Currently, I live/work/play in Chicago, but I am originally from Kansas City. Most people have a good idea about what Chicago is: large city, burgeoning culinary/drinking scene, history as a political machine, sports-crazed, etc. Kansas City, on the other hand, is kind of known as a fly-over city with really bad sports teams. However, in our own minds we do claim a high perch in one area: Barbecue. This is my newest line of blog posts where I visit BBQ places all over the world and report back. Of course, the majority will be from KC and Chicago.
Our first entry is going to be a place in KC I never visited until recently. Woodyard BBQ is a long-time wood peddler that one day decided “Hey, we have all the materials right here, we might as well just go ahead and make BBQ.” The joint is probably best known for its appearance on No Reservations as the BBQ of choice for the Black Keys. Here’s a picture of the front (yeah, it looks like a wood yard):
As far as the food goes, there are a few things to note. First, they have a good diversity of types of BBQ (which is kind of the KC calling card). I tried pulled pork, burnt ends, sausage and turkey. As it goes the burnt ends were good (but not on the level of Oklahoma Joe’s), the sausage was unique (it tasted like breakfast sausage), the pulled pork was reasonable, but the turkey was underwhelming. The turkey just didn’t have much smoke flavor.
Mrs. DNS had a sandwich which showed one kind of unique quality in terms of KC barbecue: the bread wasn’t the cheapest worst white bread in existence. This is time-honored tradition at the KC places. Both of us agreed that the sauces are very good. Given that my beans were pretty good, it seems the burnt ends chili would be a good choice for anyone who checks this place out (our neighbors at the next table seemed to be loving theirs).
Overall, Woodyard is a solid choice. Great atmosphere, some nice items on the menu, above-average sauce and the ability to try some different things…all at very good prices. Give it shot if you ever happen through Merriam, Kansas.