Pork Barrel BBQ Blog


Restaurant Review – Arthur Bryant’s (Kansas City, MO)

You are sure to get a healthy argument in Kansas City over where to get the best BBQ.  Folks in Kansas City tend to be loyal to their favorite BBQ Joint like your dog is loyal to you.  One of the BBQ Joints that can claim as large of a loyal following as any in Kansas City is Arthur Bryant’s.

Arthur Bryant was know as the “King of Ribs” and some have called him the most renowned barbequer in the history of barbeque.  Arthur got into the barbeque business when he visited his brother Charlie, who worked for Henry Perry who started the Kansas City barbeque tradition.  Arthur never left Kansas City and the world of barbeque after this visit.  After Henry and Charlie died, Arthur took over the business and perfected the sauce.  About the sauce, he once said, “I make it so you can put it on bread and eat it.”

Arthur Bryant’s many loyal fans include New Yorker columnist Calvin Trillin, who once called Bryant’s the best restaurant in the world.  Over the years a number of Presidents have dined at Bryant’s, including Harry Truman (the Kansas City areas hometown President), Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.  Other well known celebrities who have dined at Bryant’s include Steven Spielberg, George Brett, Wilt Chamberlain, Robert Redford and Jack Nicholson.

Bryant’s slow smokes its meats with a combination of hickory and oak woods (Pork Barrel BBQ’s favorite mix of smoking woods) to perfection.  Step up to the counter and order a beef sandwich with white or wheat Wonder Bread.  The man behind the counter slaps down the bread, puts at least a half pound of meat on the bread and then provides a generous slathering of sauce. There is literally enough meat on the sandwich for two or three meals!!!  Don’t forget to add fries, beans and a good helping of pickles and wash it all down with a Boulevard Wheat Beer – Kansas City’s hometown beer.

You’ll find the original Arthur Bryant’s at 1727 Brooklyn Avenue, in downtown Kansas City.  In recent years one has opened up at the Ameristar Casino and at the Legends at the Kansas Speedway. Check out Arthur Bryant’s on the web.

If you need anymore convincing just look at the picture at the top of this blog post and try not to drool all over yourself.


Where In The World is Pork Barrel BBQ – Wyoming

Pork Barrel in WYPork Barrel BBQ’s biggest fan in Wyoming is Tyler Gale!  Any one and a half year old who understands the value of great BBQ is clearly going to have a bright future and maybe a future investor in Pork Barrel BBQ!

Thanks to Steve, Beth, and Tyler for sending us their awesome photo – please send us your photos to

Where In The World Is Pork Barrel BBQ – Stonehenge

You are probably familiar with Flat Stanley, the paper guy kids from around the world have taken to famous spots and not so famous spots for school projects.  We thought it would be fun to see where in the world Pork Barrel BBQ is.  If you are a Pork Barrel BBQ fan and are traveling send us a picture of our Pork Barrel BBQ All-American Spice Rub somewhere in the world with a brief description of where in the world Pork Barrel BBQ is.

Our first picture comes from a trip Heath took in March to the United Kingdom.  The first picture in the “Where In The World Is Pork Barrel BBQ” series is a tin of All-American Spice Rub at Stonehenge.

Send us your pictures at

Happy Travels!!!


Recommended Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures For Meat

Many of the best pit-masters can tell when the meat on their smoker is done just by sight and touch.  For those of us that don’t have BBQ ESP we have to rely on a meat thermometer.  When cooking a pork shoulder, brisket or chicken a meat thermometer is an essential tool for the backyard griller.

Here’s the recommended Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures for various meats:
  • Fresh ground beef, veal, lamb, and pork 160 degrees F
  • Beef, veal, and lamb – roasts, steaks, and chops
    • Medium rare 145 degrees F
    • Medium 160 degrees F
    • Well done 170 degrees F
  • Fresh pork – roasts, steaks, and chops
    • Medium 160 degrees F
    • Well done 170 degrees F
  • Ham
    • Cook before eating 160 degrees F
    • Fully cooked, to reheat 140 degrees F
  • Poultry
    • Ground Chicken or Turkey 165 degrees F
    • Whole Chicken or Turkey 180 degrees F
    • Chicken or Turkey breasts and  roasts 170 degrees F
    • Chicken or Turkey thighs and wings Cook until juices run clear.
    • Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 degrees F
    • Egg dishes, casseroles 160 degrees F
    • Leftovers 165 degrees F

Information courtesy the U. S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service


Product Review – Charcoal Chimney

Charcoal Chimney

Besides your grill, the single most important BBQ tool you need to be a successful pit-master is a charcoal chimney!  What’s a charcoal chimney you ask?  A charcoal chimney lets you quickly light your charcoal without having to use any lighter fluid.  Ensuring from the start that your food won’t taste like lighter fluid is a good thing!

