Know Your Barbecue Styles: Kansas City

Martin SmazenkoSauce IdeasLeave a Comment

Kansas City

Like any great food worth having, barbecue comes in a variety of delicious forms. Today we’d like to take a few moments to talk about Kansas City style BBQ. Kansas City BBQ not only showcases the sauce a bit more than the smoke as the key to its unique flavor, but also shows how burning your meat can lead to mouth-watering perfection.  Yes, we are talking about those pockets of concentrated awesome known as burnt ends, but before we talk about this special staple of Kansas City BBQ, let’s take a quick, but longing look at the goodness of Kansas City BBQ sauce.


A Blanket of Sauce

Whether sopped, painted, or poured; Kansas City style barbecue sauce plays as big a role, if not bigger, in flavoring Kansas City barbecue as the hickory or oak wood used for its smoking.  The typical ingredient list for a Kansas City BBQ sauce will include tomatoes (or even ketchup), vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and molasses to create that familiar sweet and spicy sauce that has a bit of a tang.  Thanks to the sauce’s versatility, you can expect not only to see it first and foremost on ribs, but on everything from chicken to beef and even lamb!  Also, expect to leave this dining experience with a sauce mustache as we were not kidding about the pouring part of Kansas City barbecue sauce.  They like to put it on thick!

Kansas City

 BBQ Burnt Ends

Now that we’ve keyed you into just what lies within Kansas City style sauce, it’s time to have a talk about the goodness of burning your meat, specifically, burnt ends.  “Just what are ‘burnt ends’,” you may ask.  Doesn’t burning something usually ruin it?  That might hold true with steak, but in the case of brisket and pork, it’s practically a delicacy!  Burnt ends come from the point cut of brisket and quite literally get taken from the ends of the beef.  So why would we consider a bit of charred beef a veritable “delicacy” of the barbecue world?  This staple of Kansas City barbecue houses a highly concentrated form of the smoke and sauce found on the rest of the meat, but in the “burning” the end of the meat you develop a succulent, crunchy “bark” of flavor not found in other parts of the meat.   After it has cooked long enough to render out the fat, the ends get chopped into cubes and doused with a generous helping of even more sauce.  Whether eaten on a sandwich or had as the main course with a side of grilled corn and baked beans, if you pass through even a small corner of Missouri, you need give this barbecue staple a try.


Thick, Burnt, and Awesome

Yes, they like the sauce on thick out there in Kansas City, but this does not mean they are trying to hide the meat’s flavor under a mountain of sauce.  It means that each portion of pork, every rack of rib, and every bit of burnt end gets smoked and bathed in several blankets of flavorful sauce leading to palate pleasing delight. Many people fail to realize that a multi-layered experience of delicious delight lies within properly done barbecue.  If you haven’t already given this style of barbecue a try, you are truly missing out on one of the great dishes America has to offer.

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