Monk: Back in 2016, I posted the first of what turned out to be a four part web series from Flatland, the digital arm of Kansas City’s PBS station. This well produced documentary explores the history of the dish, from waste to freebie afterthought to a dish that is now found in most parts of the country and is incorporated into other dishes. The full video is available above.
Description: Burnt Legend, a joint project from KCPT, Flatland and Recommended Daily, peers inside the smoky, rich world of Kansas City barbecue and shines a light on one of the city’s defining foods. Host Jonathan Bender talks to pitmasters, barbecue fans and historians to look into how brisket is smoked, chopped and transformed into a saucy, crispy pile of heaven.
Monk: Tyler Harp of Harp Barbecue has been turning heads with his Texas-influenced barbecue, and Kansas City’s Flatland spends over a day with him as he smokes the meat for a serving at Crane Brewing Company in Raytown, MO.
Description: What does it take to cook barbecue only with wood? We spend the day with Harp Barbecue to find out. Hard-core barbecue enthusiasts define craft barbecue as cooked only using wood, served fresh daily, never reheated and cut to order. And they say there’s only one place really doing it right now in the Kansas City area.
Thrillist recently listed Harp Barbecue as one of the 33 best BBQ joints in America. Locally, 435 magazine recently named Harp Barbecue Kansas City’s number one barbecue spot.
We’re FlatlandKC.org, KCPT’s digital magazine, a destination for local and regional storytelling in and around Kansas City.
Rodney Scott’s barbecue book came out earlier this month and this week he spoke with Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition, and in the feature he opens up more on the current state of the relationship with his dad than I’ve previously read. Sadly, it’s not in a great spot.
“His objection was, you didn’t start this. You’re not the barbecue guy … and he said, you know what, just go open your own place, get away from here,” he says. … “Sometimes I would pass him in certain areas and he would kind of turn his head,” he says. “He wouldn’t even wave if he saw me wave at him.”
However, Rodney Scott is at peace with his decision to strike out on his own, first by opening a restaurant in Charleston and then a second location in Birmingham, AL (with an Atlanta location planned for this summer).
“I want to take over the world with barbecue,” he says. “You could put a whole hog in front of some people and you’re going to get at least 50 to 100 people that’s going to come together and eat. So, in my mind, why not everybody around the world fire up a hog. And I bet you, it’ll be some joy, a whole lot of partying, a lot of smiles. And the world would be a better place.”
Several NC barbecue restaurants are featured in this handy guide of restaurants along I-95 worth a stop
“The heart and soul of the craft barbecue movement [in Kansas City] is located in central Texas”
Monk: Last month, as part of Black History Month Adrian Miller sat down with Flatland, the digital platform for Kansas City PBS, to discuss barbecue’s hidden history not only with black people but also the Native Americans before that. Being a Kansas City-based outlet, the focus is on barbecue of that area, including pioneer Henry Perry as well as Arthur Bryant and Ollie Gates but comes with a warning against the signs of potential erasure of black contributions to barbecue much like has been done with Native Americans and their early contributions to barbecue. A great primer for Miller’s forthcoming book Black Smoke, out next month.
Description: Adrian Miller is on a mission. He wants to ensure the whole story of barbecue is told.
Miller recently sat down with Flatland to discuss a few key findings from his book: “Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue.”
Miller contends the barbecue story, in large part, is one of cultural appropriation. He notes, for example, that Native Americans were the first to barbecue. Enslaved Black people then became pre-eminent. Only later did white people come to dominate the barbecue narrative.