It’s summer in Kansas City — a great time to enjoy the long days by firing up your grill or smoker. The only problem with buying that perfect slab of marbled pork shoulder to smoke? You have to wait hours and hours to eat.
There are a handful of Kansas City shops that solve this dilemma by offering not only beautiful cuts to cook at home, but also prepared offerings to give you sustenance as you cook. Here are five to try.
McGonigle’s was founded in 1951 and still sits off Ward Parkway on the west side of the Waldo neighborhood. The shop is now in the hands of a third generation as a neighborhood corner grocery with a large butcher counter offering aged steaks and the best Italian sausages in town. Out front you’ll find a food cart that presents the wares in fine fashion, smoking up ribs, sausages, brisket and pulled pork. The best bargain on the board is the half-slab of ribs ($8.75) and a styrofoam container crammed with waffle fries dusted in umami-dense Parmesan.
It takes some chutzpah to fire up your smoker in the shadow of a Gates Bar-B-Q, but that’s exactly what Fritz’s does on State Line Road. The German-tradition Fritz’s claims to be Kansas City’s oldest smokehouse, tracing its roots to 1927. This location opened in 1969 and sells turkeys, sausages, hams and the like to go. You can also order a hot meal from a BBQ menu that changes daily with the exception of the static sausages — they’re smoked dark and served up in a bun cradled in tin foil for just $2.75.
Back in February, Local Pig took over the former Winslow’s BBQ space in the River Market. Half the space is a bougie butcher shop selling items like bone marrow butter, coffee maple breakfast sausage and Curtido cabbage relish. The other half is a pig-centric sandwich shop that aims for elevated takes on banh mi and pork tenderloin sandwiches. The flagship smoked sando is the pork brisket ($9) slathered in sticky sweet sauce and topped with fried onions, pickles and cheddar.
It’s not a traditional ’cue spot, but you can get smoke-kissed meats on Saturdays at this massive meat shop in Kansas City, Kansas. The Bichelmeyer family sources beef from their own ranch in Williamsburg, Kansas. Many of the folks staffing the shop’s 60-foot counter are Latino, and on Saturdays their families come out to set up a taco counter with a hand-scrawled menu that consists of double-stuffed tacos at $3 each. The tacos are served on corn tortillas hot out of the frying oil and are loaded down with meat, giving them a homespun, backyard cookout quality. To taste the flames, steer toward the smoked pork chop, the grilled asada and the barbacoa.
Werner’s Fine Sausages
Werner’s traces its history to Swanson’s, a Scandanavian shop that opened in Westport way back in 1898. German-born Werner Wohlert bought the Scandanvian shop and added his native foodstuffs to the mix. The shop moved to the walkable main drag of Mission in 1973, where it still sits today. Owner David Miller imports foodstuff from the old country, a business that’s not booming like it used to because, he says, so few Europeans are immigrating to the States anymore. On a daily basis, the cold case is stacked with European meats, but the only house-smoked meat to eat there comes on the turkey sandwich. On Saturdays you’ll see a line outside as Werner’s cooks up six different sausages on the sidewalk. The beer cheese brat is highly recommended.