Folks from Kansas City aren’t shy about their love for meat and all things barbecued. If it can be thrown into a smoker, rubbed with spices, and slathered with a messy sauce, it’s a winner. From your basic grilled plates to your more elaborate beef and pork creations, it’s safe to say vegetarians are few and far between in Kansas City — and that's OK.

Photo credit: Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner

Engage in the Great Burnt Ends Debate

The only time “burnt” should ever be used as a descriptive noun for culinary enjoyment is when they apply to burnt ends. A Kansas City staple, burnt ends are bite-sized pieces of meat cut directly from a brisket that are re-smoked for extra flavor. Locals will debate heavily over who does it best -- LC’s or Oklahoma Joe’s. Try both for yourself and be the real judge.

Photo Credit: Jon Williams

Go Back to the Basics

Woodyard BBQ doesn't look like a restaurant — or a place — even really worth stopping at. Locals know not to judge a book by its cover though. Originally a small lumberyard and hardware shop, the place took a turn for the unexpected when the owner realized his daily staff lunches could turn a profit, as well. When it’s warm enough, grab a seat on one of the picnic tables out back or grab a meal to go.

Photo Credit: Michele Hubacek

Don't Forget the Sides

It’s not proper barbecue without the fixings, and the best in town are from Fiorella’s Jack Stack. With multiple locations around the city, all of them include a side called “cheesy corn bake.” It’s essentially a Midwesterner’s take on mac ‘n cheese, but with corn. Different? Yes. Heavenly? You betcha.

Photo Credit: Adam Kuban

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Folks in Kansas and Missouri are more likely to offer you some wild hog meat before they talk about chicken. However, they aren’t the type to shy away from frying up a basket of white meat, too. Only at Stroud’s can you find the perfect balance of extra crispy skin and succulent, melt in your mouth chicken. In fact they’ll be the first to tell you, they’ve spent the last 80 years “choking their own chickens.”

Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski

Top it Off

The best way to cure the meat sweats is with a strong drink. With a deep-rooted Irish past and sports bars galore, you won’t find the locals hanging out at the typical college bar. Instead, they toast the great Daniel Boone at Kelly’s Westport Inn, talk baseball at Kelso’s, and close out the night at Town Topic.