I’ve lived in the Kansas City metropolitan area for six years and have only eaten Kansas City barbecue twice. Blame it on my disinterest in driving 30 minutes for food or my ability to get stuck in food ruts. But this year is different—I’m going to visit every great Kansas City barbecue place even if it means I have to convert barbecue sauce into fuel. I’ve already marked Gates Bar-B-Q and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue off my list; last night, I had the pleasure of marking off Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que and enjoying a nice food coma with my Barbecutie.
Note: I wish all barbecue joints would follow AP Style and get rid of “bar-b-q,” “barbeque,” “bar b que” and all other ridiculous spellings…but I guess it’s a barbecue tradition.
Hayward’s Pit, named for its founder (and fellow Arkie from Clinton’s old stomping grounds!) Hayward Spears, has been around since 1972 and apparently is a Kansas City barbecue staple. I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it when the Barbecutie suggested Hayward’s Pit for dinner, but I was quite impressed at the coziness of the barbecue spot (a dimly lit, deliciously smoky joint near 110th and Antioch). It was quiet and we were one of just a handful of couples there, which made us a little nervous, but the food delivered.
I tried the brisket burger and onion rings (though our side dishes were plated incorrectly…good thing I was in a sharing mood and got to try some sweet potato fries, too). It was delicious! I love brisket (and I know the Imaginary Heroine loves brisket, too—miss you!), and this sandwich hit the spot. The slow-cooked brisket was tender and flavorful, the sauces were spot-on and the cheese melted perfectly. I definitely made it into the clean-plate club for Tuesday night (even if that meant eating a sandwich two-serving-sizes-too-big…so worth it), but I wasn’t quite sure my Barbecutie would make it, too. Here’s why:
He ordered the Triple Stack, which is a monstrous, three-slices-of-Texas-toast sandwich layered with barbecue sauce, smoked bacon, cheddar and smoked meats…I believe he opted for pulled pork and sausage with a side of heart disease.
I truly doubted he was going to finish this heart-stopper sandwich…but somehow…some way…he got down to the last bite, washed down 40 ounces of beer, and did what he had to do. Quite impressive. Sometimes I wish I was a 6-foot-3 man with a dinosaur stomach who could indulge in such gluttony!
Barbecutie managed to make it out of Hayward’s Pit without having to unbutton his jeans or make like a sorority girl in the bathroom—but we both definitely had food hangovers during the car ride home.
I think that’s a pretty good indicator of Kansas City barbecue success. I’m already anticipating my next Kansas City barbecue adventure. Where should I go? Would love to know your suggestions…the more obscure, the better.
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