Kansas City Needs a BBQ Renaissance

Meat and sides from Chef J BBQ in Kansas CityThe American barbecue tradition rests on four pillars: Memphis, Kansas City, the Carolinas, and Texas. They’re the widely accepted capitals of the beloved cuisine, and rivalries among them are inevitable. We’ll let Memphis, North Carolina, and South Carolina duke it out for supremacy when it comes to pork—but when it comes to competing with Texas in beef barbecue, Kansas City isn’t holding up its end of the bargain.In 2021, I traveled across Texas to finalize our current top fifty barbecue list, and I also took four trips to Kansas City to assess the smoked-meat situation there. By my estimates, Texas is currently whipping Kansas City’s tail, and dragging it through the sauce. And if you think the state-versus-city comparison is unfair, let me clarify: every…

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