There are not many things to be looking forward to when 4 days after you get married, you are on a 6 a.m. flight from Cedar Rapids to Kansas City. Especially when neither is your hometown. But, thanks to the new food blog, and my excitement around the opportunity to not only eat but write about great Kansas City BBQ, I wasn’t completely down on the opportunity. Oh, and there was a work presentation mixed in there that not only went really well, but gave me a chance expand out of my comfort zone and present on something completely new. But enough about work…on to the food!!!
After we finished our presentation, we wanted to try and find a barbeque place that was between where we were and the airport since one of the guys was flying out tonight. I was in the seconod car, and due to the fact that I had tragically lost my iPhone early in th etrip, I was at their mercy. So after many twists and turns, breaking a couple of rules of the road, and getting honked at once, we wound up in North Kansas City, and pulled up to a firehouse. I was a little confused until I noticed that next to the firehouse was a non-descript place with the name “Smokin’ Guns BBQ“. It seemed like exactly the type of place that I was looking for.
Walking in, I noticed two things. First, it was completely empty which I found a little odd. Second, the walls were covered with framed ribbons, and there was a stack of trophies by the front door. At first, I thought that these were the ribbons of local sports teams sponsored by the BBQ joint or something like that (we see that a lot where I’m from, though not so usually so many ribbons). That was until I noticed the sign that said “Grand Champion, 11th Annual Jack Daniels BBQ Championship, 1999″. Upon closer inspection I was shocked to notice that all of the ribbons were for BBQ awards over the past 15 years. Needless to say, I was now super excited to eat dinner.
I went up to the counter, and quickly scanned the menu. Not knowing what to do, I did what any sane person would do; I ordered the combo. That meant ribs, pork, brisket and two sides. I asked what the most popular sides were, and wound up getting a baked potato casserole and baked beans. Add to that a beer, and I was ready to go. When the food arrived, it wasn’t what I would call a HUGE portion, but it was definitely good sized. The other thing that I noticed, and which I was surprised by, was that there was no sauce on any of the meat. Rather it was on the table to be applied as each individual saw fit.
Looking down at my food, I wasn’t sure where to start. Everything looked delicious. I decided to pick up my fork, and start with the beans (simply because they were closest to the fork). It was a good choice. The baked beans were exactly what I was hoping for; perfectly cooked with a hint of brown sugar sweetness that wasn’t too overpowering. With the second bite, I caught a bit of bacon, and that was just perfect. Moving through the plate, I next came to the pulled pork. Before adding the BBQ sauce, I thought I would taste the meat to see how it was cooked. In a word, it was perfect. The pork was so juicy and so flavorful that I didn’t even think it needed the BBQ sauce (not that it stopped me, I’m just sayin…). From there it was on to the brisket which was good, but not great. It was a little drier and I didn’t see the smoke ring penetrating as far into the meat as I had hoped.