Kansas City

We made a pilgrimage to 2 cities that bear the same name separated by a state line in search of the best BBQ we could find: Kansas City. Judging by the city name alone, one might say the state of Missouri stole the name from the state of Kansas. However, history says otherwise. Kansas City in Missouri (KCMO) was founded 19 years earlier than Kansas City in Kansas (KCK). Several smaller towns in Kansas decided to form KCK later with the same name in effort to benefit from the wealthier neighboring city. Today, KCMO is at least 3 times larger than KCK and the earlier has most of the popular attractions. Our AirBnb accommodation is located 3 blocks east of the state line in KCMO. As we navigated the roads, our GPS device welcomed us to Kansas in one minute, then it proceeded to welcome us to Missouri in the next minute as we turned.

There are 4 main regional BBQ styles in the US: Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas. Kansas City is the closest to our place. Our trip planning practically revolved around BBQ places. Being the “BBQ Capital of the World” with more than 100 BBQ establishments to choose from, we solicited recommendations from websites and coworkers. Our AirBnb owner recommended us to have seat-in meals at non-traditional times to beat the crowd.

Our trip covered 4 museums: Federal Reserve Bank’s Money Museum, National WWI Museum and Memorial, National Museum of Toys and Miniatures and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. At the Money Museum, we watched endless stacks of bills loaded into large machines to be checked for worn out and counterfeit bills before the robots moved the money crates into the massive cash vault. We drove past rows of huge mansions in Sunset Hill West — the wealthiest neighborhood in Kansas City. Every late afternoon, the constant deafening buzzing sound from cicadas was very apparent. A restaurant server told us this year has been the worst as most cicadas emerged from the ground every 17 years.

In short, we tried 3 BBQ places: Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, Q39 and Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. They were all excellent. It was difficult to compare one against another because we tried different cuts of meat each time.

kansas city
The KCMO skyline view from the top of Liberty Memorial Tower.
Burnt ends — a specialty of Kansas City — at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque.
Z-Man at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. This BBQ place was named as one of the “13 places to eat before you die” by Anthony Bourdain.
Fall-off-the-bone ribs at Q39.
Places we explored in Kansas City.
Road trip map.

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