- Kansas City-style barbecue
Kansas City barbecue refers to the specific
inner citystyle of barbecuethat evolved from the pit of Henry Perryin the early 1900s in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Metropolitan Areais renowned for barbecue. Kansas City, Missouri has more than 100 barbecue restaurants and is known in Missouri as "world's barbecue capital." There are large, well attended barbecue cooking contests, the two most notable being in Lenexa, Kansasand at the American Royal.
Rich Davisbegan the efforts to nationally market a more suburban version of barbecue sauce called KC Masterpiece(which is now owned by a division of Clorox). Efforts by Arthur Bryant'sand Gates and Sons Bar-B-Qto export Kansas City barbecue beyond the metro area have not been commercially successful, although the two do market their sauces to travelers at Kansas City International Airport. Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecuehas been shipping its barbecue nationwide since 2000, and also offer their sauces and fully cooked pork rib packages at the airport.
Kansas City traces its barbecue history to
Henry Perry, who operated out of a trolley barn at 19th and Highland in the legendary African-Americanneighborhood around 18th and Vine.
Perry served slow-cooked ribs on pages of
newsprintfor 25 cents a slab. Perry came from Shelby County, Tennesseenear Memphis and began serving barbecue in 1908. The style of Kansas City and Memphis barbecue are very similar, although Kansas City tends to emphasize using as much sauce as possible. Perry's sauce had a somewhat harsh, peppery flavor.
Perry's restaurant became a major cultural point during the heyday of
Kansas City Jazzduring the "wide-open" days of Tom Pendergastin the 1920s and 1930s.
Working for him was Charlie Bryant, who, in turn, brought his brother, Arthur Bryant, into the business. Charlie took over the Perry restaurant in 1940 after Perry died. Arthur then took over his brother's business in 1946, and the restaurant was renamed
Arthur Bryant's. In the process he sweetened Perry's sauce with molasses "so that you could eat it on bread."
Arthur Bryant's, which eventually moved to 1727 Brooklyn in the same neighborhood, became a stopping ground for baseball fans and players in the 1950s and 1960s, because of its close proximity to Municipal Stadium, where the Athletics or A's played their home games during that period.
In 1974, Kansas City native
Calvin Trillinwrote an article in " New Yorker Magazine" proclaiming Bryant's to be the best restaurant on the planet.Fact|date=December 2007
Despite new-found fame, Bryant did not change the restaurant's very simple decor, which consisted of fluorescent lighting, formica tables, and five-gallon jars of sauce displayed in the windows, even as Presidents
Harry Truman, Jimmy Carterand Ronald Reaganstopped by.
Bryant died of a heart attack, in a bed that he kept at the restaurant, shortly after Christmas of 1982. The restaurant is still open. The barbecue sauce has peppers, herbs, different spices combined to make a sweeter, yet still peppery sauce. The sauce and restaurant continue their success.
Gates & Sons
In 1946 Arthur Pinkard, who was a cook for Perry, joined with George Gates to form
Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q. The restaurant was situated initially in the same neighborhood.
More molasses was added to the Gates barbecue sauce to make it sweeter. Gates also expanded its footprint in a more conventional way, with restaurants all displaying certain trademarks -- red-roofed buildings, a recognizable logo (a strutting man clad in tuxedo and top hat) and the customary "Hi, May I Help You?" greeting belted out by its employees as patrons enter.
Gates has opened restaurants throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. Gates also sells barbecue sandwiches at
Kauffman Stadiumduring Kansas City Royalshome games.
Rich Daviscapitalized on the inner city reputation of Kansas City barbecue to form KC Masterpiece, which evolved from his "K.C. Soul Style Barbecue Sauce."
KC Masterpiece was sold to the Kingsford division of
Cloroxin 1986 and now claims to be the number one premium barbecue brand in the U.S. The KC Masterpiece brand tastes actually sweeter than the classic Bryant's and Gates sauces.
Davis has held KC Masterpiece barbecues on the
White Houselawn for George H.W. Bushand George W. Bush.
According to the History Channel, Mr. Davis bucked the trend of KC BBQ restaurants by developing his sauce first, then creating a restaurant. The History Channel states that the usual trend is to develop the restaurant first, then develop the sauce (as in Bryant's and Gates). The History Channel also states that KC is the crossroads of the BBQ community (due to the early influence of railroads), and also states that the sauce of the restaurant is the most important feature of KC BBQ.
When Davis sold the rights to his sauce to Clorox, he announced plans to build a franchise of barbecue restaurants. Although new restaurants were indeed built in major metropolitan centers across the country, all except for the original restaurant in
Overland Park, Kansashave since closed.
Other Famous Kansas City BBQ
Other famous and popular Kansas City BBQ restaurants include the following:
*"'Big T's BBQ
*Brother Isaac's BBQ [http://www.brotherisaacbbq.com website]
*BB's Lawnside Bar-B-Q (known for indoor and outdoor dining and live blues)
*Danny Edwards Famous Kansas City Barbecue (formerly located next to the
Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue
*L.C.'s Barbecue (close to the
Truman Sports Complex)
*Oklahoma Joe's BBQ (known for its original location inside of a gas station)
*Smoke Stack Bar-B-Que
* [http://www.gasbbq.net/ website featuring reviews of 100 area barbecue restaurants]
Kansas City Barbeque Society
Kansas City Barbeque Society(KCBS), with over 10,000 members worldwide, is the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts. KCBS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to "promoting barbecue as America's cuisine and having fun while doing so."
KCBS sanctions nearly 300 barbecue contests across the U.S. each year and offers assistance to civic and charitable organizations with producing these events. The KCBS has developed a set of rules and regulations that govern all official KCBS competitions.
KCBS offers educational programs, consultation services and civic organization presentations to help spread the gospel of barbecue. The mission of the Kansas City Barbeque Society is to celebrate, teach, preserve and promote barbecue as a culinary technique, sport and art form. [http://www.kcbs.us website]
St. Louis-style barbecue
* [http://www.experiencekc.com/barbeque.html Experience KC history of barbecue]
* [http://www.kclibrary.org/localhistory/media.cfm?mediaID=216143 KC Library History of Gates]
* [http://www.kclibrary.org/localhistory/list.cfm?list=sub&SubjectareaID=19419 Kansas City Library Barbecue history resources]
* [http://www.kcbs.us/ Kansas City Barbeque Society]
* [http://www.rbjb.com/rbjb/bbq.htm Kansas City BBQ Capital of the World]
* [http://www.kansascitybarbecue.com/ KansasCityBarbecue.com is Your Internet Guide To The Finest Barbecue on The Planet]
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