Best BBQ In Kansas City | Top 10 Best Kansas City Barbeque Restaurants

best kansas city bbq restaurants

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Are you searching for the best barbecue restaurants in Kansas City?  First of all, this isn’t your momma’s lame TripAdvisor “Best BBQ in Kansas City” list.

It’s also not a trendy BBQ snob list – this is a list that folks that have grown up in Kansas City and have eaten KC BBQ by the metric ton.

If your are coming to Kansas City and want to eat like a native and speak like a local BBQ connoisseur, then memorize this list.

If you are in the mood for barbecue, you can’t beat the offerings in Kansas City. Kansas City is well-known for its style of barbecue that is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Whether it’s chicken, pork, beef, lamb, turkey, sausage or even fish, the barbecue in Kansas City can’t be beaten. Before cooking, the meat is typically prepared by rubbing with a spice mixture and then slowly smoking the meat to complete perfection. A homemade barbecue sauce that is slightly spicy and sweetened with molasses is slathered on just as the meat is almost finished cooking. Popular dishes include pulled pork, ribs and brisket. If you are lucky, you just may end up with some burnt ends, the fatty and crusty part of the smoked brisket, on your dinner plate.

Round out your lunch or dinner meal with a side of baked beans, coleslaw or French fries and wash it down with a cold pop, beer or a glass of sweet tea for one of the best meals you will ever have. With over 100 different barbecue restaurants throughout the city, many people have a difficult time choosing one. Choose one of these top 10 Kansas City barbecue restaurants for your next meal, and any one of them will guarantee that you will soon have your barbecue cravings satisfied.


The Definitive Top 10 Best Kansas City BBQ Restaurants as Ranked by Actual Kansas City Locals


#1 Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue

What began as a small storefront barbecue restaurant in 1957 has now grown into five restaurants in the Kansas City area.  But for most Kansas Citians, there is only one location that matters: Martic City.   Jack Stack Barbecue offers gourmet meat that is smoked slowly over hickory wood. They offer an extensive menu, which includes a variety of sandwiches, crown prime beef rib and classic side dishes.  The baby back ribs set the standard for all ribs in Kansas City and thereby the rest of the world.  Their cheesy corn is the gold standard (if you buy it in the store, the Costco version sucks).  Same goes for baked beans.  The wings are also top notch.  If you are visiting for lunch, try the Smokin’ Russ, which is a sandwich with burnt ends that is topped with barbecue sauce, spicy jalapenos and two types of cheese.

Note: don’t just this restaurant by buying their products online or in stores – to get the quality and experience, go to the restaurant in Martin City.

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue
13441 Holmes Rd
Kansas City, MO 64145
Phone: (913) 385-7427


#2 Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue

This is the most unique flavored BBQ in the country – a gritty, tangy authentic barbeque that has deep history and a special place in the heart of many true Kansas Citians.  If you like Arthur Bryants, you are hardcore.   Started by the widely-proclaimed “King of Ribs,” Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue is a popular choice for both locals and visiting celebrities. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Harry Truman and Barack Obama have all visited the restaurant, drawn to the slow-smoked meat that has hints of hickory and oak. Arthur Bryant perfected two signature, secret sauces, Original and Rich and Spicy, which top the various meat dishes. Try the Barbecue Pork sandwich, which is served on white bread with sliced meat, with a side of french fries.

Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue
1727 Brooklyn Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri
Phone: (816) 231-1123


#3 Q39

It’s really amazing that a newer KC barbecue joint can earn a spot on on the top three with the two other legends we’ve just mentioned, but Q39 is really that good.  It may end up becoming the best BBQ restaurant in Kansas City – many people seem to think this right now.  But is this a just a trend?  Will they be able to maintain the standard for the long haul?  Or could this be something that will build into local family tradition and gain legendary status?  Only time will tell.   Owner and classically-trained chef Rob Magee opened Q39 after 10 years of successfully winning barbecue competitions in both local cook-offs and national competitions. He and his award-winning team decided to settle down and began offering locals their fare. The open-style kitchen at Q39 allows diners to enjoy the airy, rustic atmosphere while seeing their food cook. All food is proudly made from scratch.  The beef brisket is insane – best in Kansas City.  Try a Brisket Burger for lunch or bring your appetite and try one of their signature competition plates.   This place is the real deal.

