Mitchell Schwartz’s Top 10 Best BBQ Restaurants in Kansas City
In our exclusive interview, former Chiefs OT reveals his top 10 Kansas City best BBQ spots for 2023 NFL Draft visitors.
Harp Barbecue. Probably still has the single best bite of burnt ends I have ever had in my life.”
Any good BBQ spots for anyone visiting Kansas City for the first time for the 2023 NFL draft?
Mitchell Schwartz: Oh, that's a loaded question. You know, it's “which one of your kids is your favorite?” I would say there's- you're pretty much not going to have bad barbecue, right? To exist as a barbecue restaurant in Kansas City with how saturated it is with all the barbecue joints? Like, you have to be really good to even be crazy enough to open something up and to stay in a business for that long.
Well, tell us some out-of-this-world places.
In no particular order because is Kansas, here are Mitch's top choices.
Top 10 Best BBQ Restaurants in Kansas City, MO to eat and watch the 2023 NFL Draft
Mitchell Schwartz: “There's all sorts of places where you can go and you can have as good a barbecue as you've ever had. It doesn't have to necessarily be something everyone's heard of. You know, Harps BBQ. Probably still has the single best bite of burnt ends I have ever had in my life.”
Based in Raytown just southeast of downtown KC, Harp Barbecue was voted best BBQ spot in Kansas City by KC Mag. They’ve been all across the US discovering the best barbecuing techniques and according to Mitchell Schwartz, the best burnt ends in all of Kansas City (and therefore the world).
Jack Stack Barbecue
Founded all the way back in 1957, Jack Stack BBQ started as a modest wood-fired operation serving a modest selection of five to six items. Today, the iconic KC staple stands as the largest wood-fired cookery in the US, with six Kansas City area restaurants and even nationwide shipping.
Started in 2014 by competition chef Rob Magee, Q39 pursues the perfection of barbeque with their classically trained chefs manning the pit. Despite being a newcomer on the KC scene, Q39 quickly became a prominent fixture of the most legendary BBQ scene in the nation.
Mitchell Schwartz‘s secret gemm: “There's place right by the airport for anyone who's flying into town or flying out called Scott's kitchen. And he purposely didn't name it barbecue because he kind of wanted to separate himself a little bit, but he is a barbecue guy.
There's all the good burnt ends, brisket, sausage, all that good stuff. But he's also doing a lot of other things on the menu so if you're leaving early Sunday morning and you're trying to get out of there Saturday before the third day of the draft, I think he's open at like five or six am. He's got a burning breakfast burrito that will knock your socks off. He's got breakfast tacos. So Scott's kitchen is a really good one.”
Joe’s Kansas City BBQ
The famous gas-station BBQ joint is an historic establishment southwest of central KC. Joe’s was founded by the highly lauded Slaughterhouse Five BBQ team of Jeff and Joy Stenhey. At the behest of Oklahoma Joe’s Smoker Copany founder Joe Don Davidson, Jeff, Joy, and Joe started “Joe’s Kansas City Barbeque” out of a local gas station. With just 3 locations, Joe’s remains one of the realest, most authentic competition-quality BBQ joints in the nation.
Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque
One of the most renowned BBQ restaurants in the world, Arthur Bryant’s has attraced some big name publicity, from former presidents to a cameo on Ted Lasso. Once called “the single best restaurant in the world by New-Yorker Author Calvin Trillin, the so-called “King of Ribs” has people the world over craving their signature sauce.
A Kansas City original since 1946, Gates Bar-B-Q is a family-owned joint that’s now up to 6 locations throughout KC. Gates is truly a Kansas City Icon as one of the longest running BBQ stops in the area. And with shoutouts on Sir-Mix-a-Lot's 1992 album Mack Daddy as well as numerous times throughout rapper Tech N9ne’s discography, it’s no wonder the legendary BBQ joint has been lauded by KC’s finest for decades.
Char bar is one of the more unique BBQ joints on Mitchell’s list. Not only does the bar boast award-winning sauces and an array of offerings, Char Bar features and outdoor “adult playground” in their beer garden with a huge patio bar, a fire pit, cornhole, ping pong, and more. Shout out the Charbarians out in Westport.
Speaking of the Char Bar, the man behind it all, famed-pitmaster Mitch Benjamin, also recently opened one of the most highly anticipated restaurants of 2021: the aptly named, Meat Mitch BBQ. Featuring Mitch’s award winning sauces and rubs, Meat Mitch is based in Leawood but can be found in BBQ competitions across the world.
Blind Box BBQ
A modern take on the classic KC barbecue, Blind Box BBQ is an old school cool with a new school attitude. With a custom wood-burning smoker and crafted bourbon cocktails, Blind Box is a fresh new look at a KC tradition.
Mitchell Schwartz: “That's the fun part about living here. You can go to all these places you can mix it up, you can find like, well, I like this place’s burned hands, but I like their wings, but I like their ribs and you're able to stay nice and healthy in the midsection as a good Kansas City-an should.”
SPOILER ALERT: Have you heard about the Schwartz smashburger combo? Mitchell revealed us his next food truck menu ideas. Wanny try?
Related: WATCH - In our exclusive interview, Chiefs and Browns legend Mitchell Schwartz discusses the 2023 NFL Draft top QB prospects, offensive lineman, late-round sleepers, and being drafted to Cleveland.
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