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. 

That left only the potato casserole and the ribs left.  Since I still had my fork in my hand, the potato casserole seemed like the logical choice.  After one bite, I could tell why it was one of the most popular sides.  I had expected it to be cheesy, and was actually surprised when it wasn’t.  But that didn’t mean it wasn’t fantastic.  The potatoes were so perfectly cooked and seasoned with butter and other spices, and prepared almost like a twice baked potato (I’m guessing sauteed then baked) that I took three bites before I even thought to take a breath.  Now on to the ribs.  Ribs are absolutely one of my favorite foods.  Everything from baby back to pork shoulder.  And here in front of me were 3 pork ribs.  I set the fork down, rubbed my hands together, and grabbed the first one.  Biting in, the flavor just exploded in my mouth (again, no sauce, just the dry rub and smoking).  The meet was incredibly tender and flavorful.  The rub had a little bit of a kick to it, but it wasn’t overly spicy.  I now added some sauce to the pork and brisket (not the ribs) to finish my meal.  The sauce was very good, what I think was a traditional Kansas City style sauce, a little more sweet than savory, and not a whole lot of spice in it.  It was a very good sauce, and a perfect accompaniement to the very flavorful pork. 
It took about 15 minutes for me to fully savor and finish my meal.  At the end, I was definitely stuffed, but if another plate of ribs had arrived, I would have definitely finished them.  The ribs were quite possibly the best ribs that I’ve ever had, and will be the rib by which all others are measured at this point (even without the sauce!).  The atmosphere was very pleasant, and the employees very amiable.  We found out that because of their location they actually get most of their business during the lunch time.  The only possible negative was the brisket (I was hoping for a little more), and the two pieces of white bread that were on my tray that really seemed out of place.  Overall, it was an excellent barbeque place, and I can see why they have won the awards that they have.  It was exactly what I was hoping for on my trip to KC.  And, if my write up isn’t enough to convince you, check them out on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.  They filmed not two weeks ago for an episode schedule to air on the Food Network in July.
Smokin Guns BBQ on UrbanspoonFinal Verdict – 4.25 Stars
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2 Responses to “Deck on Smokin’ Guns Barbeque – Kansas City Food Review”

  1. [...] but the flavor was there.  And the rib was very good.  Not as good as the ribs that I had at Smokin’ Guns in Kansas City, but probably number 2 all time.  And in the end, I will go back and just order ribs (probably try [...]

  2. [...] good rib.  A lot of good flavor and well cooked.  But, the ribs weren’t as good as the ones that I had in Kansas City, and they were about the same as the ones I can get in Seattle at Gabriel’s Fire.  I was [...]

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