FINALLY! BBQ that Hurts so Good

Folks don’t often associate Jews with BBQ; but I’m from the South–I defy a lot of stereotypes. My family has fried chicken on Rosh Hashannah (a very holy day), and my Dad did competition BBQ for years. He has at least three grills–that we know about.

Green Eggs…No Ham

I grew up standing next to the big green egg, holding pans for Dad, adding flavor-soaked wood chips, getting out of the smoke’s way. He makes BBQ brisket, BBQ salami, BBQ salmon. I need to stop: my mouth is watering.

The United States of BBQ

Given this familial heritage, one of the goals of exploring the U.S. has always been to taste as much BBQ as possible. And it’s been a massive disappointment.

Thank You, Kansas City

Unassuming Arthur Bryant’s BBQ in Kansas City MO hit the spot.

You have the choice of three sauces found in squirt bottles at each table:

  • original (painfully hot)
  • sweet heat (my favorite, and also my stripper name if I ever become one)
  • rich and spicy (less painful, but to say it wasn’t painful would be misleading; also, qualities I look for in a man)

My mouth was on fire. In a good way.
I don’t really drink beer. I had two.

Arthur Bryant's BBQ

As if the heat weren’t enough, there are no wimpy napkins, people. No, we’re using paper towels. The folded rectangular kind in scary gas station bathrooms. They’re roughing you up inside and out and you’ll love every minute of it.

It was a packed room with locals and tourists, business suits and work boots, men with hair down to their bums and women with diamonds–and everyone was sloppy with BBQ sauce. You walk up to the assembly-line/counter and order from one of two intimidating men who have seen it all. Slide down and pay a woman who could care less. Only the two men getting the drinks were receptive to “please” and “thank you.”

What Did I Have?

Sliced white meat turkey on thick pieces of white bread with fresh-cut fries. Two pale ales. And loads and loads of sweet heat sauce.

It took all the control I had not to go to the counter and tell them this was the BBQ experience I’ve been dreaming of.

***

Are you comfortable eating at hole-in-the-wall joints?

16 Responses

10.12.12

Your words and the picture they painted make me want to go to this place right now. I mean it. Talk about compelling. I was sitting here by myself and I laughed … and I drooled. And I read this post again.

This is New York Times level reporting. Thanks Paula.

Nancy – thanks! For the compliment and for drooling.

10.12.12

LOVE it. Now, add Texas BBQ to your culinary adventure when you arrive in the Big State. THEN compare.

Mandi – any suggestions?

10.12.12

Paula – Perhaps you have already been here, but if not and you are down Memphis way stop in at The Rendezvous. It is a famous BBQ joint in a back alley across from the Peabody Hotel. You can have lunch there after you watch the Peabody ducks march from their own elevator to the lobby fountain!

Patty

Patty – thanks for the tip!

10.12.12

In our travels, George and I seek out BBQ EVERYWHERE!! Lots of places have been very disappointing, but when you hit a great one, it’s HEAVEN!
We’ll keep this one in mind, and thanks for the lead…..

Grammy (AKA Margie?) – which goods ones have you found. I’ll add them to my list.

10.12.12

Sounds yummy!

I can’t deal with “hot”. I’m holding out for your Dad’s barbecue!
Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..Tenerife, the Canary Islands – More Sol Than the Costa del SolMy Profile

Dear Sweet Heat ~ Love the latest post on BBQ ~ we are a food eating nation and BBQ definitely ranks up there with political and economic knowledge…does it not? This is serious journalism at its best!

Stay safe & enjoy the adventure…every last morsel and crumb!

Penny & Trez
Gainesville, GA

Oh this made me laugh!

10.12.12

Paula – thanks to your blog – I actually want to visit these states

Jef – think Thailand will recover?

[…] This is an entirely different dining experience than Arthur Bryant’s BBQ. AB in KC was messy and delectably painful. City Market was mellow and mighty. The smoke flavor of the meat was a treat all its own. The edges are crisp and yummy. The brisket cuts easily with plastic “silverware”–really, it almost cuts if you look at it long enough.  Paula Londe’s Review […]

[…] This is an entirely different dining experience than Arthur Bryant’s BBQ. AB in KC was messy and delectably painful. City Market was mellow and mighty. The smoke flavor of the meat was a treat all its own. The edges are crisp and yummy. The brisket cuts easily with plastic “silverware”–really, it almost cuts if you look at it long enough.  Paula Londe’s Review […]

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