All across the good ol’ U.S. of A, you can savor an area’s own specialty foods. Pacific Northwest: salmon. New York's Coney Island New York: hot dogs. Philadelphia: cheese-steak hoagies. Louisiana: spicy Cajun. Oklahoma: beef steak.
In Missouri, the first thing that comes to mind is mouth watering barbecue you can smell a block away ... that's a good thing.
US News and World Report includes Kansas City and St. Louis on their list of the top seven BBQ cities in America ... and for good reason.
VisitMO staffer Elise Eimer toured several St. Louis BBQ joints and posted this report about her journey: Tour de BBQ.
St. Louis is famous for wood-smoked baby back ribs and pork steaks, among other meat selections, usually heavily sauced. The greater St. Louis area is said to consume more barbecue sauce per capita than any other city in the nation; we think a bib might be a good idea.
Kansas City style BBQ involves very slowly smoked meats, using a variety of woods, served with a thick, tomato-molasses sauce and saucy beans, baked in the smoker.
- Pappy's Smokehouse was named one of the “101 Best Places to Chow Down in America” by The Travel Channel.
- Bogarts Smokehouse offers their special spin on some of America’s favorite foods, including apricot glazed ribs, slow roasted turkey, smoked prime rib and smoked pastrami.
- Roper's Ribs has been smoking award-winning ribs since 1976. Ribs are hand rubbed with a special blend of spices and smoked for more than 12 hours using hickory wood to create an exquisite flavor.
- Sugarfire Smoke House serves all the standards, plus goodies such as smoked fried artichokes and pork belly hush puppies.
- Jack Stack Barbecue (three Missouri locations) has been rated as some of the best barbecue in the U.S. by several national organizations; the Zagat Survey named them the "#1 Barbecue House in the Country" for the last several years running. There cooked meats, sauces, rubs and side dishes can be ordered from their website.
- Gates Bar-B-Q (four Missouri locations) is a Kansas City tradition since 1946. Gates will satisfy your craving for truly unique smoked meats. Gates BBQ sauces and rubs are sold by many grocery chains across the country.
- Arthur Bryant's, founded in the 1920s, is one of the most renowned barbeque restaurants in the world; their sauce is considered one of the best anywhere. Arthur Bryant's products are distributed world-wide.
- Danny Edwards Blvd BBQ has a massive following, even though it is only open for lunch. His brisket sandwiches are renowned for their size and flavor. Besides meat, they even serve barbecued fish.
Lest you think the big city is the only place for world-class smoked meats, we offer just a few “out-state” examples of outstanding, good ‘ol Missouri barbecue.
In southeast Missouri, Dexter Bar-B-Que, in, as you might guess, the town of Dexter, has been mastering the art of barbecuing for nearly 40 years. Their briskets are smoked for up to 15 hours, in pits using fireplace-size logs to create that distinctive genuine flavor, aroma, color and texture. (Five other locations in southeast Missouri.)
Burl Lutz, owner of Lutz’s Famous BBQ in Jefferson City and Columbia, is one of the most successful purveyors of barbecue in Missouri, with a trophy case to prove it. We stopped in at the Columbia location to interview his brother and recorded this blog post detailing the operation: Lutz video.
Branson is home to several top quality BBQ establishments, not the least of which is Danna's Bar-B-Que and Burger Shop, where you can enjoy traditional slow-smoked pork, beef, chicken, ribs and sausage, as well as award winning (deep-fried) catfish, BBQ nachos and a one pound BBQ-stuffed potato for a chance to try something new.
In Excelsior Springs, pull-up a table in a former train depot and dine on scrumptious ribs and chicken (and other delights) at Wabash BBQ. Their second location, in Chillicothe, also occupies an old Wabash train depot.
Arrive by car or boat and it beside the Lake of the Ozarks in Sunrise Beach for a spectacular view and a yummy meal at Ozark Bar-B-Que – they have something for everyone ... especially barbecue. If you get slathered with sauce while you're there, don’t worry – they have plenty of napkins.
If you are near Moberly, make a stop at Black Market Barbeque. To go with their ribs, chicken and pork, they have a variety of signature BBQ sauces, from sweet to fiery, to suit everyone in the family. We're told the Mac & Cheese is outstanding. They cater and deliver.
But really, which is it – barbecuing, smoking or grilling? For the answer to that question, and some information about Missouri’s many barbecue contests, read the VisitMO article Barbecue Contests–Yummo. The main thing is, roll up your sleeves and dig into some 100 percent, down home Missouri barbecue, BBQ, Bar-B-Que ... aw, whatever you call it, you won’t be sorry. Eat-up!
Please visit our VisitMO Facebook page and tell us where your favorite Missouri Que is served.