Food travelers looking for a new culinary hot-spot to visit need look no further than Kansas City, Missouri. Home to some of the best barbecue in the nation and a thriving craft beer scene, it’s no wonder Kansas City’s culinary scene is garnering significant praise.
Kansas City BBQ
When it comes to iconic foods, Kansas City barbecue is internationally known. This barbecue dates back to the early 1900s at the pit of Henry Perry, the father of Kansas City barbecue. The key to Kansas City barbecue is slowly smoking the meat over a variety of different woods and then coating it with a thick sauce, typically tomato and molasses-based. Don’t skip the sides, especially a the baked beans. The tastiest beans get their flavor from burnt ends, or the dried out tips from smoked brisket.
Not surprisingly, there are over 100 barbecue joints in Kansas City itself. So, how do you know where to start?
Joe’s Kansas City BBQ is consistently rated as one of the best barbecue joints in Kansas City, even earning it praise as “one of the 13 best places to eat before you die,” from Anthony Bourdain. Joe’s is located inside an old gas station and garners big crowds. One of the most iconic dishes to order is the Z-Man sandwich — brisket, smoked provolone, onion rings, and barbecue sauce on a Kaiser roll.
Arthur Bryant’s is considered by some to be the most famous barbecue restaurant in the country. Henry Perry hired Charlie Bryant for his pit, and soon Arthur Bryant was working there as well. When Perry passed away, Charlie took over, with Arthur next in line. Today, Arthur Bryant’s BBQ Sauce is distributed online and in stores, and the restaurant has had notable diners like Harry S. Truman, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Barack Obama, and more.
Craft Beer in Kansas City
If you’re keen to explore craft breweries in town, consider staying in downtown Kansas City, especially the Power & Light or Crossroads districts, so you can walk or take a short taxi ride to area bars and breweries. KC Beer Blog has a great map detailing everything from brewpubs and distilleries, to bottle shops and homebrew stores.
Kansas City is now home to a number of craft breweries. One of the city’s earliest craft beers was Boulevard Brewing Co. Today, they are joined by nearby places like Cinder Block Brewery and The Big Rip Brewing Company.
If you’re looking for an area beer bar to try a variety of Kansas City craft beers, check out Bier Station, said to be the Midwest’s first combo beer-bottle shop. Beer Kitchen is the ideal beer bar to try some craft beers paired with comfort food like a short-ribbed grilled cheese sandwich. Don’t miss The Belfry in Crossroads, opened by James Beard-winning chef Celina Tio. Not only is she an award-winning chef, but also she’s a certified Cicerone so she knows her brews. Look for beer dinners and an excellent tap list.
With some of the world’s best barbecue and an excellent craft beer scene, Kansas City should definitely be on your culinary roadmap.
This post was published in partnership with IHG Hotels, but all views and recommendations are my own.