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Tuesday, June 27, 2017


As we got into the car, I wasn't singing "Going to Kansas City" for any reason other than anticipating a return to barbecue heaven on hearth.  I was looking forward to Kansas City's renowned brand of barbecue--a craving I've had since our last visit here more than two years ago.  Rob, Michael, and I decided on an early dinner,so we headed for Smokehouse Bar-B-Cue in Zona Rosa, Kansas City, Missouri as it is exactly the craving satiator I was looking for. 

The restaurant's cavernous setting has a set of double entry doors, and once you leave the street and enter through the first set, you are transported to a separate universe of special offactory delights.  The splendid aromatic combination of spiced and rubbed hickory smoked meats and sauces fondle your receptors until hunger and desire are overwhelming.

I am not exaggerating.  We’re certainly not the first to discover Smokehouse Bar-B-Cue.  Go on a weekend and expect a wait.  We were lucky on a Monday, early, and were seated immediately. By the time we left, the place was filling up.

The wait staff is knowledgeable and friendly.  The restaurant, a family-owned business with two other locations, is redolent of comradery and good cheer, so it is at once comfortable and familiar.

Our drinks of choice were beers.  Rob went for the hoppiest IPA, Firestone Union Jack IPA, brewed out in Paso Robles, CA. (another delightful place) Michael and I went local,  KC's own Boulevard Brewery's Pale Ale for him and Boulevard Wheat for me, after a sample taste to make sure this beer would do.  I really liked choosing a Boulevard brew as we had a wonderful tour and tasting at the Boulevard Brewery on our last trip to KC.  This choice was like coming home.  I drank it throughout our Kansas City stay.

Boulevard Wheat is served with a slice of lemon.
Great beer!
Trying to satisfy those barbecue-hungry taste buds in one meal is tough, but we were determined.  After suitable deliberation, we all ordered the Chef's Special which includes pork spare ribs, baby back ribs, bone-in chicken, burnt ends, thick slabs of toast, and two sides.  Here Rob and I agreed on Cheesy Corn and Hickory Pit Beans.  Michael joined us in the corn but went for the cole slaw instead. 


Generous is an understatement when I describe the portions.  The meats were juicy, tasty, fall-of-the bone deliciousness, dowsed in a delightful sauce at once tangy and sweet, thick and sticky, a pleasure to enjoy. I’m smiling even as I write this!

The secret of great barbecue is in the sauce.  Smokehouse's is sweet, spicy, thick, and sticky.  It's tomatoey and sharp.  It clings to the meat, and there is no need to add anything to it.  It's wonderful.  If there is any left on your plate or in your bowl of beans, you take a piece of your thick hunk of toasted bread and wipe it up and eat it.  It's too good to allow it to be washed down some drain!

Do you know what burnt ends are?  This is part of the uniqueness of Kansas City barbecue.  Burnt ends are considered a delicacy. It is the thoroughly cooked point end of the brisket, separated before or after the rest of the brisket is cooked, so the ends are crispier with a decidedly well-done flavor. At some smaller barbecue restaurants, burnt ends are not offered everyday because they don't cook a sufficient quantity of brisket. Not to worry at Smokehouse. They cook plenty.

The beans, too, slow cooked in a savory, thick sauce, were delicious.  Ever try Cheesy Corn? It is so unusual, creamy and mixed with a thin melted cheese sauce.  The corn is sweet and crisp, not overcooked soggy kernels, and the sauce does not overpower; it compliments. It's a side I fondly remembered just as soon as I saw it on the menu. Scrumptious and different.  I’ve never seen it on any of our other barbecue junkets outside Kansas City. Here it is a menu staple but prepared differently in different restaurants.

What a dinner! What a welcome to a great week in Kansas City!

Dessert?  Are you kidding? Sometimes there really is too much of a good thing! 
Take my word on this--Smokehouse is a great place to go if barbecue is your thing! 

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