Don’t forget Ollie.

We’re fast approaching my favorite time of the year in Kansas City. The Chiefs, still with plenty of faults, are showing some promising glimpses. I’d say I bleed Red, but the significance would be lost seeing as everyone else literally bleeds red by biological default. Still, there’s a near-tangible rumble under the Kansas City streets just waiting for this season, though questionable, to unleash its potential. And, agree or not, the AFC West is in such a state of disarray that it’s anyone’s conference. Even the Raiders. Even the Chiefs.

Now, Brian just covered another one of my favorite things about living in Kansas City; the barbecue. You can quiet down, Texas and Tennessee. I’ve heard it, and I don’t care. You will never convince me that yours is anywhere near as delicious as ours. Oh, but ours has coleslaw on it. Don’t care. But our is blah blah blah, etc. Don’t care. I do care about one thing, however- Man Vs. Food, as brilliant and disturbing a concept as it is, left out three of the greatest barbecue landmarks has to offer. So I’m going to give them the attention they deserve.

First, Fiorella’s Jack Stack. Rising out of the ashes of a little family drama which resulted in the splitting of the Smokestack and Jack Stack franchises, this is Kansas City’s high end, proper fancy barbecue. The ribs are nothing short of perfection, the Poor Russ (shredded burnt ends) is one of the great sandwiches in the history of sandwiches, and the beans are indisputably the greatest beans in the world. And I’ve never met anyone, Texas natives included, who has tried them and said otherwise. Just look at the nearly 1:1 ratio of brisket to beans:

Amazing.

Next, a true national landmark, Arthur Bryants. Now you’ll get some disagreement among KC residents about the enduring quality of this, the most famous of our barbecue joints, due largely to the expansion of the once modest urban joint after the founder passed. But it’s still worth the trip. I mean, where else do you get a giant handful of brisket slathered with sauce by a paintbrush? And the fries only make it better.

And finally, in my opinion, the greatest barbecue ever created, and primarily for one reason. The smoked and sliced meat or burnt ends are at least as good as any great barbecue joint, but perhaps not clearly better. No, the thing that sets Gates and Sons apart from all other barbecue is the single best tasting barbecue sauce I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. And I’ve tried a lot of sauces. If I ever had to leave Kansas City, I think I’d miss you most of all, Ollie Gates.

If you ever make it to Gates, try a mixed plate or a combo and a half. And drown it in one of their famous sauces.

Well, now I’m hungry. I’m going to get myself a sandwich. Enjoy your week, everybody. Football action starts Thursday.

Written by Eric

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