Q39 – Kansas City, MO

Name: Q39
Date: 6/8/21
Address: 1000 W 39th St, Kansas City, MO
Order: Beef brisket plate (with burnt ends), add pulled pork, side of white bean cassoulet (link to menu)
Pricing: $$$

Speedy: I recently embarked on a cross-country roadtrip with my brother (same parents variety, not blog-about-barbecue-with variety), which took us through Kansas City. Of course we had to find a place for ‘cue in the burnt ends capital. After a bit of research, we settled on Q39, a more up-ish-scale restaurant that is (relatively) new on the scene, opening in 2014.

We walked in on a Tuesday night, and the place was packed, but after a short wait, we were seated. Q39 has tables and a wait staff, and a large bar area, as well as outside seating. It’s decorated in a rustic fashion, and overall, was a nice atmosphere.

My order was easy – the beef brisket plate (which comes with burnt ends and slices), but I did add on some pulled pork and the Bro went with the housemade chipotle sausage plate, as well as the onion straw appetizer.

While service was good overall, the wait was a bit longer than normal for a barbecue joint (perhaps due to the crowd), but still, our food was out shortly.

Let’s not bury the lede. In Kansas City, burnt ends are king, and Q39’s burnt ends were the star of the show. Tender but not too fatty, with a nice sauce that had a hint of sweetness, every bite was flavorful and a real treat. At Q39, there is a burnt ends appetizer (which they were not serving that night), but otherwise, you cannot order the burnt ends alone – only with the brisket plate. This is too bad because the slices on the brisket place were not too exciting. They were served with sauce already applied, which was necessary on the lean brisket that was on the dry side. It still had decent flavor, but paled in comparison to the burnt ends.

Monk: Interesting that you can’t get the burnt ends without ordering the brisket. I wonder if this is the norm in Kansas City, or a case where Q39 is looking to save costs.

Speedy: Hard to know, Monk. I assume they’re cooking full briskets, so trying to sell at the same rate. I think this also explains why your brisket just comes lean – the point has already been used. The pork was also served sauced, which I felt was a mistake. The “zesty” sauce does have a vinegar base, but is also loaded with sugar, favoring sweetness over tang. The pork was cooked well and had decent flavor, but the sauce took away from the flavor for me.

Monk: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a KC barbecue joint uses a sugary sauce on their pork.

Speedy: The Bro’s sausage was my second favorite part of the meal. The homemade sausage had good flavor, nice snappy casing, and was not greasy at all. Overall a good effort. 

The white bean cassoulet is a side I’ve never seen our heard of, but from a taste standpoint, it was basically Brunswick stew. It was very hot out – so not stew weather – but I would order it again. The Bro loved his baked beans (I didn’t try any), and the onion straws (with barbecue remoulade) were really good, and worth ordering.

Overall, I would recommend a visit to Q39 to anyone in Kansas City, especially if you focus your attention on the burnt ends. 

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Burnt Ends – 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs

Bobby’s BBQ – Fountain Inn, SC

Name: Bobby’s BBQ
Address: 1301 N Main St, Fountain Inn, SC 29644
Order: 1/2 lb brisket, 1/2 lb pork, 1 original sausage, 1 jalapeno cheddar sausage, corn pudding, mac and cheese, green beans (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Octavius “Tay” Nelson and his wife, Sarah opened Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn, SC after Tay spent a few years learning how to smoke from YouTube videos. Yes, really. Tay actually originally grew up in Fountain Inn and Bobby’s is named after both his dad and brother (Bobby Sr and Jr) who both passed away within a few months of each other in the late 00’s. Tay came up with a barbecue seasoning first in 2010 and the restaurant came later in 2018.

The restaurant is central Texas-inspired which as mentioned above, Tay learned from watching different tutorials on YouTube. The Texas of it all is evident if you take a peek into the smoke room and see two huge offset pits with stacks of wood.

As for the barbecue, I found it to be above average but not transcendent. The brisket had good flavor but was not the most neatly sliced by the meat cutter, who hacked and sliced through the end of a brisket.

The pork was dry which is almost to be expected from a Texas-style joint at this point.

On this day, they had two sausages, both an original and a jalapeno cheddar. Of the two, I preferred the jalapeno cheddar, though both were above average.

