Kansas City-style barbecue

Kansas City-style barbecue

Kansas City barbecue refers to the specific inner city style of barbecue that evolved from the pit of Henry Perry in the early 1900s in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Metropolitan Area is renowned for barbecue. Kansas City, Missouri has more than 100 barbecue restaurants and is known in Missouri as "world's barbecue capital." There are large, well attended barbecue cooking contests, the two most notable being in Lenexa, Kansas and at the American Royal.

In 1977, Rich Davis began the efforts to nationally market a more suburban version of barbecue sauce called KC Masterpiece (which is now owned by a division of Clorox). Efforts by Arthur Bryant's and Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q to export Kansas City barbecue beyond the metro area have not been commercially successful, although the two do market their sauces to travelers at Kansas City International Airport. Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue has been shipping its barbecue nationwide since 2000, and also offer their sauces and fully cooked pork rib packages at the airport.

Henry Perry

Kansas City traces its barbecue history to Henry Perry, who operated out of a trolley barn at 19th and Highland in the legendary African-American neighborhood around 18th and Vine.

Perry served slow-cooked ribs on pages of newsprint for 25 cents a slab. Perry came from Shelby County, Tennessee near Memphis and began serving barbecue in 1908. The style of Kansas City and Memphis barbecue are very similar, although Kansas City tends to emphasize using as much sauce as possible. Perry's sauce had a somewhat harsh, peppery flavor.

Perry's restaurant became a major cultural point during the heyday of Kansas City Jazz during the "wide-open" days of Tom Pendergast in the 1920s and 1930s.

Arthur Bryant

Working for him was Charlie Bryant, who, in turn, brought his brother, Arthur Bryant, into the business. Charlie took over the Perry restaurant in 1940 after Perry died. Arthur then took over his brother's business in 1946, and the restaurant was renamed Arthur Bryant's. In the process he sweetened Perry's sauce with molasses "so that you could eat it on bread."

Arthur Bryant's, which eventually moved to 1727 Brooklyn in the same neighborhood, became a stopping ground for baseball fans and players in the 1950s and 1960s, because of its close proximity to Municipal Stadium, where the Athletics or A's played their home games during that period.

In 1974, Kansas City native Calvin Trillin wrote an article in "New Yorker Magazine" proclaiming Bryant's to be the best restaurant on the planet.Fact|date=December 2007

Despite new-found fame, Bryant did not change the restaurant's very simple decor, which consisted of fluorescent lighting, formica tables, and five-gallon jars of sauce displayed in the windows, even as Presidents Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan stopped by.

Bryant died of a heart attack, in a bed that he kept at the restaurant, shortly after Christmas of 1982. The restaurant is still open. The barbecue sauce has peppers, herbs, different spices combined to make a sweeter, yet still peppery sauce. The sauce and restaurant continue their success.

Gates & Sons

In 1946 Arthur Pinkard, who was a cook for Perry, joined with George Gates to form Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q. The restaurant was situated initially in the same neighborhood.

More molasses was added to the Gates barbecue sauce to make it sweeter. Gates also expanded its footprint in a more conventional way, with restaurants all displaying certain trademarks -- red-roofed buildings, a recognizable logo (a strutting man clad in tuxedo and top hat) and the customary "Hi, May I Help You?" greeting belted out by its employees as patrons enter.

Gates has opened restaurants throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. Gates also sells barbecue sandwiches at Kauffman Stadium during Kansas City Royals home games.

KC Masterpiece

In 1977, Rich Davis capitalized on the inner city reputation of Kansas City barbecue to form KC Masterpiece, which evolved from his "K.C. Soul Style Barbecue Sauce."

KC Masterpiece was sold to the Kingsford division of Clorox in 1986 and now claims to be the number one premium barbecue brand in the U.S. The KC Masterpiece brand tastes actually sweeter than the classic Bryant's and Gates sauces.

Davis has held KC Masterpiece barbecues on the White House lawn for George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

According to the History Channel, Mr. Davis bucked the trend of KC BBQ restaurants by developing his sauce first, then creating a restaurant. The History Channel states that the usual trend is to develop the restaurant first, then develop the sauce (as in Bryant's and Gates). The History Channel also states that KC is the crossroads of the BBQ community (due to the early influence of railroads), and also states that the sauce of the restaurant is the most important feature of KC BBQ.