1000 W 39th St.
Kansas City, MO
Phone: (816) 255-3753


#4 Slap’s BBQ

Slap’s, which stands for “squeal like a pig,” opened the restaurant several years ago with just a few hundred pounds of meat. After selling out within a few hours, the owners knew they had a successful venture on their hands. Slap’s is currently one of the few Kansans City restaurants that actively compete in the barbecue circuit. They offer daily specials, such as Burnt End Street Tacos, that brings a unique twist to traditional barbecue.

Slap’s BBQ
553 Central Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66101
Phone: (913) 213-3736


#5 Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que

Over 20 years ago, Jeff and Joy Stehney, opened the doors of Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que after years of winning competitions in the barbecue circuit. What originally began as a small restaurant in a gas station has now grown into three full-service restaurants. Joe’s is famous for its sweet-hot competition barbecue. Try the Rocket Pig sandwich for a spicy, smoky lunch or the Z-Man Sandwich for a class brisket option.

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
11723 Roe Ave
Leawood, KS 66211
Phone: (913) 338-5151


#6 Johnny’s BBQ

Johnny’s Hickory House Barbecue has been serving the locals in Kansas City since 1977. They offer tender ribs, smoked brisket, sausage and pulled pork. The restaurant was featured on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” which brought attention to the popular restaurant. The Barbecue Pork Ribs special is a popular menu item, which features the restaurant’s famous ribs, french fries and bread, or try the Homemade Chili with Johnny’s signature spice blend.

Johnny’s BBQ
5959 Broadmoor Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66202
Phone: (913) 432-0777


#7 Char Bar

Char Bar is a restaurant that prides itself on offering both award-winning smoked meats, gluten-free meals and a variety of vegan options, which allows locals of all tastes a place to come together. Using a mixture of different cooking methods, which include charring, grilling and smoking, Char Bar offers something for everyone. Try the Sweet Caroline, which is a pulled Charleston-style chicken sandwich or the signature Sunflower Salad for a vegan option.

Char Bar
4050 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: (816) 389-8600


#8 B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ

B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ pairs two great Kansas City traditions, Blues and Barbecue, for an atmosphere that is as fun as the food is delicious. B.B.’s offers slow-cooked meats, such as sausage, chicken, beef and pork, and signature Louisiana dishes, which include gumbo and jambalaya. The relaxed family-style seating makes it a great lunch or dinner option for the whole family. Try the Brisket Philly Sandwich for a Kansas City take on a classic Philadelphia sandwich.

B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ
1205 E. 85th Street
Kansas City, Mo. 64131
Phone: (816) 822-7427


#9 Smoking Guns BBQ

After years of winning barbecue competitions, owners Phil and Linda Hopkins decided to sell their award-winning rubs. Demand was high and that demand soon turned into the Smoking Guns restaurant. The smoky meats, which include traditional pork and beef along with turkey and fish, are tender and filled with flavor. Pair your meal with the award-winning creamy, cheesy potato casserole, which won the award of “Best Side Dish” by the Kansas City Star.

Smoking Guns BBQ
1218 Swift Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64116
Phone: (816) 221-2535


#10 Gates Bar-B-Q

For over 70 years, Gates Bar-B-Q has been providing locals with their signature smoked and grilled meats and homemade barbecue sauce. With a simple menu that focuses on barbecue basics, Gates has proven that more does not necessarily mean better. The restaurant has been visited by Present Bill Clinton and various other celebrities. Try the Mixed Plate in order to sample all that Gates offers and finish your meal with a slice of their popular Yammer Pie.

Gates Bar-B-Q
1325 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64110
Phone: (816) 531-7522


With so many barbecue options, it can be difficult to decide where to eat for dinner. Try any of these options that are popular with the locals in order to get your fill of classic Kansas City barbecue.



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