Our recent road trip to Kansas City was specifically focused on finding great barbecue restaurants – Kansas City style barbecue restaurants. We never anticipated that a little strip mall contestant, The BBQ Shack, in tiny Paola, Kansas would beat out the big city names, but oh, how the mighty have fallen! Read on. . .
The BBQ Shack – Paola, Kansas is about 40 minutes south of Kansas City proper, and I wondered if making the drive would be worth it. Featured on “Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins,” the BBQ Shack was touted by Food Network host Guy Fieri as the “real deal.” Set in a bland little Paola strip mall, The BBQ Shack is serious – check out all they know and share here – about wood-fired Kansas City style barbecue. “It’s no disgrace to get sauce on your face,” advises the menu. The friendly server steered me toward my latest addiction, corn nuggets, a southern deep fried creamed corn confection that is reminiscent of a hush puppy, but wayyyy much better. I knew I’d be looking for it on the menu at other barbecue restaurants. Forever.
When asked for a recommendation, our server was glad to help: “Honey, I love the brisket here,” she said, conspiratorially, and she was right. Kansas City style barbecue brisket at the BBQ Shack is a sublime experience, the best I’ve ever eaten. Pete’s ribs arrived almost pre-historically huge. We dove in with gusto. We each had a couple of sides: baked beans and coleslaw. They were almost superfluous. My stomach was full and my mouth wanted more brisket and corn nuggets. We both could have sat there for days and kept eating. “Who could’ve ever known about the BBQ Shack?” we kept saying on the drive back north to Kansas City proper. Thanks, Guy!
Overall rating: Best of Trip! Don’t Miss!
We’d love to see your recommendations in the comments!