The Regional Barbecue That Was Anthony Bourdain's Favorite

Barbecue buffs have long debated which U.S. region is home to the nation's best barbecue. From smoky, slow-cooked Texas brisket to sweet Tennessee-style pork ribs, this regional rivalry is a never-ending Olympic sport that can be only settled by food's former bad boy — the late Anthony Bourdain. Although you might not be in exact agreement with the city and state that Bourdain crowned the best barbecue in America, even the most brazen barbecue devotee recognizes the weight of Bourdain's acclaim.

In 2011, Bourdain penned an editorial piece for Men's Health titled "13 Places to Eat Before You Die." Although it was 13th on the list, Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas made the cut. Now called Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que, the iconic foodie, restauranteur, and world traveler praised the restaurant saying: "The brisket (particularly the burnt ends), pulled pork, and ribs are all of a quality that meet the high standards even of Kansas City natives. It's the best BBQ in Kansas City, which makes it the best BBQ in the world."

Texans, take a deep breath, because not only was the Kansas City institution one of Bourdain's favorite restaurants, but in saying so, he also enthroned the Kansas metropolis as the best regional barbecue in America. Time to look up flight deals to Kansas, eh?

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que hours of operation and locations

With Anthony Bourdain's seal of approval, it's only right that you'd want to make a trip down (or up) to Kansas City to get a taste of some of that charred, smoky meat from Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Luckily for hungry customers, the coveted barbecue joint has generous hours of operation across multiple locations.

The original restaurant, which operates out of a gas station, is located in the heart of Kansas City. However, Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que also has locations in Olathe and Leawood, Kansas. The Bourdain-celebrated restaurant also features its award-winning barbecue alongside a variety of upscale provisions at The 180 Room – a reservation-only private events venue in Olathe.

The no-frills Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and extends its closing hours to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. However, all locations are closed on Sunday.

What to order at Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que

Seeing that Anthony Bourdain included Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que on a short list of places you should eat before you die, it's safe to assume that the entire menu is satisfying and satiating to boot. But knowing which menu items are best will help inform your decision so that you can get the most out of your experience at this must-try barbecue shack.

The Z-man sandwich, advertised on their storefront, is a tried-and-true Joe's classic. The sandwich is fashioned with barbecue-sauce slathered, slow-smoked beef brisket, smoky provolone cheese, and crispy onion rings on a sliced, toasted Kaiser roll. If you're not in the mood for beef, you can order the Z-man with pork, chicken, or portobello mushrooms.

When it comes to sides, you can't miss by ordering the rich, decadent BBQ beans, flavorful dirty rice, cole slaw, or creamy potato salad — quintessential barbecue sides thoughtfully designed to balance the machismo of saucy, charred meat. Whatever you do, don't skip the tangy pickle slices to tie it all together.

Of course, if you want to eat like Anthony Bourdain, order the fatty and flavorful burnt-end dinner platter served with one side and Texas toast (oh the irony), or anything featuring pulled pork, or a full slab of ribs. In true Bourdain fashion, you'll want to wash it down with an ice-cold beer.