Get Your Fingers Dirty at the Six Best Barbecue Joints in Kansas City

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Kansas City is renowned for having some of the best barbecue in the United States. They are known for slow smoking a wide variety of meats from the classic pork, beef, and chicken, to lamb, sausage, turkey, and fish! Rubbed with spices, smoked over a number of different woods, and smothered in delicious sauces, both barbecue sauce and hot sauce, these are some of the best meats in the states! While the barbecue is the star of the show -- we can’t forget the sides. Baked beans, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and french fries are all must haves that make the perfect accompaniments to a barbecue dinner. We have selected six of the best restaurants in the Kansas City area, but you need to be the judge to decide which barbecue is the best of the best! 

While you’re on your barbecue tour, you’ll need a way to pay for these hearty meals! GiftYa is an electronic gift card company that can make your experience a breeze. Each of the restaurants on our list can be selected for a GiftYa, so that way you have your money ready to go when you get there. Simply pay with your GiftYa and be on your way! However, they can be purchased for more than just restaurants -- retailers, hotels, recreation, automotive, pet, personal services, and more. They are also available to over 1.5 million locations across the United States. These make great gifts, especially for those living in a different state from yours. 

1. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que 

The best gas station BBQ you’ll ever have 

What’s better than a homemade barbecue sauce to smother your onion rings and sandwiches!

3002 W 47th Ave | Kansas City |

At Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, a local neighborhood gas station became one of the most popular restaurants in the city. This place grew in popularity so much, they were able to expand the company to the three restaurants they have today! However, bigger isn’t always better in their opinion, they are content with three restaurants and think it’s better to be the best. Their limited number of restaurants helps ensure their quality standards never waver.

On their menu, you will find a number of barbecue classics from everyone's favorite BBQ sandwiches to ribs, specialty sandwiches, and their own z-man sandwich -- slow smoked beef brisket, smoked provolone cheese, topped with onion rings on a kaiser roll. This doesn’t include every side you could imagine to accompany your barbecue dinner!

“We tried all three versions:  brisket, pulled pork and chicken.  All were very good, great sauces, onion rings, buns.  We loved them.  My wife preferred the chicken and wished she could have had more of it but my son dominated.” - Yelp review 

Purchase a GiftYa for Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que

2. Q39 - Midtown

Hipster joint serving wood-fired BBQ and other meats

Saucy meats make the best dinner when paired with perfect sides!

1000 W 39th St | Kansas City |

This barbecue comes to you via an oak-fired grill and a hickory-fired smoker -- guaranteed to make some of the best steaks, burgers, and seafood around! With two locations to choose from, you can get your fix wherever you find yourself when the barbecue cravings set in. 

Their menu includes starters and shareables like brisket poutine, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and spiced onion straws. They also offer burgers, salads, steak, fish, BBQ dinner plates, specialty sandwiches, and all of our favorite sides -- french fries, baked beans, pasta salad, mac and cheese, and more. You won’t be leaving this place hungry!

“Kansas City is well known for their BBQ and Q39 is one of the popular BBQ places when people talk about their favorite. I've loved Q39 from the first time I ate here and it still is my favorite BBQ place.” - Yelp Review 

Purchase a GiftYa for Q39

3. Jack Stack Barbecue 

Local Kansas City barbecue chain serving steak, seafood, and other favorites 

You won’t be disappointed or hungry after a trip to Jack Stack Barbecue. 

101 W 22nd St #300 | Kansas City |

Jack Stack Barbecue has been a Kansas City tradition since 1957. They started with a simple menu of five or six items and set out to make history using hickory wood. They started cooking all kinds of meat and seafood over hickory wood and made their menu one of the most extensive ever seen in the barbecue industry. Today, they have five Kansas City restaurants and a catering business, along with trusted pitmasters to continue the long standing tradition. 

The menu offers a selection of starters and soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and dinner for the whole family. This doesn’t include the list of sides and dessert options. You can also select from a la carte meats if you’re looking to buy now and feast later! Sides include more than you could ever want -- spicy jalapeno cornbread, mac and cheese, hickory pit beans, potato salad, loaded baked potatoes, broccoli, french fries, and slaw! 

