Oklahoma Joe's BBQ in KC: It Ain't Home, but It's Almost Worth the Wait

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LDD
Last week after the All-Star Game, Kansas City barbecue got the full hash tag treatment from visiting sports writers. I just so happened to be in KC this weekend and, based on Twitter-sphere, recommendations from friends and an editor, I told my hosts I had visit to Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. They didn't argue.

Oklahoma Joe's recently made Men's Health Manliest Restaurant ballot -- going up against Tim Love's Woodshed. And Anthony Bourdain included the gas station spot in his list of 13 places to eat before you die. Billy Butler even showed up at the Leawood location (which is supposedly not as good as the original) on Friday.

When we arrived around 1:15 p.m. on a Friday, the line stretched all the way through the dining room, out the double doors and about 20 feet along the sidewalk. We placed our order at the counter at 2 p.m. Normally, I wouldn't even slow the padded wagon down for a line that was out the door. But, I had been previously warned so was mentally prepared for it.

The good thing is, you get your food almost immediately after you order. The bummer was that they didn't have burnt-end sandwiches, which I'd heard was a regular weekday lunch special. So, instead I went with the Z-Man Sandwich with thin slices of smoked brisket, melted provolone and three crunchy, thick onion rings on a toasted Kaiser bun. I know -- cheese and onion rings?. Sounds crazy for barbecue, but I didn't have my Texas-barbecue hat on. I was trying to be open-minded. Clean slate. Actually, you could say my standards were lowered because I've eaten KC barbecue before (boom!).

I slathered on the molasses-rich sauce and devoured every morsel of the sandwich. It wasn't a transcendental experience or anything, though, because the waiting situation would make anyone ravenous once she finally got to sit down and eat. But I thoroughly enjoyed the sandwich. Admittedly, I'm a total homer when it comes to barbecue (Zimmerhanzel's in Smithville, Texas, to be clear), but this is a pretty cool spot for a KC visit. Here are a few more pics.

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Random person's ribs.

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A different perspective: the Z-Man all smushed together.


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9 comments
todd
todd

 Like

Megan
Megan

Oklahoma Joe's is very good, for KC BBQ. But I have to say, I prefer BB's Lawnside BBQ. The food's great, the atmosphere is fantastic, and it just feels good to be there. They also have live blues music throughout the week.

Ed D.
Ed D.

The Woodyard, just one exit farther into Kansas, is outstanding, reasonably priced, and although it's been on TV a few times it's just far enough off the beaten path that it's not overrun the way Oklahoma Joe's is. It's the only place on my annual KC barbecue tour that I schedule every year. (The Saturday special is racks of ribs. Go on Saturday.)

J-Ferg
J-Ferg

Glad you liked the Z-Man. Truly sad you didn't get to enjoy the burnt ends, or the ribs for that matter, as both are top notch.  Thanks for the Zimmerhanzel recommendation - I will have to remember that when I go to Texas.

Fake Jon Daniel
Fake Jon Daniel

Finally a real review of real food and not that horrendous fake Texas BBQ slob! Pecan Lodge would be like Dickey's if it were in any other city. I prefer my bbq served on the back of baby golden unicorn while an orchestra plays Mozart as I type out my 67,000 tweet!

Nick
Nick

While I love the original OK Joe's and the Jack Stack in Martin City almost equally, my fav KC bbq is Smokin' Guns on Swift in NKC. It's a fav amongst some of the KCP&L journeyman. Trust me. Take one step in their very small establishment and you'll see what I mean before you even order your food.

Fred
Fred

gates will always be number 1 for me, with OK Joes a close second...not a fan of jack stack at all

Fred
Fred

gates for the sauce sir....gates

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