recently: a Raytown barbecue pop-up that is transitioning to a full-time restaurant, and a Kansas City, Kansas, roadside operation that got a lot of attention and love from Netflix’s “Queer Eye.”

Harp Barbecue, at Crane Brewing, 6515 Railroad St., Raytown.

“Enter local man Tyler Harp, a Texophile who’s bringing Lone Star State technique to a dusty dirt lot in the blue-collar suburb of Raytown. ... Harp has been to 300 of the best barbecue spots in the country, and says he learns something everywhere he goes. You’ll experience that in his museum-quality beef ribs that come with perfect KC-style cheesy corn bake.”

Jones Bar-B-Q, at 6706 Kaw Drive in Kansas City, Kansas.

“In general, you should be skeptical of any pit that made its bones off TV fame. But the low-key Kansas City, Kansas, pit operated by sisters Deborah “Shorty” and Mary “Little” Jones are getting a much-deserved reappraisal in the wake of an appearance on Queer Eye. ... The charms of their messy, saucy, bark-heavy plates are immediately obvious. They don’t trim the meat into pristine competition cuts, but rather use thick smoke and tangy sauce to summon something primal from the blackened burnt ends, which are miracle morsels of fat, smoke, salt and sweet.”

Mary “Shorty” Jones and Deborah “Little” Jones, operate Jones Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kansas. Life -- and business -- has changed dramatically for them since their appearance on Netflix's "Queer Eye."

Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis also made the Thrillist list this year.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.