When Davis sold the rights to his sauce to Clorox, he announced plans to build a franchise of barbecue restaurants. Although new restaurants were indeed built in major metropolitan centers across the country, all except for the original restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas have since closed.

Other Famous Kansas City BBQ

Other famous and popular Kansas City BBQ restaurants include the following:
*"'Big T's BBQ
*Brother Isaac's BBQ [http://www.brotherisaacbbq.com website]
*BB's Lawnside Bar-B-Q (known for indoor and outdoor dining and live blues)
*Danny Edwards Famous Kansas City Barbecue (formerly located next to the Sprint Center)
*Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue
*Hayward's Pit
*L.C.'s Barbecue (close to the Truman Sports Complex)
*Oklahoma Joe's BBQ (known for its original location inside of a gas station)
*Rosedale BBQ
*Woodyard BBQ
*Smoke Stack Bar-B-Que
*Wyandot BBQ
*Zarda Bar-B-Q
*Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
* [http://www.gasbbq.net/ website featuring reviews of 100 area barbecue restaurants]

Kansas City Barbeque Society

The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS), with over 10,000 members worldwide, is the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts. KCBS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to "promoting barbecue as America's cuisine and having fun while doing so."

KCBS sanctions nearly 300 barbecue contests across the U.S. each year and offers assistance to civic and charitable organizations with producing these events. The KCBS has developed a set of rules and regulations that govern all official KCBS competitions.

KCBS offers educational programs, consultation services and civic organization presentations to help spread the gospel of barbecue. The mission of the Kansas City Barbeque Society is to celebrate, teach, preserve and promote barbecue as a culinary technique, sport and art form. [http://www.kcbs.us website]

ee also

*Burnt ends
*St. Louis-style barbecue

External links

* [http://www.experiencekc.com/barbeque.html Experience KC history of barbecue]
* [http://www.kclibrary.org/localhistory/media.cfm?mediaID=216143 KC Library History of Gates]
* [http://www.kclibrary.org/localhistory/list.cfm?list=sub&SubjectareaID=19419 Kansas City Library Barbecue history resources]
* [http://www.kcbs.us/ Kansas City Barbeque Society]
* [http://www.rbjb.com/rbjb/bbq.htm Kansas City BBQ Capital of the World]
* [http://www.kansascitybarbecue.com/ KansasCityBarbecue.com is Your Internet Guide To The Finest Barbecue on The Planet]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kansas City, Missouri — For other cities with a similar name, see Kansas City (disambiguation). Kansas City   City   From top left: the Liberty Me …   Wikipedia

  • Kansas City — 1. a city in W Missouri, at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. 448,159. 2. a city in NE Kansas, adjacent to Kansas City, Mo. 161,087. * * * City (pop., 2000: 441,545), western Missouri, U.S., on the Missouri River. The city is… …   Universalium

  • Kansas City Museum — R. A. Long House U.S. National Register of Historic Places …   Wikipedia

  • St. Louis-style barbecue — is a term used to describe several similar styles of cooking pork products. These foods are popular in the area around the United States city of St. Louis, Missouri; one need only visit the barbecue sauce section of a supermarket to comprehend… …   Wikipedia

  • History of Kansas City — The History of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area dates back to the 1800s. The Kansas City Metropolitan Area, straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, was a good place to build several… …   Wikipedia

  • Downtown Kansas City — A portion of the downtown Kansas City skyline Country United States State Missouri Counties …   Wikipedia

  • CBD-Downtown, Kansas City — Infobox neighborhood official name = Downtown Kansas City nickname = image caption = A portion of the downtown Kansas City skyline image map caption = Location in Kansas City subdivision type = Country subdivision name = United States subdivision …   Wikipedia

  • Garment District (Kansas City, Missouri) — Infobox neighborhood official name = Kansas City Garment District nickname = motto = imagesize = image caption = image image shield = mapsize = map caption = subdivision type = Country subdivision name = United States subdivision type1 = State… …   Wikipedia

  • University of Missouri–Kansas City — University of Missouri–Kansas City Established 1933[1] Type Public research …   Wikipedia

  • Municipal Auditorium (Kansas City) — Municipal Auditorium Location 301 West 13th Street, Kansas City, Missouri Coordinates …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”