The Great Kansas Barbecue Quest | Midwest Living

The Great Kansas Barbecue Quest

There’s a kick to the cuisine in Kansas. Sassy sauces, slow-cooked meats and a history of doing it right make barbecue an experience, not just a meal. Taste the rich legacy as you travel the state. Chances are, you'll find a barbecue restaurant, festival or cook-off is within range.


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    Wichita mayor Carl Brewer is a veteran barbecue competitor.
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    Guy & Mae's Tavern in Williamsburg.
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    Delano's, Wichita.

More destinations we love

Eastern Kansas

Kansas City Tender smoked meat with a unique sauce at Wyandotte BBQ. (913) 788-7554.

Lansing Douse meats with regular or competition sauce at Daniel's; the homemade fries are a favorite. (913) 351-2440

Lawrence Barbecue purists go to Gran-Daddy's Q, where meats include a big shredded brisket sandwich. (785) 830-8665). Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse has served its meaty platters in this university town since the 1970s. (785) 841-6400. Vermont Street BBQ, in a spacious location on Massachusetts Street, serves the standards plus smoked turkey quesadillas and chicken wings.

Paola Burnt ends rank No. 1 at The BBQ Shack.

Flint Hills

Emporia Ribs at Bad Ol' Bern's BBQ have a hint of hickory smoke and exude waves of tangy flavor even without the house sauce. At Bobby D's Merchant Street Barbecue, brisket is the hit.

Manhattan Pat's Blue Rib'N Barbeque spices up the college enclave of Aggieville with its chicken wings.

Central Kansas

Buhler Beef brisket is the front-runner at Lavon's Bakery and BBQ, which smokes its meats with real wood. Made-from-scratch pies sweeten the meal.

Lincoln The city's Extra Innings Barbeque scores points for jalapeno mustard sauce — great on pork. There's also a sweet, mild red sauce for traditionalists. Baseball fans will appreciate the old-time sports memorabilia (785) 524-5335.

Salina At Hickory Hut BBQ, ribs earn the raves.

Western Kansas

Liberal Smoked spare ribs rule at Billy's Mexican Grill & Q. Take your pick of original or spicy. Pulled pork and brisket are also on the menu. If you're craving Mexican, the pulled pork wrap still delivers smoky bites of barbecue. (620) 626-4400.

Barbecue restaurant recipes

Oklahoma Joe's Tasty Ribs A favorite at Oklahoma's Joe's BBQ Restaurant in Kansas City.

Joe's KC-Style Barbecue Sauce Peppery with a kick best describes this tangy barbecue sauce.

Smoked Beef Brisket Serve this tender brisket from Oklahoma Joe's straight up or on a bun.

Spicy Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing These succulent chicken wings might disappear as fast as you can grill them. The recipe comes from Danny Edwards Famous Kansas City BBQ, formerly Li'l Jake's Eat It and Beat It. The tiny, no-frills eatery has served weekday lunch crowds in Kansas City for more than two decades.


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