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OKLAHOMA JOE'S: BAR-BE-QUE ROYALTY

If Kansas City is known to have the best of Barbecue in the world, then the city's best Barbecue joint, undoubtedly becomes the World's Best.Just to echo what Anthony Bourdain has to say of this famous Barbecue Joint. So when someone mentions Oklahoma Joe's in Kansas City, they are referring to Barbecue Royalty.Tony lists Oklahoma Joe's as one of the 13 Places to Eat Before You Die, in an article in Men's Health. Not to forget all the episodes of No Reservations in the past 8 Seasons. As the promo of the 9th Season of No Reservations was aired, Kansas City found special mention in it.We can all guess very well, as to where Tony will head first,when he starts filming.

 For the uninitiated, Kansas City is home to a particular type of barbecue,which is very different from the Carolina style or the Memphis style of grilling meat. The KC style uses a particular type of wood to smoke the meat, which lends its signature flavour. Hickory seems to be the favorite for hardcore Kansas Citians. The next important element of any barbecued protein, is the Barbecue sauce with which it is slathered.Tomatoes and molasses are the key ingredients of the typical Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce, where local chefs add their signature special blend of spices.So when you are digging into Kansas City style Barbecue, make sure you roll up your sleeves a little bit, as it can get messy at times.

OJ's have two locations in Kansas City.While one is located closer to where we stay and is more contemporary in its decor and seating arrangements in general, its the older one, where the celebs head to. The older OJ's has limited seating, and is housed, in a gas station. Yes, you got that right ! People from all across, queue everyday, for a bite in this flavour haven. We decided to head to the older location, for our share of some meaty goodness. Just when you enter the location,the aroma of freshly grilled meat, hits you, and you just cannot wait, till you dig into your own plate.The walls are adorned either with awards and competition memorabilia or framed cutouts of newspaper and magazine articles. And as you wait for your turn to order at the service counter, you immerse yourself in simple awe, with the grilling aroma still playing teasing games with your senses.  As for the menu, we are supposed to pick up print outs of the menu, as we start off in the queue. So by the time, we reach the service counter, we know exactly what to order, with which sides. Since there was such a big choice, it was hard to decide what would be on our plates for that evening. The menu was a meat lover's delight ! Here's a peek :  http://www.oklahomajoesbbq.com/restaurant/menus/CarryoutMenu2011.pdf
 By the time, we had made it to the service counter, there was something I knew I had to try out, along with my choice of meat. It was the reference of Texas Chili which had caught my eye, at a few places around the restaurant. This particular side dish had an extra upfront payment, when one substituted it for the regular sides of fries or coleslaw. The reason being, this particular Chili had been a regular winner at competitions across the country, for years in a row. So I had decided on my side. Now to decide on the meat. Tony had recommended the brisket, burnt ends and the ribs, not necessarily in that order, though. We were a group of four, we decided to opt for all the favorites. So hubby decided on Brisket and Pulled Pork, and the two younger boys opted for Burnt Ends and Sausages.

In a move which will probably impress some Docs(read: father- in- law) back in the homeland, hubby ordered for a serving of a Pig Salad. I am sure, that when those Docs see what was on that Salad, they would rather recommend eating meat. The Greens were there, but so was the warm  Pulled Pork, in quite a substantial helping.Our choice of Honey-Mustard dressing was given separately, so that the salad did not lose its crunch. Well, I did not quite understand that, till we dug in. What we thought to be as Tortilla Chips, was actually fried Pork Rind. Decadence is the right word. The sharp Cheddar and the smoked and chopped Jalapenos, completed the party. If I am served salads like this one everyday,then I don't mind my greens at all.

Given the fact, how biased I can get at times, I decided to stick to my all time favorite. I opted for a Rib Dinner, with a bowl of  fully loaded Texas Style Chili.Half a rack of Pork ribs grilled to perfection and then smothered in the quintessential Kansas City style, sweet and spicy Barbecue sauce.A couple of slices of thick Texas toast and not to forget some pickled cucumber to cut through the grease. Well, we had skipped breakfast and almost lunch, to dig into this mouthwatering goodness at almost very late into the afternoon.

I decided to down a few spoonfuls of  Chili, before I started on my meat. I had asked my Chili to be fully loaded, which meant that the minced beef and beans stew, was topped with chopped jalapenos, red onions and some sharp cheddar. It was a dish fit for the Tornado Alley, as it created a storm of flavours inside. I could just polish off the bowl, by sopping it all up with the bread,and forget about everything else on my plate. I was on a Flavour High almost. Who said, that food cannot be a Hallucinogenic ! But it is not possible to avoid Ribs for a long time. Did my Flavour High mind imagine a halo around the ribs ? ! Nahh, it was my senses playing tricks with me. The Ribs had a lovely char on them, yet the meat was still medium rare and   was fork tender. Just the way I love it. There is a different decadence to medium rare red meat. Something which cannot be  explained in words so well. So I will not even try. No wonder the burnt ends of the Briisket are such a popular dish at this eatery. The char on my ribs was a proof of that. Luckily the ribs did not have a crazy amount of barbecue sauce slathered on them, hence I got away without rolling my sleeves up to my elbows. It was just the right balance of smokiness and flavour and piggy goodness. The pickled cucumber slices were a nice texture to the plate, in between every couple of ribs. It was perfection on a plate, if I might say so.I was supposed to go for some shopping after this lavish meal. Little did I know, that by the time, I finished my plate, I would be too full to walk up to the car, leave alone walk around around in downtown to shop. I did manage to sample some of the fare, which the boys had ordered.The Brisket did come a close second. Next time, I am in OJ's, I have decided to sample their Brisket sandwich.One look around the room, and I knew why Tony had spoken so highly of the Ribs here. Around 80% of the folks who were digging in, had Ribs on their table. Mind you, they were not a small portion(like a half slab of mine), but bigger and meaner portions. Ahhhh..I was in meat heaven !!



A film becomes a hit, when people return to the theatre, to watch it again. Similarly, eateries, become favorites, when people keep going back to them, over and over again.Well, OJ's have become a family favorite of ours, now that we have finally decided to no longer listen to the banter of the Docs back in our homeland(read: father in law), and stick to our love for the reds! So we land up getting our hands greasy a bit too often. Though I must add, that hubby is beating me to it, as he lands up there, every Friday, for lunch with his office buddies ! Well, when something is so good, then its hard not to indulge! Bon Appetit !






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