On the Road Eats: Kansas City BBQ Road Trip

Sample Kansas City's smoke-kissed favorites, from baby back ribs to beef brisket to tender and saucy pulled pork.

1. Danny Edward's BBQ
This spot's famous for its beef brisket, especially the burnt ends sandwich. Called "Ol' Smoky," the beefy bomb features the flavorful edges of the brisket, slow-smoked with hickory. They also offer beef, turkey and pork by the pound and a three-meat special for those on a carnivorous streak.

2. Smokin' Guns BBQ
Those not in the know might drive right by Smokin' Guns BBQ in North Kansas City's industrial district, but they would miss what Guy calls "one killer brisket." Helmed by Phil Hopkins and his wife, Linda, the eatery boasts "competition-worthy" 'cue that has earned more than 400 awards to date.

3. RJ's Bob-Be-Que Shack
Chef Bob Palmgreen spent years in high-end NYC restaurants, entering BBQ competitions on the side, until after receiving dozens of awards he decided to take his hobby full time with RJ's Bob-Be-Que Shack. Guy calls their Jalapeno Sausage "tremendous," and the Lamb Ribs are a bonafide top seller.

4. Woodyard Bar-B-Que
Woodyard had been supplying wood to Kansas City BBQ restaurants since 1913, when in 2005, owner Frank Schloegel decided that if it's good enough for everybody else, he'd start cooking on it, too. Now the Smoked Chicken and BurntEnds Sandwich are local faves, and Guy calls the Pork Ribs "a knockout."

5. Johnny's Bar-B-Q
According to Guy, Johnny's Bar-B-Q "just screams tradition." With a handmade pit, over three decades of happy customers and an owner who's been making BBQ since he was 14 that comes as no surprise. Try the nice and crispy, super-juicy smoked-and-deep-fried chicken with award-winning mild BBQ rub.

6. Zarda Bar-B-Q
At family-owned and operated Zarda Bar-B-Q, "things are definitely, definitely hot," and the two hottest items on the menu, Brisket Burnt Ends and Baked Beans with Creeper Sauce, come on one plate. But fear not: Heat Seekers hosts Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking say their flavor is "breathtaking."