Every barbecue aficionado in the United States has a soft corner in his/her mind for the Kansas City in Missouri. Over a period of more than one hundred years, the city has generated its own style of barbecue commonly known these days as Kansas City barbecue. Moreover, it is also said that the first ever barbecue restaurant in North America was opened in the Kansas City.
Kansas City’s relationship with barbecue dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century when Henry Perry started operating with a trolley barn. He used to serve slow-cooked ribs that were priced at 25 cents per slab. This restaurant opened by Perry quickly emerged as the city’s major cultural point during the 1920s and 30s. Perry’s trusted worker Charlie Bryant took over the restaurant in 1940 after the death of Henry Perry. In 1946, Charlie’s brother Arthur Bryant took charge of the business and renamed it as Arthur Bryant’s.
In the next few decades or so, Arthur Bryant became a household name for America’s barbeque connoisseurs. The most renowned of all barbequers in history, he is also known as the King of Ribs. After being shifted to 1727 Brooklyn, Arthur’s restaurant became a favorite destination for the baseball players and fans in the 1950s and 60s. In 1974, in an article published in New Yorker Magazine, Bryant’s was proclaimed to be world’s best barbecue restaurant. Apart from thousand’s of common folks, this restaurant has served many renowned celebrities including Steven Spielberg, Robert Redford, Michael Landon, Jack Nicholson, Bryant Gumbel, Wilt Chamberlain, George Brett, Tom Watson and many others. Though Arthur died of heart attack in 1982, the restaurant’s success story still continues after more than three decades.
Henry Perry’s cook Arthur Pinkard formed Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q alongside George Gates in 1946. The success of Gates Bar-B-Q can be attributed mainly to their exquisite range of barbeque sauces. Since the inception of their business, Gates BBQ has been catering to the nation’s demand for barbecue sauce. In the mid-70s, their manufacturing processes were automated, and Gates Bar-B-Q sauce made its way to the retail grocery stores. The molasses free BBQ sauce from Gates Bar-B-Q contain tomatoes, salt, vinegar, sugar, garlic, celery, pepper, and spices.
Evolving from Henry Perry’s pits in the early 1900s, the city today boasts of more than one hundred barbecue restaurants. Many popular barbeque cooking contests also take place in the city throughout the year. No wonder the city is popularly known as the “World’s barbecue capital.”
Being born and brought-up in Kansas City, I have fond memories of spending quality time eating at Arthur Bryant’s and Gates BBQ. In the last fifteen years, I have been fortunate enough to taste several other types of BBQ in many other regions of North America that were simply awesome. I can hardly wait to travel the world and find new flavor profiles.