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Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue

May 27th, 2007

Earlier last week I made a bit of a road trip to see a few Morrissey shows, one of those shows was in Kansas City. I have a few very good friends in that town, and every time I go there can be assured of at least two things – that I’ll be in impeccable company, and that I will eat very well.

This last trip was no exception. I’ve known my pal Kevin since 1991 – we met at Mizzou, and have been friends since. Kev is from KC and I can always count on him to expose me to a local eatery that leaves me wondering: “Could this get any better?” Kansas City is the absolute and utterly undisputed epicenter of the barbecue universe – many places try to emulate it, but fail miserably. I was in a bbq place in Florida that had just recently opened a few years ago, and the owner was walking around asking people how they liked everything. He was pretty confident in his product, and asked me if I’d had better – I told him I’ve been to Kansas City, and he said “well, that’s a completely different deal – they invented barbecue.”

Kev asked me if I’d ever been to Arthur Bryant’s, a bbq establishment in Kansas City that’s been clogging peoples arteries since the 1920’s, and I said no. He went on to explain that the line outside this establishment goes out the door and around the building, especially when the Cardinals are in town for inter-league play. On the way to AB, Kev was painting a beautiful picture of what we were about to consume: “My favorite is the pork and beef combo sandwich. It’s an insane amount of meat – enough for two or three meals, served between two little pieces of bread. The bread doesn’t stand a chance.” He then went on to extol the virtues of Arthur Bryant’s original sauce: “The original sauce in my opinion is a very acquired taste – Scott (another very good pal from KC with an unexplainable and insatiable ketchup fetish) doesn’t like it as it’s not similar enough to ketchup. The sauce is difficult to explain – it’s not spicy, and not sweet either.”

Kev went out on a bit of a limb taking me to Arthur Bryant’s – he’s taken me to other KC barbecue places in the past, and he always tells me that the place we’re going is good – but this time, he said this was his favorite KC barbecue joint. That doesn’t sound like a very big deal, but it places an incredible amount of pressure on Kevin – if the establishment isn’t up to snuff, it will reflect personally on him.

We finally get there – two fat guys getting out of a MINI was a quite funny sight indeed, and we walked in. The smell was absolutely perfect – smoked meat and sauce. The entry was lined with photos of famous people who’ve gone in to clog their arteries – from celebrities to presidents. Kev ordered his usual, I got a rack of ribs and a pound of smoked beef. We sit down at the table and Kev looks a little nervous. As he explains the different sauces (original, rich & spicy, sweet heat) he again warns me that the original sauce is an acquired taste, and very tepidly watches me as I take the first bite of smoked beef doused in the original sauce. With one bite, I tell Kev that the taste has been acquired. Kev makes a big exhale, and all is well. It was the best bbq combo I’d ever had – the sauce tailed off wonderfully, like a good wine. The beef was just about perfect, with lots of smoke flavor. According to AB’s website, they use a combination of Hickory and Oak, and the brick smoker is in full view of patrons which is a nice touch. If you’re ever in KC I’d highly recommend it, I give the place 5 stars.

It was a great night – consuming large quantities of smoked meat with my pal Kevin, and a Morrissey show. With all that food sitting in my stomach the all night drive back to Chicago after the Moz show was a bit difficult, but at least I wasn’t hungry. I’ll hopefully be exposing Kev to some Chicago pizza in much the same way this summer to pay him back for the KC bbq experience.

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  1. Brendan
    May 29th, 2007 at 21:08 | #1

    I’m again hating myself for not going to a Moz show with you.  I’m watching my “Who Put the M in Manchester” concert DVD and absolutely hating myself for sitting my ass in Columbia that night.  Ugh.  I’ll be sure to pack it for the July trip. 

    I’ll be at Wrigley saturday btw.  My annual trip with the Kanne’s where we fly up in the morning, catch a game, and fly back.  We’ll probably be in Wrigleyville drinking around 11.  Our flight leaves at 7 PM.  Give me a buzz if you wanna join us.  Last year we drank in every bar between the red line and Wrigley

  2. May 30th, 2007 at 08:24 | #2

    You definitely should have come to KC. The chick called Julia to whom Moz gives the mike was there again – she’s at every Morrissey show. And she’s always in the front row, at every show, without fail. I don’t see how someone can attend every show, but she does it. After giving the mike to Julia he gave it to this other guy who was there from England and Moz asked him if he was having a good time, and also asked him when he was to fly home. The guy said “I fly away tomorrow, but I’ll be back in two weeks.” Moz said to everyone: “See, it really is an addiction.”

    As for Wrigley, I was just there last night. We were down by 4 with the bases loaded and 1 out in the bottom of the 9th, and Cliff Floyd and D. Lee strike out and the game is over. The Cubs do just enough to make you think that something might happen, then they crap all over any hope. It’s also an addiction though, as I’ll be there again tonight.

    I’ll check the schedule for Saturday to see if anything is going on. That’s a noon game, so you will have to drink fast. I’ll of course be there for you if you guys can’t find your way to the airport.

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