A historical timeline of Kansas City barbecue

There’s a lot of history behind that piece of smokey brisket on your fork and the bottle of lip-smacking sauce in your fridge. Find out how Kansas City became the iconic barbecue destination that it is today.


On July 3, the first bridge across the Missouri River brings a boom to Kansas City. Locals celebrate with a massive barbecue.


Memphis native Henry Perry opens the city’s first barbecue spot in an alley. Offerings include woodchuck, possum and raccoon.


Iconic black newspaper The Call celebrates the 25th anniversary of Perry and notes there are “more than a thousand barbecue stands” in the city.


Anthony Rieke opens Rosedale Bar-B-Q, the oldest family-owned pit in the city. Former employees go off to start spots like Wyandot and Johnny’s.


Henry Perry dies, leaving his second ‘cue spot to employee Charlie Bryant, brother of Arthur.


George and Arzelia Gates buy Ol’ Kentucky Bar-B-Q. George plans to maximize profits on bootleg whiskey, but Arzelia insists otherwise.


Calvin Trillin declares Arthur Bryant’s the best restaurant in the world in the pages of Playboy.


Oklahoma Joe’s opens in a gas station in KCK.


Anthony Bourdain names Joe’s the best barbecue in the world. One year later, Bourdain recants and pledges fealty to Texas.

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