Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que: First Visit

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I’ve been wanting to visit Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que for years and talked about the restaurant a year ago in my Youtube video about Kansas City barbecue. The restaurant is now considered to be one of the metro’s premiere barbecue destinations. Part of that comes from its reputation as the barbecue join in a gas station.

Recently, I met up with a Twitch streamer at the Leawood location of Joe’s. He had spent much of April driving cross country from the West Coast to the East Coast and back. He was streaming his trip live on Twitch and was headed to his home in Oregon when he stopped in Kansas City. Followers in his stream chat were strongly suggesting that he try some Kansas City barbecue. I made it known that I am a food critic in Kansas City and volunteered to meet up him for barbecue. Several of his followers, who are familiar with Kansas City or who are from KC, suggested Joe’s.

When my streamer friend admitted that he’d never had brisket or burnt ends, chat recommended that we meet up at Joe’s and that the streamer try their signature sandwich, The Z-Man. Joe’s describes the sandwich as consisting of “slow-smoked beef brisket, smoked provolone cheese, topped with two crispy onion rings, on a toasted Kaiser roll.” I later discovered that the Portobello Z-Man, which I got, also had onion rings. I’m an onion ring guy. Fries? Meh.

We met up at the Joe’s location in Leawood during the busy Friday night dinner rush. I had known about the famous lines outside the gas station location in Kansas City, Kansas. I also know that ordering at barbecue restaurants normally entails ordering from the counter. There was a long queue in the restaurant that at times stretched outside. But the staff were very efficient and the wait gave me time to chat with my streamer friend. He wanted to get his order to go, as he wanted to rest after a long drive from St. Louis.

He later shared a picture (below) with his Discord server and he raved about how good the Z-Man was. I really enjoyed the Portobello Z-Man. Putting onion rings on the sandwich is still new to me, but onions belong on that style of fried mushroom sandwich and I love onion rings. As a lifelong vegetarian and fan of BBQ sauces, this really lived up to expectations.

You may be wondering what a vegetarian does with barbecue sauce? Recently, I mostly use it as a condiment for fries, tater tots, and potato patties. I like to put it on veggie dogs and veggie burgers. Mostly I like to use it to make vegetarian Sloppy Joes, either using veggie crumbles or a special tofu method.

I should do a deep dive into Kansas City barbecue sauces, rubs, and cooking styles. The sauce I got from Joe’s was pretty tasty and representative of the KC style of barbecue sauce.

I briefly profiled the original location in Kansas City, Kansas a year ago in a Youtube video about Kansas City BBQ restaurants (see below). I hope to visit the original location this summer.

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que
11723 Roe Ave, Leawood, KS 66211
3002 W 47th Ave, Kansas City, KS 66103
11950 S Strang Line Rd, Olathe, KS 66062

Portobello mushroom Z-man
My streamer friend from Oregon raved about his regular Z-Man. First time he had eaten brisket.
Friday night crowd at Leawood, Kansas location
Leawood, Kansas location.
Long lines like a typical barbecue joint, but the queue moves fast
Famous gas station location in Kansas City, Kansas

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