To use the charcoal chimney you simply place some old newspaper in the bottom and then fill the chimney with charcoal and then light the newspaper through the vents at the bottom of the chimney.  A short 15 minutes later your charcoal is ready for grilling!

There are several benefits to lighting your charcoal this way: 1) its faster – you’ll have hot coals in an instant; 2) there is no need for lighter fluid – meaning your food won’t taste like chemicals.  Bottom line – you’re cooking faster and it tastes better!  Charcoal chimnies cost about between 10 and 20 bucks and last for about five  BBQ seasons depending on frequently you use it.  Go pick one up today!

The charcoal chimney gets a 100 out of 100 rating for it’s ease of use and ability to allow every pitmaster to throw away their lighter fluid!

Don’t forget to visit Pork Barrel BBQ on the Internet for all your BBQ sauce and dry rub needs.


Links – Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis

One of the goals of the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog is to provide you, our readers, with resources that help make each of your meals a new adventure in food.  We believe there are few things that define who we are as individuals, families, and cultures more than food.  We also believe that one of the best aspects of food is its ability to expand our knowledge and interest in it through these very same individuals, families, and cultures who hold their food traditions high and with great pride.  In order to do this we begin a new regular blog feature today called Websites and Blogs About Food That You Should Bookmark.  We think these sites are some of the best resources as you begin or continue your life long trek through the culinary world.

Today we highlight our good friend Lauren DeSantis’s Capital Cooking website and blog.


During the week Lauren is an attorney, but on the weekends she is host of public television’s Capitol Cooking with Lauren DeSantis.  According to Lauren’s website, “Capital Cooking is a series exploring the culinary and cultural riches of Washington, DC…Capital Cooking highlights cooking traditions of regional cuisine from all areas of the country as well as international dishes.”

In less than a year (Capital Cooking made its TV debut on May 2, 2008) Lauren’s show has grown in exposure and now reaches 25 cities in the United States and was just picked up in New Zealand!!!  Check out her blog for stations near you that carry Capital Cooking.

In addition to her TV show, Lauren offers cooking classes – if you are interested in hosting a private event drop her an email at

Keep an eye on the Capital Cooking and Pork Barrel BBQ websites and blogs for information on an upcoming episode of Capital Cooking that will focus on BBQ and feature Pork Barrel BBQ!


Kansas City Star – Barbecue Fans Aren’t Reluctant To Voice Opinions

Today’s Kansas City Star has an interesting article on Kansas City BBQ by Joyce Smith titled Barbecue fans aren’t reluctant to voice opinions.  As you can probably tell from past posts, I’m not reluctant to voice my opinion either when it comes to BBQ, especially Kansas City BBQ.  I’ve had good BBQ all over America, and occasionally I even run into great BBQ in my travels.  In Kansas City BBQ is considered a form of art and the people that sweat over smokers for hours at a time while you’re still in bed getting a good nights sleep take their art very seriously.  Next time you are in Kansas City make sure you visit several of the many BBQ joints in the area that don’t just serve good BBQ, they serve great BBQ.  We are big fans of the Kansas City style dry rubs and sauces and hope you’ll give our Pork Barrel BBQ All-American Spice Rub a try.

Posted on Thu, Mar. 05, 2009

Barbecue fans aren’t reluctant to voice opinions

By JOYCE SMITH The Kansas City Star

There’s an old saying that in polite social circles one should never discuss religion, politics or sex.

In Kansas City you might add barbecue to the list.

Almost nothing gets barbecue fanatics riled up as a discussion of Kansas City’s best.

Take the recent reports on the closing — then reopening Wednesday — of Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que in the Kansas City Power & Light District.

Dozens of readers rang in on The Kansas City Star’s business blog, economy.kansascity. com, with such comments as “it turns out Famous Dave’s is actually better than a lot of KC BBQ places” to “a Minneapolis BBQ joint in the BBQ capital of the world — Kansas City? What a joke.”

But there’s no debate that Kansas City is a barbecue town.

Zagat Survey even selected three barbecue places — Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue, Danny Edwards Blvd. BBQ and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue — in its list of top 10 area restaurants for 2008.

So this week I stopped at those restaurants, and more, to get the inside scoop from pit masters themselves on what makes great barbecue.

•Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan.