From a sides perspective, both the mac and cheese and corn pudding shone, and I particularly liked the corn pudding. The green beans were a bit bland and were cooked within an inch of their life.

Bobby’s BBQ is a great story, with food that mostly backs it up as well as a great setting. It’s worth seeking out in the greater Greenville area.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 2.5 hogs
Sausage – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

Linkdown: 4/28/21

Featured

Mr. Barbecue re-opened last month after two years of closure due to a fire, but thankfully owner Jimmy Carros never considered either a) closing or b) not rebuilding the wood-burning smoke pits. To quote him from the Eater story below:

“The thought never really entered my mind,” Carros said.

“The flavor that you get from the wood-burning pits is not easily matched,” he explained. “I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’m not sure I can do it.”

As a classic NC barbecue fan and one who enjoyed his visit to Mr. Barbecue a few months before the fire, I heap the highest of praise to Carros for that thinking. And others appreciate it too, as Mr. Barbecue was recently recognized in the Eater’s Carolinas list of best restaurants in Winston-Salem.

Mr. Barbecue is currently open for drive-thru orders only.

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In what was (somewhat embarrassingly) one of the oldest barbecue restaurant’s in Charlotte, the Tyvola Rd. outpost of the Sonny’s BBQ chain closes this Friday

K&N BBQ makes Axios Charlotte’s list of best food trucks; and they recommend you try the pork and brisket

Picnic and Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue make Eater’s list for Durham

Adam Richman (of Man vs Food fame) visited Midwood Smokehouse last week

Non-Native News

Black Smoke is now out, and this in except from the book; the story of Marie Jean of Pine Bluff, AR and her role in barbecue history is uncovered

John Tanner’s Barbecue Page has a fascinating story about barbecue and the law in the landmark case of Katzenbach v. McClung and Ollie’s in Birmingham

Robert Sietsema releases his latest barbecue list for NYC for Eater

Sietsema’s also got the deets on where to get a Frito Pie in NYC, including Mable’s Smokehouse in Williamsburg

I’m seeing the house made sausage trend in NC more too

Congrats to Eliana Gutierrez for one year as a pitmaster at Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Southern Soul Barbeque – St. Simon’s Island, GA

Name: Southern Soul Barbeque
Address: 2020 Demere Rd, St Simons Island, GA 31522
Order: Three meat platter with pork, brisket, and sausage with Brunswick stew, hush puppies, collards, and potato salad (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Southern Soul Barbeque is a highly-regarded barbecue joint located in the Golden Isles of Georgia, specifically St. Simon’s Island. In 2018 it tied with Lexington Barbecue in a Southern Living reader’s poll after winning the 2017 poll. On my way back from Spring Break in Amelia Island, I made the family take an hour’s detour to check it out. My expectations were sky high.

Southern Soul is housed in an old gas station and smokes their barbecue in Lang Smoker stick burners, so they immediately check a couple of important boxes. For a first time visitor, parking is a bit of a mess seeing as how it is situated on a traffic circle, but that could also be considered part of the experience.

For our three meat combo I went with with pork, brisket, and sausage. Even though there will almost certainly be a line when you visit during the lunch hours, the line moves quickly and the food came out within just a few minutes. We got a picnic table underneath the awning and I dug in.

Starting off, the pork was on the dry side and a buddy who visited later in the same week noted the same thing. It cried out for one of their excellent sauces.

The brisket was haphazardly cut and was quite fatty with not all the fat rendered completely. While not the prettiest it had actually did have pretty good flavor. A carefully arranged Central Texas tray this was not.

The sausage had good flavor but was also on the dry side. The mustard sauce paired quite well with it.

Each platter comes with Brunswick stew and although you can substitute it for something like fries, I wouldn’t suggest it. This was the best Brunswick stew I’ve ever had, which is a nice tribute to the nearby town of Brunswick that (apparently incorrectly) claims to be the birthplace of the stew. Whatever you do, be sure to get the Brunswick stew.

Our hush puppies came out fresh and were perfectly cooked orbs with a slight hint of sweetness. The collards were somehow both too bland and too spicy; it needed several dashes of vinegar. The potato salad was solid.

Overall, I left a little Southern Soul Barbeque a bit disappointed. I was all set to load up on their well designed merch but after the slightly disappointing meal I opted not to. They’ve got a great reputation, so perhaps I hit them on an off day.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sausage – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs