NFL Draft Experience: Ranking the Best Kansas City BBQ Spots

The NFL Draft is just over 24 hours away. Still, the NFL Draft Experience festivities at Union Station in Kansas City will kick off tomorrow afternoon!

For those making the trip to Kansas City for the NFL Draft, Eric Dickens at our sister site Dynasty League Football (and a Kansas City local) cooked up a can’t-miss guide to the best (and worst) BBQ Kansas City offers. Dickens even simplified the selection process by organizing the BBQ spots into tiers identified by NFL players!

But before we get into the list, be sure to give the DLF Twitter account a follow (Eric manages the channel).

Top Tier/Do Not Miss (Justin Jefferson/Ja’Marr Chase level):

  • Joe’s Kansas City (Gas Station) – Amazing food, original location is in a gas station that usually has a line but is worth waiting in. If they haven’t sold out, the Z-Man is awesome, anything with burnt ends. Very casual, lowkey.
  • Q39 (Midtown) – Also amazing food, and not just the meats, but also the sides. It’s a nicer place, I’d feel fine in jeans/sweatshirt up to slacks/suitcoat. Brisket, burnt ends, pork belly are a few of my favorites.
  • Excellent/Will Not Disappoint (A.J. Brown/Lamb/Waddle/Breece/JT/Bijan level):

  • Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ (Freight House) – A bunch of locations, always good, always consistent. Their cheesy corn is amazing, meats/sauce are great, freight house location will likely be swamped because it’s close to the Draft.
  • Slaps BBQ – Down to earth vibe, picnic style dining, excellent meat with slightly less sauce than most KC BBQ, brisket and ribs are terrific.
  • BB’s Lawnside BBQ – Probably too far from where you’ll be, but is excellent, picnic style seating, live blues most nights, great atmosphere that almost overshadows the food, but it’s top notch too. BBQ Nachos, Big Walter’s Sandwich, Burnt End Sandwich, yum.
  • Solid/Maybe Next Trip (Diggs/Kupp/Godwin level):

  • Danny Edwards Blvd BBQ – Solid, well-smoked meats, dive restaurant.
  • Rosedale Bar-B-Q – Been around a long time, their Flying Pig (1/2 chicken, three ribs) is excellent.
  • LC’s Bar B Q – No frills, big portions at a good price, probably too far from where you’ll be.
  • Pass/Don’t Listen To People Who Recommend These (D’Andre Swift, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, JuJu level):

  • Gates BBQ – There’s a certain nostalgia here, but their sauce isn’t exactly “KC” and it’s either loved or hated, runny and thin.
  • Arthur Bryant’s – Been around forever, but they’re rude (on purpose), food is better than other places’ BBQ, but not worth going out of your way for.
  • Smokehouse BBQ – Meh.
  • Zarda BBQ – GTFO
  • Sleepers/Underrated (High upside, long shot TEs like Chig, Jelani, Likely):

  • Char Bar – It’s definitely not your traditional BBQ for KC, but does have great food and a fun atmosphere. When the weather is nice, you can enjoy their outside lawn games.
  • Harp BBQ – Haven’t actually been here myself and it’s a bit out of the way…and in a town everyone avoids. But I’ve heard rumors of greatness.
  • Roster Cloggers/Not Actually BBQ (Claypool, Corey Davis, MVS, Duvernay level):

  • Hawaiian Bros – Excellent food, but not BBQ
  • El Pollo Rey – Also not BBQ
  • Pigwich – Also excellent, but not BBQ
  • Any other BBQ places only located in Olathe/Overland Park/Lenexa areas of Johnson County, KS
  • Read More

    written by

    Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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