(Photo Credit kansastravel.org)
Oklahoma Joe’s has two locations in the greater Kansas City area, one in downtown Kansas City, KS, and the other, the location I visited, in Olathe, KS, better know as the Johnson County area. I was a little put off at first by Oklahoma Joe’s location inside this strip mall, but I often find the best food comes from the most unassuming locations. More importantly, if Anthony Bourdain and Adam Richman are going to back this place up as the best bbq in the world, well hell yeah I’m in. Unlike this photo above, when we visited Oklahoma Joe’s the line went from the back of the restaurant, through the restaurant, out the door, and around the block. The Sunday afternoon after Christmas this place was absolutely packed.
The walls of the Olathe Oklahoma Joe’s location are covered in bbq competition awards. There are trophies in the entrance, and huge prize checks to the “Slaughterhouse Five” competitive bbq team for awards on everything bbq up to the “whole hog” competition. Oklahoma Joe’s has tvs scattered around the dining area so you can catch the Chiefs playing Sunday football, and the vibe from the guests is exactly what you would expect from a bbq and football joint. Lots of large midwest families and large midwest bbq eaters.
(Photo Credit travel.usatoday.com)
Despite the line being so long, we actually moved through the line fairly quickly. All the meat has been cooking all morning, so all the employees need to do is cut it off the hogs it’s been smoking on. When we got to the front of the line, we ordered a full rack of pork ribs to split between the four of us, as well as sandwiches and fries for each of us. The full rack of ribs was only $20, and the sandwiches were ~$6 each. This is pretty unbelievable for the shear amount of meat you get served.
The full rack of ribs was more than the 4 of us could probably have eaten by itself, much less as an appetizer for our “house specialty” pulled pork sandwiches. We definitely could have gone for the 1/2 rack. The bbq sauce is everything an award winning sauce should be, rich and sweet, and slathered on fall-of-the-bone juicy ribs. While the ribs were already covered in sauce, I still recommending giving the ribs a second coating of either the house specialty sauce, or a dash of the extra spicy sauce.
(Photo Credit columbiatribune.com)
The other must-order while at Oklahoma Joe’s is the pulled pork sandwich. While pulled pork sandwich and ribs might be a little pork overload, you can 1/2 and 1/2 your sandwich meat with a lighter turkey meat, or a richer bbq beef. Either is a great compliment on the bbq sandwich. Again, sauce up the sandwich with some extra bbq sauce, because you really can’t find better bbq sauce anywhere in the world than Kansas City.
While we were eating, we were able to watch some of the “old pros” of Oklahoma Joe’s navigate the line. The best pro-move we saw all day was one older gentleman ordering a beer from the take-out line while he waited for his food in the dining-in line, so he could sip a beer for the entire ~30min wait in line. Very very pro.