“Cheesy corn, and pulled pork are a must in my opinion, but everything else was absolutely delicious. I don't think you can go wrong with anything here. They also have two types of hot sauces.”- Yelp Review 

Purchase a GiftYa for Jack Stack Barbecue 

4. Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque 

Self-service BBQ serving smoky meats and original sauces 

After trying a smoked sandwich and crispy onion rings, be sure to take home a bottle of Arthur Bryant’s homemade barbecue sauce!

1727 Brooklyn Ave | Kansas City |

Arthur Bryant is the renowned king of ribs in Kansas City! When Arthur took over ownership of the restaurant, he moved it to the location where it stands today. This generated business, and helped build a solid fan base, and it would soon become recognized all over the country by food experts waiting to get a taste of this delicious barbecue. 

The menu at this location is modest, but comes packed with flavor and years of tradition. Using original sauces and rubs, this place has kept a steady fan base -- they will not let you down. The menu includes BBQ sandwiches, ribs and other specialty items, sides like fries and slaw, meat by the pound, and a kids option. This simple establishment will not disappoint. 

“Arthur Bryant's is the best sandwich shop in the country. It's one of the few restaurants - like Katz's Deli and John's Roast Pork - that manages to transcend its hype. Worth the plane ticket to KC just to eat here.” - Yelp Review 

Purchase a GiftYa for Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque

5. Slap’s BBQ 

Counter service joint serving barbecue favorites like brisket and wings

What slaps better than Slap’s BBQ? All of our favorite comfort food classics come together on one plate for the best meal we’ve had all week. 

553 Central Ave | Kansas City |

Taco Tuesday, wing Wednesday, spicy fried chicken Thursday, at Slap’s there’s a little something for everyone. Slap’s got their start in 2014 with only a few hundred pounds of meat. After quickly selling out within a few hours, they realized Slap’s would be a major success. They began adding more meat to their daily production menu and slowly reached the capacity they cook at today. 

They offer sandwiches, meat plates, meat by the pound, sides and premium sides. Now you may be asking what the difference between the sides is -- and we’ve got you covered. Regular sides include your classic baked beans and mac and cheese while premium sides include cheese curds, onion rings, fried pickles, and sweet potato fries. Rest assured, you can find the perfect side to pair with your barbecue dinner!

“Hands-down favorite Kansas City barbecue joint. The jalapeno sausage and smoked turkey are my go-to's, with great versions of classics like their burnt ends and incredible side dishes (cheesy corn and potato casserole).” - Yelp Review 

Purchase a GiftYa for Slap’s BBQ

6. B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ 

Casual BBQ joint serving food on picnic tables with live blues music 

Stop in and enjoy barbecue outside during a beautiful day filled with live music and good vibes. 

1205 E 85th St | Kansas City |

Lawnside BBQ does exactly what the namesake suggests -- make barbecue right on their lawn! The tradition started back in the 1930’s and has steadily made its way into 2021. All of the meats cooked today are made in the 60-year-old pit they were made in when they first opened. Meats are smoked daily and served to guests in a family style seating and serving method. 

The menu includes appetizers like BBQ nachos, chili cheese dip and chips, beer battered shrimp, onion rings, a chicken basket, and more. Sandwiches and dinners follow along with ribs, combination dinners, Louisiana favorites, and of course -- sides. If you’re looking to get your hands on some jambalaya or Smokey Jo’s Gumbo right in Kansas City -- you’re in luck!

“My first visit...and it won't be my last! I've been traveling to Kansas City at least once a year for the past 28 years and I've tried a lot of different BBQ restaurants!  B.B.'s was outstanding!” -   

Yelp Review 

Purchase a GiftYa for B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ

These barbecue joints are the best of the best and they’ve got the reviews to prove it! You’ll need to try them all to decide which one is king! After your barbecue journey is over, be sure to tell the world which one reigns supreme. 


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