Kansas City is famous the world over for its barbeque. It all started in the early 1920s, when Henry Perry, the "Father of KC Barbeque," began selling barbeque that he'd cooked in an outdoor pit, wrapped in newspaper. Others emulated Perry's style, and the rest is history. Every local has his or her own favorite joint, but the undisputed "Big Three" of KC barbeque are Arthur Bryant's (1727
Brooklyn Ave.), Gate's (3205 Main St.), and Fiorella's Jack Stack (13441 Holmes Rd., near 135th St.) Though Kansas City barbeque is all slow-smoked, usually over hickory wood, each establishment has its own special recipe for meats and sauce. No matter where you go, make sure you try the KC's defining delicacy: burnt ends (the dry, blackened ends of the brisket).
You won't get stellar service, you won't have to dig very deep—prices range from $8 to $15 at all barbeque joints. The American Royal BBQ Contest
(www.americanroyal.com) is a two-day festival held in the West Bottoms neighborhood each October. It's the largest amateur competition of its kind in the world, and it's a great way to sample a lot of local flavor in one stop.