Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jack Stack BBQ

Our first taste of Kansas City BBQ was at Joe's (which also functions as a gas station). Our next stop on the BBQ trip was at the other end of the spectrum, Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue.

Known as Jack Stack, the restaurant was definitely higher-end, full-service as opposed to Joe's casual lunch tray format. There are multiple locations around Kansas City, but we visited the one in Country Club Plaza (4747 Wyandotte St).

My father tried to make reservations in advance, but Jack Stack doesn't take reservations for parties less than 8. They operated on a "first come, first serve" basis, so we arrived on Sunday afternoon around 5PM and took our chances. Fortunately we found parking in the garage next door. Unfortunately, the place was packed with a bunch of people waiting outside!

My father put our names on the list. They gave us a buzzer and told us it would be about an hour. No problem. We asked if we could leave our cell phone number with them and walk around the Country Club Plaza shops. They said they'd be happy to text us as we got closer, so we head out to explore some of the shops in the plaza.

Around 5:45PM, we received our text asking us to come back to the hostess table. So we did, then ended up having a drink at the bar, waiting another 15 minutes or so. Shortly after 6PM, we were seated in the main dining room which reminded us of a formal steakhouse. However, they did have a kid's menu, booster seats and crayons available for us toddlers.

The menu (click here) was more of a restaurant that had delicious barbecue rather than a BBQ joint. There were plenty of appetizers and sides to go along with the hefty portions of meat and sandwiches. For our starter, we ordered the Barbecue Shrimp.

But as we were evaluating our choices for entrees, we couldn't help but gravitate towards their Signature BBQ Items.

My father and mother decided to share an order of the "Jack's Best" which was a combo platter of a Crown Prime Beef Rib, Pork Baby Back Ribs and Beef Burnt Ends. What's a "Burnt End" you ask?

According to Wikipedia, burnt ends are flavorful pieces of meat cut from the point half of a smoked brisket. A traditional part of Kansas City barbecue, burnt ends are considered a delicacy in barbecue cooking. Either the entire brisket is cooked whole, then the point end removed and cooked further, or the point and flat are separated prior to cooking.
Due to the higher fat content of the brisket point, it takes longer to fully cook to tender and render out fat and collagen. This longer cooking gave rise to the name "burnt ends". Sometimes when the flat is done, the point is returned to the smoker for further cooking. Some cooks re-season the point at this time.
Kansas City style burnt ends are usually served cubed with sauce either on top or on the side. A "proper" burnt end should display a modest amount of "bark" or char on at least one side. Burnt ends can be served alone (sometimes smothered in barbecue sauce) or in sandwiches, as well as in a variety of other dishes, including baked beans and gumbo."
Compared to the prices our family was used to paying at Hill Country in New York City, Jack Stack was a great value. The volume and quality of food you received in KC was so much better! In addition to the heftier portions (more meat on the bones), the flavor of their BBQ sauce really made this barbecue pop. In fact, we now prefer KC style barbecue over Texas style.

When the food came out, we all realized that my parents chose very wisely, because the portions were both massive and delicious. More than enough for two adults...

...though my father did make an effort to finish it all himself.

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