Friday, June 17, 2011

Kansas City 'Q Fest

Once again the baker blogger made his trek to Kansas City to be a reader for the AP Psych Exams. This is a big deal. Tons of readers for many of the AP tests -- psychology, biology, calculus and others converge in KC for one week of reading thousands of exams. The psych folks alone read some 400,000 essays. The backside pain and the mental exhaustion caused by reading and thoughtfully grading essays for 8 hours a day were ameliorated by access to world class 'q in KC.

We have been holding the annual KC BBQ Fest since 2009, when the trips to KC began. For this year's feast, I brought back ribs, burnt ends and pulled pork from Arthur Bryant, ribs from Big T's, and ribs and beef brisket from Oklahoma Joe's. Bryant's and OK Joe's are repeats from past years, but Big T's ribs are new this year. I sampled the Big T's rib plate this year and came away very impressed - meaty, juicy, tender as a KC jazzman's love song. T's ribs were the favorites of the BBQ Fest's guests.

The OK Joe brisket is wonderful - in KC. For the second year in a row, the brisket has failed to make the overnight trip from KC to Detroit. The counter guys at Joe's suggested that the hot brisket is only good for an hour or so, but that the cold brisket should make the trip successfully. We tried the cold brisket. It was better than last year - not dried out - but it still lost that ineffable essence of brisket that, in KC, you not so much taste as become one with. My reading partner tried the brisket, at OK Joe's combination rib shack and gas station. She's from North Carolina and seemed almost willing to forswear NC BBQ is she could eat Joe's brisket regularly.

I should mention that just down the street from Big T's is another well-known KC BBQ landmark - LC's. I wanted to get a sample plate from each of them to compare and consider for inclusion onto the BBQ Fest menu. I did not eat anything from LC's. I did not like the joint from the second I entered. There were only a couple people inside, and they didn't seem happy; the waitress was scowling; the place felt dirty. I studied the menu for a minute before I realized I didn't want their food. Lots of people love LC's; I am afraid of it.

This reader stopped at Arthur Bryant's, Big T's and Oklahoma Joe's for smokey, delectable q, maybe the best since he's done the epic take-out.

Accompanying the take-out, homemade baked beans (with good chunks of salt pork) and corn bread, a great Caesar salad from our neighbor Donna (time to and a citrus-y delicious cake from Allison across the street.

Hands down winner: Big T's ribs. Huge, meaty, great rub smoked in. And the BBQ sauce was saucy and hot, just needed a bit, because the ribs just rocked it.

Hands down winner #2: Arthur Bryant's burnt ends. Bryant's ribs were delicious, deeply smokey, and with a good chew. The pulled pork is stringy deliciousness, and we had to just put down the fork, to move to other 'q favorites.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Burnt ends rule!