I am an avid barbecue lover, and have tried a majority of the barbecue restaurants in KC. While this might not be my favorite place in town, it's certainly on the upper end of my spectrum. Here's a quick recap of my experience at Smokin Joe's BBQ.
I had a sliced brisket sandwich with fries, which was a lunch special. The brisket by itself was a tad bit on the dry side, but was perfectly fine with a splash of sauce. There was a good smoky flavor that help accentuate the nice beefy flavor of the brisket, but not overpowering. There wasn't a smoky aftertaste in my mouth the rest of the day, which is a good indication that their food is not over-smoked. The beef was tender and the connective tissue was rendered just enough to where the meat fibers easily pulled apart with little effort. The beef was sliced rather thin, but not paper thin like you see in lots of restaurants.
The sauce is a simple thin tomato based sauce. There was a tad bit of texture to it, which leads me to believe it was more of a tomato paste or tomato sauce base as opposed to a smooth ketchup base. The sauce was a light red color and didn't contain any of the common sweeteners you find in a traditional KC style sauces (ie, molasses, sorghum, brown sugar, etc). A room temperature squeeze bottle of the sauce is placed on every table, and there's also a holding container on the bar that filled with warmed sauce that you can ladle into small bowls. On this particular day there was a distinct flavor difference between the two sauces, even though the gentleman behind the bar said they were the same recipe. The squeeze bottle tasted like a newer batch, so it had a predominant tomato flavor that wasn't yet mellowed by aging and/or simmering. The warm sauce tasted like the flavors had time to develop and was much more balanced, which was most likely a result of it being heated for a longer period of time. Both of us preferred the warmed sauce over the squeeze bottle.
The fries were just basic crinkle cut potatoes fries. They were fried nice and crisp, and didn't leave much grease on my fingers. I would have liked to have seen some barbecue rub sprinkled on the fries for some added flavor, but I still enjoyed. In all fairness though, seasoned fries could be on the menu and I just didn't see them.
Overall, it was a nice little barbecue joint. No big lines like some of the other places in town, and the food comes out very fast. It's definitely worth a try, and I'll be going back for seconds!
I've been going to Smokin' Joe's for years, and they are always great, and as for price its really not bad considering how much you get, and the fact that its all homemade. I've been to other places considered to be the best BBQ in KC, and possibly the entire country, and honestly I believe Smokin' Joe's ranks up there as well. If you like great BBQ, then you cant pass up Joe's.
We walked in and the counter help was on his cell phone while he was helping a customer. After he finished with him he went to the back and we heard him coughing and yacking, it was disgusting. There were people eating that could hear him, I'm sure they lost their appetite. He came to the front and said sorry I had to cough up a lung. I had the turkey sandwich and my husband had the burnt ends, he said they were ok. My turkey was processed and slimy like cheap lunch meat. The fries were old and they just threw them back in the fryer to heat them up. My husband started feeling sick a few hours after we ate and I felt sick later that evening. I hope we didn't get a disease.
I went to Smokin' Joe's again tonight. It was fantastic. We got an order to go and it was out in record time. I ordered the burnt end sandwich and the onion rings both were top notch.
The other order was for sides only and the fries were good but the cole slaw was teriffic.
The owner told me that he uses his mothers recipe for the slaw and it is creamy and flavored just right.
The help was very polite and the restaurant was very clean. If you are anywhere in the Kansas City area you have to try Smokin Joe's 3 blocks east of the Johnson County Courthouse on Santa Fe St.
Service was average at best, its rude to answer the phone when A customer is placing an order. This place has the WORST bbq sauce I've ever had. A small little place just off Santa Fe in Olathe, Looks like a decent little diner. The ribs were tough, and the sauce was even worse. I had to scrape what I could off the bones before I could try to comsume these meat holders. I wouldnt go back if it was free. Its definitly over priced for the level of bbq your getting.
Went to Smokin Joes with my wife and her son. The first thing that stood out for us was the lackadaisical attitude of the man who waited on us. He didn't seem to want to be bothered with us or our questions about the menu.
The meal was prepared quickly. My sandwich was ok, but nothing spectacular. Wife's son echoed that opinion. Wife's ribs were burnt.
Zarda's was better in service and friendliness and comparable in cost, atmosphere and quality.
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