Kansas City is renowned for its delicious barbecue, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. From the iconic Arthur Bryant's to the modern Q39, there's something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a classic experience or something more modern, these are the best barbecue restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri. Arthur Bryant's is one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in Kansas City.
With over 80 years of operation, it has welcomed celebrities such as President Harry Truman, Steven Spielberg, Wilt Chamberlain and President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalind. Customers place their orders at the counter in a no-frills environment. The menu features classic barbecue dishes such as burnt ends, pulled pork sandwiches, whole pieces and beef brisket. Be sure to try a side dish such as baked beans, coleslaw or potato salad.
The hot sauce with plenty of vinegar is the hallmark of this legendary place (although there are now three sauces available). Joe's Kansas City is another popular spot. It's known for its epic sandwich called Z-Man, filled with slow-smoked veal breast and smoked provolone cheese, and topped with two crispy onion rings on a toasted Kaiser roll (a vegetarian version uses smoked Portobello mushrooms). Pair it with a cold Boulevard Pale Ale.
Long lines are common at this cafeteria-type restaurant (especially on Saturday nights). Slap's BBQ is perfect for briskets and sausages. To accompany, choose a casserole of baked potatoes and a delicious corn and cheese with pickled jalapeños and two slices of white bread. Don't forget to visit the Country Club Plaza while you're in town.
Q39 has gained an incredibly loyal following in just a few short years. Visit the iconic Emmanuel Cleaver Boulevard venue to immerse yourself in the history of barbecue and of Gates in the community. Add beer and live blues music to enjoy a unique barbecue destination in Kansas City that has even received love from the Food Network. Woodyard's ribs were chosen as the best in Kansas City by the local alternative weekly The Pitch, and Food & Wine rated his chili as one of the best in the United States.
The original location in Midtown is always busy, so make a reservation or plan the wait; it's a little easier to get a table at the second branch in Overland Park, Kansas. Under that wide umbrella, the barbecue restaurants on this list range from floor-to-ceiling windows with a handful of picnic tables to full-service restaurants with cocktails and cloth napkins. This place in the industrial district of Kansas City offers a simple setting with red checkered tablecloths and drinks to serve yourself, an exceptionally friendly staff and an owner who cuts the meat personally. Excellent service and hearty portions are complemented by great blues music to create a true Kansas City reference point for food and entertainment. No matter what type of barbecue experience you're looking for, you'll find it in Kansas City.
From classic spots like Arthur Bryant's to modern restaurants like Q39, there's something for everyone. So come hungry and get ready to enjoy some of the best barbecue in Missouri.