Regular readers of this blog know of my desire to find the finest barbecue wherever I travel. If I were welthy and had the time, I would travel just for fine cuisine. Sadly, I can only indulge in my habit where and when other business takes there. You can then imagine my excitement on learning that I'd be spending one night in the city that is the Mecca of BBQ, Kansas City. Now, if you knew you'ld be in KC for a single evening and also knew what you wanted to eat (ribs, of course) where would you go? Without a doubt, you'd head to the grand daddy of KC rib joints, Arthur Bryants.
Many might think that some of the other shrines to BBQ are more worthy; I don't dispute the famed excellence of Gates, Jack Stack and the like, but I've been there before. I sheepishly admit here and now that is all my trips to Kansas City before this, I've never had the pleasure of Bryants. How could a man that has a blog about barbecue (among its 3 subject categories) not visit this place?
I ordered a full rack along with a glass of the most local beer, Boulevard Pale Ale. It was more meat than I was expecting, my tasts usually going toward baby backs. Before I realized it, I was presented with a massive portion as well as a plate of fries that could have easily fed four. OK, I thought, I'll just eat 'till I'm full. Well, I'll let you know that is was so good, I consumed it all and I have the photos to prove it. The meat was a bit greasy (great for taste but would be highly scrutenized in competition) and then literally fell of the bone. They were smoky and complex. As I ate, I began to retink my own recepe.
Of the three sauces, Original was the least interesting. The hotter, less sweet version was an improvement but the ribs came alive with the sauce labeled Sweet Heat. The combination of the smokey meat with this sauce was what could truely be described as heavenly. Now that I've been to Mecca, how do I top it?
Arthur Bryants, 702 Village West Parkway, K.C., KS, 913-788-7500 (not the original location)
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