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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kansas City BBQ

As I started writing this blog I was sitting in a conference room in Kansas City for some advanced planning education.  On a weekly basis, I do a radio show with a colleague from Kansas City.  Most of those of us who do the show were there.  It was a time to see old friends and meet some new ones and to eat barbecue.  And more barbecue.  I've had all the other kinds of barbecue but in my mind, Kansas City style is the gold standard.  Having been to KC before, I knew where I wanted to go and had a cooler in the trunk so we could bring some home and freeze it!  Connie called this our red meat tour :-)  Here's the tale:

Saturday afternoon in Collinsville, IL we got to the hotel and unloaded the car and headed for Cahokia Mounds.  On the way we stopped at a place called Bandanas for a couple of bbq sandwiches.  We split a pulled pork and a beef brisket.  The pork was good and the brisket was average at best. BBQ fast food.  I knew it'd get better.

Sunday around lunch time we arrived in KC.  Again, we unloaded the car and headed out.  This time, I was on a mission.  Gates BBQ.  Burnt ends.  Now, Connie'd had burnt ends once.  They were big chunks and were kind of chewy and just didn't trip either of our triggers.  I knew he'd love Gates.  But, would he order a burnt ends sandwich?  Nope.  He wanted ribs.  Now, you know we share.  So, I got half the ribs and he got half the sandwich.

And, he wished he'd gotten the WHOLE sandwich.  His eyes practically rolled back in his head.  He declared that the best.  You see, the folks at Gates take a couple of cleavers to the burnt ends.  They chop them into oblivion then douse them with sauce and slap the whole mess onto a hoagie bun.

Sunday evening was the welcome reception.  Afterward, my friend Melissa's hubby Doug picked us up and the four of us went to Garozzo's for chicken spiedini.  This was a new dish for me.  And, it's one I plan on being very well acquainted with!  Basically, you pound a chicken breast thin then coat it with a cheesey bread crumb mixture, roll it up, marinate it in Italian dressing and grill it.  Then Garozzo's has one of four ways you can order it.  Connie and I got the tomato basil sauce and Melissa and Doug got the garlic sauce.  Either way you're going to get a LOT of garlic.  This was one fabulous meal!!!

Monday morning it was time to get to work.  Bright and early.  Lunch at the hotel was bbq.  Gates sauce was one of the ones offered.  Connie was a happy boy.  I had Oklahoma Joe's sauce.   Monday evening we all went to Gordon Biersch.  Connie's meal was great.  Mine was average.  Overcooked salmon.  I'm just about to the point that I'm done ordering salmon out.  It's always overcooked in my opinion.  Tuesday morning we were back to work again...  Tuesday evening we were on our own.

Oklahoma Joe's it was.  Several folks had recommended OJ's as their favorite bbq.  It was VERY good.  We once again split a pulled pork and a beef brisket sandwich.  Except this brisket sandwich had provolone cheese and an onion ring on it.  Nirvana!

On our way back to the hotel, we made a run to Jack Stack's.  This is the bbq joint that's closest to fine dining if you will.  Here you can get lamb ribs, crown prime beef ribs and just about any kind of bbq you want.  We'd brought that cooler along just for the run to Jack Stack's. 

Wednesday morning we got to Dean's office at 6:30 am.  Yup, you read that right.  Much to my chagrin I found out there are TWO 6:30's in a day.  Wow, who'd have guessed.  Time to tape the show with Dean, Bud and Ken.  Ken was in from Detroit.  Dean and Bud are the ones who are typically on the show.  Here are the guys:

10 and we were done taping.  Time to head to Indy.  We got on the highway and Connie says, "I wonder what time Gates opens?"  I said well you'd better get off the highway because this is the exit you take to get there.  Half an hour.  It was worth the wait.  We sat in the parking lot and talked about all the stuff I'd learned and the ideas and how wonderful it was to spend time with our friends.  Then, the doors opened.  Two burnt end sandwiches were ours.  One to split at 10:30 for brunch.  Another at 1:30 for lunch.  Ah, road food never tasted so good!

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