If you live in Kansas City, or have been here at least once, you’re well aware of the reputation this city’s barbecue has. It’s all over the place. Somewhere between Jack Stack’s burnt ends and McGonigles’ pulled pork sandwich, I have been spoiled by the amazingness that is Kansas City BBQ. It’s funny though because KC Masterpiece, being one of the cheapest bbq sauces you can get in your grocery store, is among the top selling and “best tasting” sauces in the world. I’ve had it, and it’s ehhh. You know, it does the job and all… but meh. Back in my college days in Wisconsin, we used to slather our ribs at the deli I worked at with Sweet Baby Rays sauce. Maybe it’s because I smelled it every day for two summers during college, or because I got free samples, but I’ve been partial to it ever since.
This here commences my official conquest to find the best BBQ sauce in Kansas City. So far I’ve had sauce from OK Joes, McGonigles, Jack Stack, and Arthur Bryant’s. I was looking for a good bottle of sauce at the grocery store the other day and came across Kansas City’s own Cowtown Bar-B-Q Sauce. I’ve seen jars of this stuff in pretty much every tourist trap around the city, so part of me was a bit skeptical. I grabbed two jars for good measure, walking past my beloved Sweet Baby Rays.
And let me tell you, folks. This Cowtown sauce is SERIOUS. Dare I say, It’s way better than Sweet Baby Rays?! I am not crazy eloquent about how I describe the food I taste, but I’ll take a stab at it. It starts of kind of smokey and spicy, but finishes off all tangy and zesty. Marinating overnight helps the smokey flavor settle within the meat, giving you the smokey flavor at the center, topped with a tangy finish. But enough of my blathering… I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
From About.com – “The American Royal BBQ is one of the nation’s biggest and best barbeque competitions that brings grilling teams from across the globe to Kansas City for weekend of grillin’ and fun. Teams fire up their grills on Friday and party until dawn (with a watchful eye on what’s cooking!) only to race their entries into the judging hall on Saturday. The American Royal is not to be missed on either day–and yes, you can even sample true BBQ perfection.”
Marinate overnight, or for at least 12 hours in refrigerator: 1 jar Cowtown sauce, 1/4 cup honey drizzed over top, 1/4 cup garlic pepper seasoning blend, and 3lbs of Boston pork butt ribs. I opted out of my usual beer-infused marinade in order to preserve the true flavor of the sauce.
In the slow cooker: Place a layer of Cowtown sauce at the base of the slow cooker, just enough to cover the bottom. Layer ribs, reusing a mix of marinade sauce from the night before and fresh sauce from a new jar. Cover entire mixture with sauce from the new jar and let simmer on HIGH for 3 hours. After 3 hours, shift and turn ribs, re-coating the pieces with sauce from the existing mixture. Simmer on LOW for 4-5 hours until meat is fully cooked and of a desirable consistency. Serve with baked beans and cole slaw!
Come to mama.
Hopefully this summer will prove to be a lovely time for me to experiment with different kinds of barbecue sauce. After trying Cowtown, I am convinced that there is an art to it… much like tasting different wines or craft beers. My mission is simple. Find the best bbq sauce in Kansas City… without killing my arteries. 😉