I've been to Arthur Bryant's many times in the past. It is my considered opinion that Kansas City BBQ means beef. I live in Mississippi and Southern BBQ pretty much always means pork. So, my usual order at Bryant's is burnt ends and brisket and I've always loved them. I went this time as usual and loved them as usual.
I've never been crazy about Bryant's sauce - it's a little too sweet for me and not quite spicy enough. (I do tend to prefer vinegary sauces, but even when not, I don't want them too sweet.) Strangely, though I think Gate's BBQ is inferior, I do prefer their sauce to Bryant's.
But, this time I wanted to try Oklahoma Joe's as well. I stood in the rather long - about 45 minutes on a Monday afternoon - line and ordered a platter of burnt ends - today's special, and also a pulled pork sandwich as they claim that is their specialty.
I loved the burnt ends. I loved them even more than Bryant's. There were more crispy bits, less fat and they weren't quite as chewy. The spicier of the two BBQ sauces was excellent as well. Overall, Oklahoma Joe's is my new go to place for burnt ends. The pulled pork, however, failed to change my thinking about what animal is best eaten BBQ'd in Kansas City. If it were anywhere around the South I wouldn't be bothering to have it again. (I don't know how it stacks up against other pulled pork here in KC.)
If you ever want truly great pulled pork - to see what Oklahoma Joe's is up against - try Payne's in Memphis or any number of places in North Carolina.
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