Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oklahoma Joe's (8/10) - 3002 W 47th Ave Kansas City, KS 66103

Friday - Day 1: The goal was to explore 5 restaurants in our first afternoon in the "World's Barbecue Capital".  Clint, a Kansas City native and friend from college, had been giving me the lowdown on the local barbecue.  Per Clint's advice, Matt and I headed towards Oklahoma Joe's to start our epic journey across the Midwest.   Our greatest/only concern was whether we'd have the self-control to pace ourselves so we could try as many restaurants as possible in the course of an afternoon before we left for Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Attached to, or contained in if you will, a gas station, Oklahoma Joe's is a restaurant that also prides itself on its competitive barbecuing achievements.  A look around the establishment provides evidence that they've been winning competitions since the late 80's.  Matt and I approached the counter with heightened curiosity of what to order.

When we asked the guy behind the counter what he recommended he responded with, "To be honest, you have to try our fries.  They're the best."  Matt looked at me with this unforgettable "Aren't we supposed to gain 25 pounds in pure meat consumption on this trip?"  I stepped back from the counter to give Clint a call.  I advanced towards the counter to order burnt ends, but they're unfortunately only available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  The counter-guy recommends fries (of course), a half-slab of ribs, and a pork sandwich.  The fries were indeed delicious.  Thin, crispy, and had the unmistakable flavor of being cooked in some sort of animal fat/oil.  The pork in the sandwich had a good hickory-smoked flavor, but Matt correctly pointed out that the bun was just a little too 'bready' for it to be great.

The ribs on the other hand highlighted our meal.  Oklahoma Joe's serves its ribs wet, and the sauce very closely resembles the KC Masterpiece Original Sauce that any consumer can purchase around the globe.  Clint loves Oklahoma Joe's sauce, so much so that he brought a few bottle's to a recent bachelor party in Key West, and gets infuriated whenever the KC Masterpiece comparison is made.  The traditional sauce is called "Cowtown Barbecue Sauce" (milder version), but each table provides an alternative much-spicier version called "Night of the Living Bar-B-Q Sauce" that I prefer.  Matt and I basically cleared our plate in a foolish manner and headed towards LC's Barbecue.

Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue (Kansas City) on Urbanspoon

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Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.