The Ultimate Guide to Kansas City Barbeque

Discover the rich history and unique style of Kansas City barbeque, and explore the most famous restaurants in the city. From slow-cooked meats to tangy sauces, experience the best of Kansas City's barbeque scene.

The Ultimate Guide to Kansas City Barbeque

As a food industry expert, I have had the pleasure of trying out numerous barbeque restaurants in Kansas City and have compiled a list of the most famous ones. When it comes to barbeque, Kansas City is known as the mecca for meat lovers. With a rich history and a unique style of cooking, Kansas City barbeque has gained worldwide recognition and has become a must-try for food enthusiasts.

The History of Kansas City Barbeque

Kansas City barbeque has a long and interesting history that dates back to the early 1900s.

It all started with Henry Perry, who opened up a stand in an alley in downtown Kansas City, serving slow-cooked meats to workers and travelers passing by. His unique style of cooking, which involved smoking meats over hickory wood and serving them with a tomato-based sauce, became an instant hit. As the popularity of Perry's barbeque grew, more and more restaurants started popping up in Kansas City, each with their own twist on the traditional barbeque. Today, Kansas City is home to over 100 barbeque restaurants, each with its own loyal following and mouth-watering dishes.

The Famous Kansas City Barbeque Restaurants

Kansas City Joe's Formerly known as Oklahoma Joe's, this restaurant has been named as one of the best barbeque joints in America by numerous publications. Located in a gas station, Kansas City Joe's may not look like much from the outside, but their food speaks for itself. Their signature dish is the Z-Man sandwich, which consists of slow-smoked beef brisket topped with smoked provolone cheese, onion rings, and their famous barbeque sauce.

Gates Bar-B-Q

Gates Bar-B-Q is a Kansas City institution that has been serving up delicious barbeque since 1946. Their signature dish is the burnt ends, which are the crispy, flavorful pieces of meat that come from the ends of a smoked brisket.

They also have a unique way of serving their food, with the staff shouting out "Hi, may I help you?" as soon as you walk in.

Arthur Bryant's

Another iconic barbeque restaurant in Kansas City, Arthur Bryant's has been around since 1908 and has served some famous customers, including President Obama and Anthony Bourdain. Their barbeque sauce is what sets them apart from the rest, with a tangy and spicy flavor that pairs perfectly with their slow-smoked meats.


Q39 is a relatively new addition to the Kansas City barbeque scene but has quickly gained a loyal following.

Their modern take on traditional barbeque has won them numerous awards, including being named as one of the top 10 best new restaurants in America by USA Today. Their must-try dish is the burnt end burger, which features a juicy beef patty topped with burnt ends, smoked provolone cheese, and their signature sauce.

The Unique Style of Kansas City Barbeque

What sets Kansas City barbeque apart from other styles is its emphasis on slow-cooking and the use of a variety of meats. While most barbeque styles focus on one type of meat, such as ribs or pulled pork, Kansas City barbeque offers a wide range of options, including beef brisket, pork ribs, burnt ends, and more.

Another defining feature of Kansas City barbeque is the use of a thick, tomato-based sauce. This sauce is used as a glaze and is also served on the side for dipping. Each restaurant has its own unique recipe for their sauce, making it a fun experience to try out different places and compare the flavors.

In Conclusion

Kansas City barbeque is more than just a meal; it's a cultural experience.

From its humble beginnings in an alley to being recognized as one of the best barbeque styles in the world, Kansas City barbeque has come a long way. So, if you ever find yourself in Kansas City, make sure to visit one (or all) of these famous barbeque restaurants and indulge in some mouth-watering dishes.