First of all, thanks to everyone who chimed in with tips on such short notice. Knowledgeable locals are what make Chowhound such a great resource.
Here's a quick sketch of my meals in Kansas City, Kansas, last weekend. More details and photos can be found at the link below.
(1) Oklahoma Joe's (47th & Mission location). The short and not-so-sweet version is, "I don't get it." The ribs I saw on a few people's plates appeared to have been soft-barked and overcooked to mush--so much so that I didn't bother ordering them. One of their employees told me that pulled pork was their best meat, so I ordered the sandwich of pulled pork and sausage (having read something positive somewhere about their links). I wasn't impressed with the look of the meat that emerged from a steam-heated bin on the prep line. And eating it didn't change that impression. The pulled pork was somewhat dry, light on smoke, bland, and lacking in brown bits. The sausage--hammy and peppery--was a step up from supermarket-grade sausage, but didn't really hit the spot. The bun, straight from a bag, was airy and flat-tasting. It wasn't a bad sandwich--just a mediocre one, even with some of the chipotle-spiked hot sauce drizzled over it. Their curious baked beans were pretty good, though I favored some of the more traditional interpretations of the dish I had in KC. I'm guessing Oklahoma Joe's is capable of much better work than what I saw on Saturday. I only wish I'd caught them on their A-game.
(2) Rosedale. Good grief. I know I should probably have some respect for a place that's survived as long as this joint has. But a joint that serves 'cue as bad as what I got here doesn't *deserve* to survive. The brisket (or sliced beef) was so dry that it crumbled to pieces. The sliced pork stayed together, but was also dry and very salty, to boot. Ribs were greasy, overcooked, and light on smoke. Fries seemed like they were of the "freezer section" variety. Beans were better than VanCamp's (for what that's worth), but below the KC average. Wild horses couldn't drag me back in.
(3) Quick's 7th Street Bar-B-Q. Okay, Pepperann. Is this the Quick's you were talking about? I came here, but then later found there was an Earl Quick's on Merriam. The beef sandwich (recommended by the waiter) at the 7th Street location was bland and rubbery. Had it been better, I might have ordered something else. But that gray, unappetizing wad of meat left me discouraged, so I packed it in and moved on. That's one of the dangers of heading out without sufficient planning. My guess is that this wasn't the one you were recommending.
(4) Woodyard Bar-B-Que. Ah, yes. The sight of a brick pit. The smell of smoke thick in the air. A pitmaster that's eager to show you what he's capable of. Even if the food were to fail, I could tell this would be the most enjoyable barbecue experience of the day. Fortunately, the food delivered. Baby backs were a little soft in the bark and had a slightly too salty dry rub, but had excellent smoke penetration, near ideal texture, and great flavor. Almost the best ribs of the trip. Pulled pork (pictured below) wasn't quite as moist as I would have liked, but also had very good flavor and smokiness--better than most of what I've had in Memphis. The surprisingly good "hot legs" (chicken legs smoked and basted with a spicy barbecue sauce) were an amusing, successful spin on hot wings. Woodyard was easily the best of the meals I had in Kansas City, Kansas.
A KCMO report will follow, when I can find some free time to hammer it out. Thanks again, everyone!
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