BBQ…one simple word can stand for a myriad of smoked or grilled beef, pork, poultry, fish etc. and can be quite confusing. For me BBQ is pork; slow smoked, fat rendered, pink ringed, and crispy; tender and succulent with juice running down your arms…and supposedly Smokey Joe’s in Kansas City, KS has some of the best!
They have three locations, but the original, gas station location, is the mecca; there was a line out the door at 2:00pm on a Friday and it remained at 3:30 when we left. You have ample time to peruse the restaurant and the massive amounts of BBQ sauce offered in the gas station, along with an impressive display of Frisbee (disc) golf discs, as you wrap your way around to the counter in the far corner.
The wait wasn’t really that bad, about 30 minutes, but it’s worth it and the smell alone is enough to keep you going; that and the sight of brisket and ribs passing by every few minutes. I ponied up to the counter and order a slab of the ribs and some brisket with spicy coleslaw. The brisket was pretty solid, full of flavor and sporting the tell-tale pink ring; it could have been a little more moist, but hell they’re pumping out hundreds of pounds a day and they can’t all be perfect.
The ribs were my favorite; fall off the bone tender, crispy on the outside and just enough juice to cause me to go the napkin a few times! I provided two shots below because you really need to see them from two different perspectives.
Smokey Joe’s was definitely worth the drive and the overall experience was up there in my top 5 BBQ memories, but I felt like the food was just a little above average. I guess that what happens when you get tons of hype, are featured on multiple cult TV food shows (see No Reservations) and have lines out the door all day…I probably just got over my skis a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but as I was leaving I spotted an old friend and he asked me to score them on a 1 – 10 scale; I said, “7.5” and he gave me a frowny face…WTH?