Kansas City BBQ

Everything in this post is my personal opinion (of course).  Many may disagree with my conclusions here, but they’re wrong.

There are a few things I should formally state:

  1. I have not tried every BBQ joint in Kansas City.
  2. I have not had inedible BBQ in KC.
  3. National chains like Dave’s BBQ are not included.  They are not “KC BBQ”.  I do like Dave’s BBQ, though.  Especially the mustard-based sauce.

I tried two more Kansas City BBQ joints that I had not tried in the last week, Rosedale & Oklahoma Joe’s.  In this post, I am ranking them by sauce, meat, atmosphere, & overall.


I prefer a spicier, tangier sauce.  While I do enjoy the sweet sauces, I am evaluating the sauces on my personal preference.

  1. Gates Original & Oklahoma Joe’s Night of the Living BBQ Sauce (tie) – Nice heat to the sauces without overpowering the meat
  2. Arthur Bryant’s – tangy, but not near as good as the above two.
  3. Rosedale – OK, but unremarkable
  4. Smokehouse – Same as Rosedale’s, but barely edged out by them.


I evaluate these establishments based on tenderness & flavor of the meat.  Dry meat or meat that is need of seasoning drops their rating.

  1. Oklahoma Joe’s – Tender, moist, and very flavorful.
  2. Arthur Bryant’s – This was my top choice until I had Oklahoma Joe’s a few days ago.
  3. Gate’s – Sometimes dry. Better before the lunch rush.
  4. Smokehouse – Adequate.
  5. Rosedale – Totally devoid of seasoning.


Things that affect the atmosphere ranking include how busy the restaurant is, demeanor of the staff, cleanliness, etc.  Since each joint has their own “unique” characteristics, this is the most subjective of the categories.

  1. Smokehouse – I prefer the sit down style.  KC Masterpiece was always a nice dining experience before they closed.  Atmosphere doesn’t trump food quality, though.
  2. Oklahoma Joe’s – While I had to wait in a line that began outside, the wait was mitigated by perusing the different products available for purchase.  I didn’t buy anything other than food.
  3. Arthur Bryant’s – A well-maintained hole-in-the-wall.
  4. Gates – Stop F*@#ing yelling at me and then not remembering my order!
  5. Rosedale – Boring, but quick.


I have no idea of this is an exact ranking according to the rankings above.  It is simply the order of the 5 joints evaluated by my personal preference.

  1. Oklahoma Joe’s
  2. Arthur Bryant’s
  3. Gates
  4. Smokehouse
  5. Rosedale

Agree?  Disagree?  Did I leave a joint off you think I should try?

You’re not going to change my mind, but I would love to hear your opinions.

One Response to “Kansas City BBQ”

  • I’m in pretty close agreement with you on this list…. Personally I’d edge out OKjoe’s for Arthur Bryants, but other then that, you nailed it.
    You should definitely try LC’s BBQ in Raytown/Kansas City… It is amazing!

    I have 3 rules for good BBQ in Kansas City:
    1. There must be bars on the windows
    2. The floor must be covered in a fine layer of grease
    3. The owner must weigh > 275lbs, cause how can you trust a BBQ join owner who won’t die by the hand of the food he loves.

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