Food & Drink

Best BBQ in Kansas City: 15 Top BBQ Joints

Last Updated on September 13, 2023 | 0 Comments
The best BBQ in Kansas City is waiting to meet your taste buds.

In a city known for phenomenal BBQ, finding the best BBQ in Kansas City can be tricky business. Where else can you dine at over 100 BBQ joints, each with its own special recipe to add to the mix? If you’re going to locate the best BBQ restaurants in Kansas City, be prepared to sample a lot of brisket, chicken, ribs and sauce!

 So what is the best BBQ restaurant in Kansas City? It may be impossible to choose just one, so we chose our favorite 15 instead. Check into our options for the best BBQ places in Kansas City to help with your search.  

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15 Best BBQ Joints in Kansas City 

1. Jones BBQ

This family-run joint has been serving up the best BBQ in Kansas City since opening in 1970. Their sauce is a family secret, but you can pick up a bottle or two in sweet and tangy and coconut pineapple flavors for home cookouts.

The Vibe

Outdoor picnic table seating and a walk-up window keep things cool and casual.

What to Order

Homemade sausage served by the link is a Jones BBQ specialty. Order up a sample platter to try ham, turkey, beef, ribs and sausage, plus a little bread on the side for soaking up extra sauce.

Jones BBQ | 6706 Kaw Dr. Kansas City, KS 66111| $ 

via Jones BBQ

2. Porky's Blazin’ Bar-B-Q

If you smell sweet, delicious smoke coming from a big red barn, you know you’re at Porky’s. Their daily wood-smoked meats make mouths water all around town, winning their chefs several first-place prizes as some of the best BBQ in Kansas City.

The Vibe

Bright, cheerful dining room, with old-fashioned open seating for friendly lunches and dinners.

What to Order

A beef brisket sandwich with beans and salad on the side serves up a slice of saucy BBQ to whet your appetite.

Porky's Blazin’ BBQ | 9512 S. Buckner-Tarsney, Grain Valley, MO 64029 | $$ 

via Porky's Blazin' Bar-B-Q

3. Slap's

“Slap” is an acronym for “Squeal Like a Pig”, the original name of this award-worthy provider of the best BBQ in Kansas City. Slap’s has won contest after contest, including a final-round run in season five of TLC’s Pitmasters.

The Vibe

Rustic charm is the order of the day, with picnic table seating in front of a little red shed storefront.       

What to Order

Locally sourced meats make Slap’s burnt end combo an unforgettable meal for BBQ fans. Slap’s sauce and rubs are also available for use back at the homestead.

Slap’s | 553 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas 66101 | $$ 

via Slap's

4. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue

Jack Fiorella started Jack Stack as a storefront BBQ stand in 1957. Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, Jack Stack isn’t just among the best BBQ in downtown Kansas City; it’s also the largest wood-fired cookery in the U.S.

The Vibe

Upscale and inviting, with an emphasis on casual modern elegance.

What to Order

The pitmaster provides pork spareribs, fire-kissed wings, burnt ends and sausages, all on the same plate.

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue | Multiple Locations | $$ 

via Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue

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5. Plowboys

Competition-style BBQ is the Plowboys claim to fame. The owners traveled around the U.S. for six years learning the ins and outs of the BBQ business. The results are low and slow-cooked meats that help define the best local BBQ in Kansas City.

The Vibe

Uptown style serving sweet Southern sizzle in a fast-food counter layout, with a case full of awards to back up the reputation.

What to Order

BBQ nachos are a must. They’re made with in-house tortilla chips, queso sauce from scratch and your choice of tender, seasoned meat.

Plowboys | Multiple Locations | $$

via Plowboys

6. Danny Edwards BLVD

Danny Edwards grew up surrounded by the best BBQ in downtown Kansas City, so he knows his way around a brisket. His slow-cooked meats have been satisfying locals and visitors for more than 30 years.

The Vibe

This unfussy diner is so laid back, you can practically eat lying down!

What to Order

The Burnt Ends Plate will give you smoky brisket edges and a side with bread. And of course, there’s the famous Danny Edwards sauce.

Danny Edwards BLVD | 2900 SW Blvd. Kansas City, Missouri 64108 | $$ 

via Danny Edwards BLVD

7. Q39

Classically trained chef Rob Magee brought his BBQ skills to town in 2014. In the years that have followed, Q39 has developed a reputation as some of the best BBQ in Kansas City. Quality yields results!

The Vibe

Stylish without being stuffy, a fully 21st-century version of a BBQ eatery.

What to Order

The chipotle pork sausage, warmed up with fiery spices, is some of the best BBQ in Kansas City.

Q39 | Multiple Locations | $$ 

via Q39

8. Woodyard BBQ

Woodyard BBQ presents itself as a fun outdoor cookout, even with indoor seating. Affordable lunch and dinner dishes are also accompanied by live musical entertainment. 

