Joe's meteoric rise in the food world is a testament both to the quality of BBQ in Kansas City and the midwestern work ethic. Jeff and Joy Stehney started with a tiny smoker behind the counter of a gas station, and Joe's is now perhaps the most celebrated barbecue restaurant in the country. Of all the praise and acclaim to come Joe's way, being named as one of the "13 places to eat at before you die" by Anthony Bourdain is the most impressive.
Check out this video on what makes Joe's so popular:
It can be challenging to know what to order at Joe's since there's genuinely not a bad dish on the menu. The ribs are especially incredible, slathered in a classic Kansas City BBQ sauce, thick and smoky with a hint of spice on the end. The burnt ends are also wildly popular and are themselves a Kansas City creation. Burnt ends are the crispy charred ends made from the fattier point of the brisket. The cut is cooked for an extensive amount of time to break down the high cartilage and inter-muscular fat content, which creates an extra crunchy bark along the surface of the meat, as well as delectable and tender interior meat.
Another popular dish at Joe's is the Z-Man sandwich, which eschews all barbecue tradition by adding smoked provolone and onion rings to a sliced brisket sandwich and then covering it in classic Kansas City BBQ sauce.
Check out this video about the legendary Z-Man sandwich:
Cover image by snapranch is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.