The west coast has barbecue. Really, it does exist! I can’t claim to be a qualified BBQ connoisseur, but there are at least two good places to get real barbecued ribs and brisket within fifty miles of our house: one is the Skagit River Brewery, which does its own barbecue out back of the restaurant – I walk through the wonderful woodsmoke scent of it every morning. They do a very untraditional peach-jalapeño sauce that somehow works fantastically, and I’ve probably ordered their brisket sandwich at least two dozen times. Then there’s the Depot Smokehouse in Everett, which has got to be the best kept secret in Western Washington – it’s always mostly empty when we go and the food is just fantastic. Try the chili. And the pulled pork. Heck, try everything, you’ll like it.
Otherwise, I admit, the pickings are pretty slim. We were going to try a place in Burlington called Double Barrel BBQ, but it burned down the week we were going to go there. Most of the Seattle joints don’t get real good reviews – I liked that the OK Corral had collards on the menu but I didn’t care for the big jug of Kool-Aid that was the only beverage available. So you can see why we like visiting Kansas City!
Our Kansas and Missouri relatives are always good about making sure we get our BBQ fix when we visit. We used to get Gates takeout, but it’s frankly not my favorite. We once visited a Gates branch in person, and that didn’t really help – it combines all the joy of going to a standard American fast food restaurant with the added excitement of being yelled at (“WelcometoGatesmayItakeyourorderanyoneinline!”).
The last couple of times we’ve visited we’ve gone to Jack Stack Barbecue down in South Kansas City, and that’s my idea of good barbecue (I will cheerfully admit we need to try a whole lot more places to form an educated opinion – feel free to give suggestions!) Jack Stack is handy to where we stay, and they have an enormous menu that includes lamb ribs (which I have never seen anywhere else) and burnt ends. The beans and coleslaw are classic.
And what better to drink with barbecue than….
Another great thing on this trip was getting to taste some local beers! My mother-in-law recommended the Schlafly Pale Ale from St. Louis, and it was right up my alley (hops are my friend). J liked the Boulevard Stout pretty well, and we heard approving noises from the people drinking the Smoked Porter but I didn’t get around to trying it myself. Nice to know other parts of the country are doing good things with beer!