Kansas City Barbeque: A Year In Review

Is Kansas City a dangerous place to start a review series centered around BBQ? Maybe - but we’re willing to take that chance. Kansas City is known as being one of the biggest Meccas in the glorious world of barbeque. Come with the FlashPoint crew on a year long Tour-De-BBQ and lets find out how some of the most famous (and not so famous) BBQ joints stack up around the city of fountains.

Kansas City Barbeque: A Year In Review


Kansas City Barbeque is branded with a wide variety of dry rubbed smoked meats, with a heavy emphasis on the ‘table sauce’.

There is no ‘signature’ meat in traditional Kansas City Barbeque. This is because of the city’s history with cattle and livestock exchange in the early 20th century.  Meaning that almost all cuts of meat were readily available and better yet, extremely fresh. No surprise that the roots of Kansas City Barbeque were set down during this period of time.

If there is a signature trait to Kansas City Barbeque - it’s the sauce. Most people (mistakenly) believe KC BBQ sauce is thick and sweet. That is a myth - Traditional Kansas City sauce is slightly thin, has more spice and heat, with a subtle after note of sweetness. Sauce is never used during cooking – it’s meant to be a table sauce – to be dipped in, or added to the finished goods. Two of the best examples of authentic Kansas City style sauces are the famous Arthur Bryant's, which is a vinegar-based sauce, and Gates, which is a bit spicier than other brands of Kansas City sauces. While opinions and taste vary widely among the locals, most restaurants around the city offer a variety of sauces with sweet, spicy and tangy flavor profiles to make sure everyone finds a sauce they like.

As important as the smoked meat and ‘table sauce’ in KC style barbeque are, the side dishes – French fries, baked beans, and coleslaw - are just as important to the locals.  Kansas City natives want a BBQ platter to be a complete experience of enjoyment. We very much appreciate, and agree with, this mindset.

Aside from the 100+ barbeque restaurants around the Kansas City metro area - KC is also home of two of the most prestigious BBQ competitions in the world. The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle, and The American Royal. The American Royal is the largest and longest running BBQ competition in the world.

Kansas City truly is a Mecca for BBQ.

Throughout 2019, Josh and Alex from the FlashPoint Grill Tools team will be visiting one Kansas City Barbeque restaurant every month. They will be reviewing the signature dish, sauces, rubs, and cooking style – each category will be rated on our own “Flame Scale”. To gain a deeper insight into each restaurant, they will be conducting an impromptu interview with anyone wearing a staff shirt. While the scale is strictly their opinions  - they hope to give an unbiased and honest review.

Where will they start? There is only one place to start, the place that started the Kansas City Barbeque movement almost 100 years ago. The one, the only – Arthur Bryant’s. Stay tuned and stay grilling friends.