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Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ – Leawood

OKJslawOKJbrisketI shouldn’t have done it. It was the first day of big weight loss competition and I had a great workout and did some solid Christmas shopping that day. But as I drove north on Roe, intending to head home and cook up some healthy ground turkey breast, I saw the sign. It was right there… favorite Kansas City barbeque so easily accessible. I didn’t have to drive to the middle of those Kansas-side neighborhoods where I can never find my way around, or stand in a long line outside the front door of an old gas station (as cool as it truly is). Nope it was an easy right turn with lots of nearby overflow parking. Almost without consciously making the decision, my feet hit the brakes and my hands turned the steering wheel in for what I knew would be a fantastic meal!OKJtable

I’ve only been to the original, ultra-cool Oklahoma Joe’s a couple times (had the pleasure of enjoying their catering many times), but I knew even this new location with its spacious dining room would be packed on a Saturday night.

Nicely laid out, the line for ordering snaked around a partition wall edging the dining room. I was shocked at how quickly I made it to the front. The five or six minutes I had in line almost weren’t enough to make the difficult decision of what to order. Luckily, as I approached the counter there were a couple of specials posted on the wall – combo meals. It was a tough choice, but I think the names of the specials made the decision for me. Since I was supposed to be adhering to a strict diet starting TODAY, I didn’t think the “Hogamaniac” was my best option. So, I ordered the “Cowboy”: beef brisket, two ribs and Joe’s smoked sausage. It was on a tray and in my hands in less than 90 seconds. Now that’s impressive.OKJinterior

I had no problem finding a seat. There were three to four tables open within sight of the pick-up counter.

A nice couple sitting next to me struck up a conversation when they saw me photographing my food – offered up their pile of empty plates and dirty napkins. I said “Of course I want a picture of that!”  because that shows how good it really is. The couple told me some weekends they eat there, the line is out the door and takes nearly a half hour to put in your order.

Well, after the dinner I had, I’d say it’s definitely worth the wait. Apparently, plenty of others think so toOKJribo. As I devoured my dinner the line grew longer and the dining room became fuller.

My favorite were the ribs. Oh my! They were nice and meaty with a lovely thin crust of sauce cooked into the edge. I bit in and got the most wonderful flavor from the tender juicy meat. These were ribs I would be coming back for…and bringing friends! As I sat down a half-eaten rib to take another photo, the meat started to slide off the bone. Every bite was superb and I the small sampling I had left me wanting more. Even now as I write this, I want more Joe’s!

I’m not usually a brisket fan. There are a only a few places I will order it, but Oklahoma Joe’s does it right. The thinly sliced beef was tender with a pleasant mild smokiness.

OKJsausageThe sausage was very nice – not too spicy, but still a good amount of kick. You could still taste the other flavors and seasonings, not just spice. It played well with the Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ sauce. This stuff is what gets you The Perfect Bite! It’s a rich and savory sauce with the perfect balance of seasonings. It’s not too sweet, but still gives a hint of brown sugar. What stood out to me was the distinctness of so many flavors it contained – this was a well-made sauce. And there was an interesting aftertaste that left a little bit of spiciness on my tongue. Not enough heat to need to tamp it down, but it left something there that made me want another bite.

Oklahoma Joe’s beans are the best barbeque beans in town, in my opinion. I love them because they’re not sugary sweet. I hate beans that taste like I’ve already moved on to dessert. These are almost a masterpiece of ingredients. Three kinds of beans make an otherwise ugly dish more visually appealing. There are sizeable chunks of pork, and it’s seasoned with enough contrast to the house sauce that I don’t feel like I’m having VanCamp’s covered in a jar of bbq sauce.OKJbeans

I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about my meal. Even the Texas Toast – which I tried to avoid because of that “diet” thing – tasted amazing.

I’m afraid I may have started a bad habit. It’s gonna be hard to drive past this Joe’s location in the future and not stop for their outstanding fare. We’re lucky we’ve now got three locations to choose from. Now it’s just time for them to open a location in the Northland!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Alvin May #

    I am constantly amazed how food writers in KC always ignore the 1st and best legend BBQ in town which is Bryant’s. Okla Joes is ok, but not up to par with Bryant’s.

    December 4, 2012
  2. Shamrock #

    Oklahoma Joes and BBs can compete for worst beans in KC.

    December 7, 2012

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