Sunday, 27 July 2014

Epilogue: end of the BBQ trail

I Do "Que" sign
I Do "Que"
Overall, our approach to Arthur Bryant’s, and Kansas City as a whole, was flawed. We went to the wrong Jack Stack. We did not hit LC’s Bar-B-Q. Arthur Bryant’s was underwhelming. But I am OK with this. In fact, we almost skipped Kansas City altogether. But had we skipped KC, we would have missed Oklahoma Joe’s, which in my mind was the best ribs of the trip and ticked the most boxes for me. No regrets, but I am still thinking of that brisket sandwich at Arthur Bryant’s.

Tennessee was just plain fun. Some great food, even better beer and bourbon and some decent barbecue. We gained some great insight into rubs, sauces and technique and met some great people. And Johnny Cash is again on heavy rotation.

North Carolina was just plain special. Their entire approach to barbecue was so foreign to me, which is why we decided to start the tour there – whilst we were still fresh and had the appetite. This is real barbecue made by real people the real old fashioned way. Wilber’s, Lexington and Gary’s were all different and all special. If I can replicate what they do by 50% as well as they do it, I can die a happy BBQ master.

Arthur Bryant’s

Outside Arthur Bryant’s, Kansas City
Arthur Bryant’s, Kansas City
Everyone in the barbecue world knows about Arthur Bryant’s – it is legendary. Arthur Bryant’s is known really for their beef and pork ribs and we promised the Minneapolis brood that we would bring up a carload so we stopped by for a large takeaway on our way out of Kansas City.

We met a few folks on the 30-minute queue (at 11:30 am on a hot, sunny, summer Sunday morning). We discussed the clear divide between Arthur Bryant’s and Gates Bar-B-Q, the merits of L C’s Bar-B-Q, beef versus pork and how Arthur Bryant’s sauce is an “acquired taste”. More on this later.