The Vibe

Smokestacks, brick walls and metal roofs give Woodyard a cozy roadside cabin feel. It’s also dog-friendly, meaning you can sneak some of the best BBQ in Kansas City under the table and have a very happy pooch.

What to Order

The Triple “P” sandwich piles on pulled pork and provolone, plus ham and smoked bacon. The best BBQ in Kansas City doesn’t play small!

Woodyard BBQ | 3001 Merriam Ln. Kansas City, KS 66106 | $$ 

via Woodyard BBQ

9. BB's Lawnside BarB-Q

BB’s is made from granite stones that originally created crosswalks in Downtown Kansas City. When a BBQ joint in Kansas City wears its history on its sleeve, you know you’re in for authentic flavor.

The Vibe

Funky and eclectic, with long table seating and live blues tunes from the stage.

What to Order

BBQ Meatloaf blends beef brisket with ground beef and sweet BBQ sauce for a unique take on an American classic.

BB's Lawnside | Multiple Locations | $$ 

BB's Lawnside BarB-Q

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10. Arthur Bryant's

Food experts have declared this Kansas City BBQ diner one of the best restaurants in the U.S. Having the name of an inductee to the Barbeque Hall of Fame on the sign means the best BBQ in Kansas City is waiting in the kitchen!

The Vibe

The red awning and red brick front at Arthur Bryant’s signal a vintage diner feel that continues inside.

What to Order

The 18th and Vine sandwich, named for the address of the original restaurant, is a top pick.

Arthur Bryant's | 1727 Brooklyn Ave., Kansas City, Missouri 64127 | $$

via Arthur Bryant's 

11. LC's Bar-B-Q

If straightforward BBQ is what you’re after, then LC’s is the Kansas City BBQ joint you’re looking for. Tangy sauce with moderate heat and tempting brisket with fries on the side is their time-honored formula. It equals the best BBQ in Kansas City every time.

The Vibe

The gritty, no-nonsense feel of a real old-time BBQ joint, inside and out.

What to Order

Check out the combo sandwich, loaded with two meats and served with your choice of savory side.

LC's Bar-B-Q | 5800 Blue Pkwy., Kansas City, MO 64129 | $$ 

via LC's Bar-B-Q

12. Char Bar

This airy bar and grill is a destination for BBQ fans looking for a friendly place to hang out before and after they eat. Char Bar’s smoke blends hickory and pecan for a unique smoky-sweet flavor you’d expect to find only in the best BBQ Kansas City has to offer.

The Vibe

Mixing and mingling is highly encouraged in this cavernous, community-oriented space.

What to Order

The Holy Trinity brings together three ribs, black Angus brisket and burnt ends for a tasty plate, served with toast and pickles to tickle your tastebuds.

Char Bar | 4050 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111 | $$ 

via Char Bar

13. Gates Bar-B-Q

The Gates family has been on the Kansas City scene since 1946. This historic joint may be as famous for shouts of “HI, MAY I HELP YOU?” from their waitstaff as for some of the best BBQ in Kansas City.

The Vibe

Traditional family-friendly dining under the iconic red roof and strutting man sign.

What to Order

Mutton is a rare find on a BBQ menu. The appearance on Gates’ menu makes it a must-try.

Gates Bar-B-Q | Multiple Locations | $ 

via Gates Bar-B-Q

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14. Smokehouse

Smokehouse's contribution to the best BBQ in Kansas City is their specialty: hickory-smoked chicken and brisket, their hallmark dishes since opening in 1987.

The Vibe

Steakhouse chic with upmarket sports bar aspirations.

What to Order

With Pickin’ Chickin,’ happy eaters can enjoy a 12-ounce chicken breast topped with pulled pork and two sides. 

Smokehouse | Multiple Locations | $$ 

via Smokehouse

15. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que

Joe’s originated as a catering company before setting up shop in a gas station in 1996. The diner gradually expanded to offer the best BBQ in Kansas City to more hungry diners.

The Vibe

The original location is a step back in time to a true roadside diner experience. Newer locations offer a more contemporary BBQ dining atmosphere.

What to Order

You can’t pass up a sandwich called the Rocket Pig when trying the best BBQ in Kansas City. It’s loaded with pulled pork slathered in spicy-sweet sauce and topped with pepper jack cheese.

Joe’s Kansas City BBQ | Multiple Locations | $$

via Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que

Learn to Make Your Own Kansas City BBQ

Homemade BBQ can be just as spectacular as what the best BBQ restaurants in Kansas City serve, especially when you learn with cooking classes in Kansas City. You’ll discover authentic recipes that make it easy to recreate the best BBQ in Kansas City.

a chef garnishing a dish of meatballs
via Cozymeal

If you’re a foodie with a taste for smoky-sweet goodness, enjoying the best local BBQ in Kansas City is bound to be a peak experience. The only way to find out what is the best BBQ restaurant in Kansas City by your own standards is to sample a little something from as many of the best BBQ joints in Kansas City as possible. It may take a while, but your research is bound to be delicious!

 For even more fun ways to explore Kansas City and beyond, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.

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