The technique: “The sauce, the tradition, the way we prepare our meats — slow-smoke it over hickory and oak. The key to barbecue is the pit master. We have three here and all of them have been here over 15 years. We try to prepare it the way Mr. Bryant did 80 years ago,” said Eddie Echols, general manager.

Also on the menu: turkey, sausage.

•Danny Edwards Blvd. BBQ, Kansas City.

In 1980, Danny Edwards went head to head with legendary Gates Bar-B-Q and Arthur Bryant’s. Not only did it survive, it often makes top barbecue lists, right along with them.

“I didn’t worry about what they have, just worried about what I sell,” he said. “You just do your best. I’m the one back here doing the cooking. It really makes me happy seeing all these people at the door every day, even in a depressed economy. They just want a good product at a reasonable price.”

The technique: Juicy slow-smoked brisket using hickory wood.

Also on the menu: Mexican chili, sweet potato fries.

•Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que, Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City Power & Light District.

“Minneapolis, that’s where our company is based, but our flavors and our cooking processes and all that came from all over the country,” said Mat Eastlack, general manager of the downtown Famous Dave’s. “Our founder, Dave Anderson, spent 25 years developing his recipes from all over the country — Kansas City, Memphis, the Carolinas, Texas — and so he takes the best from all those areas.”

The technique: Signature rubs, meat smoked for 2½ to three hours, then cooled. The next day it’s brought up to 160 degrees to help break down the fats and loosen the meat up so it falls off the bone easier. It’s charred on the grill, then sauce is added and the meat is grilled until caramelized.

Also on the menu: chicken Caesar salad, catfish fingers, smoked salmon spread, Cajun chicken sandwich.

•Gates Bar-B-Q, Kansas City, Kansas City, Kan., Leawood and Independence

George Gates II calls Gates a specialty house that concentrates on just making great barbecue.

“Barbecue is an art, it’s a feeling,” he said. “Everybody can paint, but not everybody is an artist. That’s what makes Kansas City so great, because you have so many styles of painting — of artistry of barbecuing.”

The technique: The pit has to be at the right temperature with the right moisture. Ribs start off on the bottom of the pit, close to the fire. The meat is seared to keep the juice in, then moved away from the fire to finish.

“Directly over the fire, not indirect, is what gives us our Gates flavor, along with our Gates spices,” Gates said.

Also on the menu: mutton, turkey, yammer pie.

•Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, Country Club Plaza, downtown, Martin City and Overland Park.

“We really try to focus on the quality of our raw ingredients and preparing all our products fresh from scratch,” said Case Dorman, president.

The technique: Authentic brick pits using 100 percent wood — 60 percent hickory, 40 percent oak — with meat seared at 350 degrees, then moved to a rotisserie smoker to slow-cook and hold the moisture.

Also on the menu: Rack of lamb, seared tuna, vegetable kabobs, entree salads and cheesy corn bake.

•Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue, Kansas City, Kan., and Olathe.

Started as a competition barbecue company, Oklahoma Joe’s opened as a restaurant in 1996.

“There’s a big difference in cooking barbecue in your backyard, cooking barbecue at a competition or cooking barbecue in a restaurant,” said Jeff Stehney, co-owner with his wife, Joy Stehney. “The most important thing when you go from cooking competitively or in the backyard to the restaurant is you obviously have to figure out a way to make money at it … but you do need to stay true to your belief that quality comes first.”

The technique: “Our barbecue rubs are what makes our barbecue stand out. The most important thing is how the barbecue rubs interact with the smoke and the heat,” Jeff Stehney said. “And we use only Missouri white oak to smoke with.”

Also on the menu: Red beans and rice, smoked chicken gumbo, Z-Man sandwich (smoked beef brisket, barbecue sauce, smoked provolone cheese and onion rings).


Let’s Meat on the Avenue Hosts – Beef 101 – Meat from a Butcher’s Point of View

Let's Meat on the Ave.

