This past weekend we ate at one of our favorite BBQ places in the city, Oklahoma Joe’s. You may know this place for being the BBQ joint in a gas station with the packed parking lot and almost always has a line out the door.
The people standing in line aren’t crazy, they just know what awaits them at the end. If you have never stood in the line yourself you are truly missing out. Honestly I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone there to buy anything other than BBQ. We got there around 3pm on Saturday so luckily the line wasn’t out the door but it was darn close.
Aside from being an award winning BBQ joint, Oklahoma Joe’s was my grandfather’s favorite BBQ, and in the last couple years my parents and I have realized why. Oklahoma Joe’s isn’t a place to grab a quick pulled pork sandwich while you’re rushing through your lunch break nor is it a place to pick up a slab on the way home for dinner. It’s an experience all on it’s own.
Standing in line with a hundred others waiting for your turn to order you favorite, or if you’re like me you spend that whole time contemplating what you will order and always end up getting the same thing anyways. Then getting up to the window and always being amazed how the workers can take so many orders at once, and get them all right by just yelling it back and forth. Then trying to find a table in the small and crowded sitting area, or piling in with complete strangers who are all brought together by the tradition of Kansas City BBQ.
This visit I happened to notice that the star of one of my favorite shows had been here and left his mark. Anthony Bourdain famed cook, author food critic and star of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations” named Oklahoma Joe’s one of the “Top 13 place to eat before you die“, Oklahoma Joe’s made the cut with some of the top restaurants in world.
People may disagree on who has the best BBQ. Here, the brisket (particularly the burnt ends), pulled pork, and ribs are all of a quality that meet the high standards even of Kansas City natives. It’s the best BBQ in Kansas City, which makes it the best BBQ in the world.
Now let’s get to the food. My go to meal is the pulled pork “Carolina Style” (pulled pork with Bubbas sauce and spicy slaw on top) and a pint of spicy slaw.
While this visit I spent my wait in line trying to choose between in and the “Z Man” (Provolone melted on beef brisket with 2 onion rings on top on a Kaiser bun), I once again went with my usual.
My mom ordered beef “Carolina Style” and my dad went with the short end and a couple bags of fries for us to share. Needless to say we were all very full in the end.
I know there is lots of debate about where in Kansas City the best BBQ can be found, but as anyone will tell you it all depends on what type of BBQ you’re looking. There is a reason we are the BBQ capital of the world.
With that being said Oklahoma Joe’s is the hands down winner of the best pulled pork title. The meat is a perfect moist and smokey compliment to the sauce, and when you add the spicy slaw on top it just doesn’t get any better.
Now my dad swears ribs are the best, and Anthony Bourdain agrees with him. The ribs are a perfect blend of smokey flavor and moist pink insides, no sauce needed but if you choose to add it no worries because Oklahoma Joe’s sauce was named the “best sauce on the planet” a well deserved title.
So if you’re in Kansas City head on down to Okie Joe’s, but you better hurry the line may be around the block by now.