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Kansas City BBQ Crawl


Article by Molly Buchanan

Photography by Molly Buchanan

Something we need to get out of the way right up front--I love birthdays. I love to celebrate and make people feel special on their day. Especially the people that I love and are closest to me. If you think about it, it's the only day in an entire year that belongs to YOU, so it should be celebrated.

And I'm a little extra, so I tend to go overboard.

Over the past few years, I have shifted my celebrations from things to experiences, so our birthday celebrations have turned into vacations and staycations, with a lot of doing, eating, and exploring (emphasis on the eating.).

This year, as I looked for a fun way to celebrate my husband's birthday right here in Kansas City, it hit me: BBQ Crawl. Let's explore the best BBQ dishes in our city in a single day. But an idea is only do I actually pull this off?

With careful research, planning, and coordination, I was able to pull off a very successful crawl with a lot of fun. So let's get down to business...

First things first, you gotta do some research. I started with a little crowdsourcing--asking friends, adding a question box on my Instagram Stories, looking at websites, all the while gathering the most popular suggestions for restaurants and dishes.

Second, finalize your list. Combine like suggestions, eliminate anything you won't enjoy, sprinkle in some new-to-you spots, and make sure you add anything you personally can't miss.

Third, plan your route. Personally this was the most challenging for me, and I reworked it several times. There are so many strategies you could use, and candidly, I'm not the most directionally gifted, so I spent a lot of time looking at maps. Ultimately, we wound up having the perfect route, so should you choose to follow it, the hard work is already done.

And finally, free your schedule for an entire day, get a full tank of gas, put on your comfortable clothes, grab your Tums, and get in the car. It's time to eat and explore!

Here is the route we took and what we got at each restaurant. I cannot recommend our experience enough, and I hope you'll try it too. Pro Tip: Only order one of each item and share. Otherwise, those final stops might be pretty painful or nonexistent. 

Stop 1: Woodyard BBQ

What to get: Burnt End Chili and Honey Cornbread Muffin

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Stop 2: Jones BBQ

What to get: Sausage Link from the vending machine

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Stop 3: Slap's BBQ

What to get: Ribs and Baked Potato Casserole

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Stop 4: BB's Lawnside BBQ

What to get: Bar-B-Q Sundae and Deep Fried Bread Pudding

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Stop 5: Q39 South

What to get: Best Wings on the Planet and Macaroni & Cheese

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Stop 6: Jack Stack Overland Park

What to get: Burnt Ends and Cheesy Corn Bake

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Stop 7: Plowboys BBQ

What to get: BBQ Nachos and Cheesy Potatoes

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Stop 8: Blind Box BBQ Shawnee

What to get: BBQ Wontons and Bourbon Baked Beans

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Stop 9: Joe's Kansas City BBQ Olathe

What to get: The Z-Man or Portobello Z-Man and French Fries 

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And there you have it--Nine restaurants, 18 dishes, 2 very full bellies!