Visit Let’s Meat on the Avenue online

From our friends at Taste DC -

Beef 101 – Meat from a Butcher’s Point of View
Fee $78.00
March 22nd, 2009 (Sunday) From 3:00pm to 7:00pm
Let’s Meat on the Avenue
2403 Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22301

Join Taste DC as we meet you out at one of Virginia’s best Butcher Shops – Let’s Meat on the Avenue – for a late afternoon class and dinner full of tasting and enjoying many great cuts of Beef!  We’ll spend our time at Let’s Meat on the Avenue learning all there is to know about cuts of beef, where they come from and how to cook them to maximize your tasting pleasure.  Please see the Outline and Schedule Below!  This event is all about the Butcher’s perspective on beef: the how, where and why of choosing the finest steaks in the world!  Our butcher for this class is Steve Gatward, an Englishman who became a butcher early in his career and has learned the ropes from the United Kingdom to a short stop in Australia!  Let’s Meat specializes in pasture-fed, free range and hormone-free meat and poultry raised on local farms, and much of his meats is sourced from an abattoir in Fauquier Virginia – now that’s local!  Also included in this event is a discussion and demonstration of the best selections of beef as well as a full dinner of various beef cuts including New York Strip, Sirloin, English Roast Beef, and Kobe Beef burgers with sides prepared in a cooking demonstration is included in the price of the event.

Beef 101 Class Outline:
Sourcing the Meat – the Cattle Connection:
-Raising Animals (Husbandry)
-Organic vs. Grass-Fed vs. Lot-Feeding
-Discussion of marbling and what makes the best cut of beef
-Flavor components of beef (tenderness, flavor, texture characteristics) with diagram
The Butcher’s Perspective on Beef:
-What Butcher’s Look for in Beef
-Diagram of a Steer and Overview of Various Cuts of Meat
-Carving demonstration displaying where different cuts come from, and how they’ll be served ultimately to the customer
-Discussion of how meat is graded or if graded meat is better than non-graded meat
-Differences between restaurant and supermarket beef
-Choosing beef cuts including the most economical and specialty cuts
Cooking Demonstration and Steak Dinner
-Discussion of how to get the most flavor out of beef, cooking techniques, how different cuts should be cooked (braising, searing, stewing, baking)
-Aging of Meat and it’s effect on quality and flavor
-Doneness of meat methods and why meat needs to rest
-Simple recipes for steaks and side dishes
-Question and Answer and more discussion of beef basics and trade secrets for getting the best deals on beef

PLEASE NOTE: All attendees of this event will get a special one day 10% off discount for all products purchased at Let’s Meat on the Avenue.


Please come in casual clothing for this event.


Pork Barrel BBQ Retail News – the Organic Butcher of mclean To Carry Pork Barrel Products

We are pleased to announce that the Organic Butcher of mclean became Pork Barrel BBQ’s second retail outlet in February.  We would like to thank Don Roden, owner of the Organic Butcher of mclean, for giving Pork Barrel BBQ products a shot, a little known, but emerging, entity to him at the time he agreed to carry our All-American Spice Rub.

The Organic Butcher is a quaint local butcher on Old Dominion Drive in McClean, VA.  Don carries an extensive selection of common and not so common cuts of meat. If you are looking for the traditional he’s your butcher for some of the best boneless ribeye steaks and Frenched lamb racks in the DC area.  If you are looking to go a bit more exotic with your next meal Don has wild boar, moulard duck, pheasant, buffalo, venison, elk and ostrich among others on his list of wild game.  If you live in or around McLean, make Don and the fine folks at the Organic Butcher of mclean your neighborhood butcher and supplier of Pork Barrel BBQ products!!!!

the Organic Butcher of mclean
6712 Old Dominion Drive
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 790-8300

There is no question that Don is doing what he loves and you can be certain he will take care of all your butcher shop needs!

Next time you are in McLean, stop by the Organic Butcher of mclean and thank Don for carrying Pork Barrel BBQ products and take home some of his organic meats, especially some of his wild game cuts. The Organic Butcher of mclean is open Tuesday-Sunday to serve your butcher shop needs. If you are in Charlottesville, VA stop by their second store, the Organic Butcher of cville. Don’t forget to visit the Organic Butcher of mclean on the Internet.


Links – Penzeys Spices

Penzeys Spice

Heath is the real culinary genius of Pork Barrel BBQ – a true master of the BBQ grill and kitchen.  We have a special process for each spice rub we create.  It all starts with a trip to Penzeys Spices – be sure to visit them on the Internet.  We are convinced they have every spice known to man!

For our All-American Spice Rub, Heath purchased over $120 worth of spices and created five different spice rub batches.  We then hosted a meeting of the Pork Barrel BBQ Kitchen Cabinet, a group of 10 of our friends (really an excuse to eat and drink) that test each of our products and gives them the green light before we head to production.  At the end of the evening, we took their comments and Heath made a final spice rub combining the most popular elements of the five spice rub batches!

Pork Barrel BBQ All-American Spice Rub contains Heath’s secret blend of 14 herbs and spices.  I was really amazed to see the final list – you’ll never be able to guess all the ingredients, but you’ll no doubt agree that they sure do taste great together!!!