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Savor the Show-Me State: What to Eat in Missouri

Dive into gooey butter cake, burnt ribs and more of Missouri's most-iconic dishes.

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Take a Slice of Missouri

Missouri may be known for toasted ravioli, provel cheese, and BBQ, but the Show Me State is much more than that. Nearly 200 years of German, French, and Italian influence combined with incredible local meat and produce means award winning charcuterie, beer, and pastries.

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Hot Salami Sandwich

There are plenty of pork dishes throughout the state, but few have the longevity and outspoken popularity of the Hot Salami Sandwich. In 1918, Gioia’s Deli opened in the heart of The Hill, St. Louis’ Italian neighborhood, and with it came their salam de testa — now known as hot salami. A mixture of pig shoulder and head meats, the result is more like a terrine than your typical salami. Sliced thick and served warm (hence the ‘hot’), it’s impossible to resist, especially when you get it on their garlic-cheese bread with a hearty helping of giardiniera. There’s a reason it’s been named best sandwich in St. Louis year after year.

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Photo: zkruger

Burnt Ends

Burnt Ends are golden nuggets of brisket that are a Kansas City rite of passage. Typically, the fattier part of the brisket point takes longer, so is returned to the smoker once the rest of the meat is done, which allows it to cook into a caramelized, extra-smoky hunk of meat. The resulting burnt ends are then chopped into cubes and served over buttered toast or plain white bread. Everyone does their burnt ends differently, but Arthur Bryant’s has this Kansas City specialty nailed.

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Photo: Spencer Pernikoff

Gooey Butter Cake

Few food fans visit St. Louis without trying gooey butter cake. But what is it? A flakey-yet-cakey crust with a rich, slightly chewy cream cheese and vanilla topping. Some are gooier than others, some are cloyingly sweet, but Kaldi’s in Kirkwood is just right. A little goes a long way, and the pros know that a corner piece is the way to go. Pair it with Kaldi’s coffee, or a nap will be in order.

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