Wednesday, November 4, 2009
KANSAS CITY: Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue
101 W 22nd St
Kansas City, MO 64108
Open M-Thur 11-10, F-Sat 11-10:30, Sun 11-8
"The wait is sixty to ninety minutes", said the hostess. This joint was hopping from the American Royal crowd, not to mention the NASCAR and "Farmageddon" (Iowa State vs. Kansas State) crowds, but we were there for the long haul. A few Boulevard beers on draught from the crowded bar helped to ease things along, and we were into a white clothed table in a mere forty minutes. Lighting was at about candlelight level, so reading the menu was a chore and the photos from dinner are terrible, but the food was good. The menu is full of smoked options along with steaks and seafood, and you won't find your average 'cue sides here either. Choices range from smoked baked beans with brisket drippings to the famous cheesy corn bake. I had searched this menu online several times before the big day, so I was already set.
Crown Prime Beef Ribs are not your usual beef rib. They are thick cut leaving plenty of the prime rib portion on the rib. They are then smoked and cut into four inch thick behemoths. A single rib was enjoyed as an appetizer by our table. Ravenously hungry, we tore into the rib before proper photo documentation, but only about 1/4 of the rib made it on my plate which made for several mouthfuls of tender beefyness. Smoke was not able to penetrate the entire cross section, but bites that included the thick crust had plenty of smokiness.
Another appetizer offered was an array of burnt ends, and we opted for the pork burnt ends. These were essentially chunks of pork that had been charred over an open flame. The result tasted more like charcoal than BBQ.
Among their many rib possibilities, Jack Stack is probably most famous for their lamb ribs. With all of the fat in these ribs, it was good thing it was well rendered. Given the strong gamey flavor, it was hard to distinguish any smoke. I usually enjoy lamb, but I wouldn't order these again. The pork ribs were better if unmemorable. They came with a slathering of sweet sauce and also had little smokiness. The meat was plenty tender, but it was almost too mushy.
A plate of sliced sausage was above average for KC 'cue. The meat had a medium grind with a seasoning similar to italian sausage although it is consistently referred to as their special recipe Strawberry Hill polish sausage. My guess is that it's made by Krizman's. The casing had a good snap, and the overall flavor was excellent.
Brisket (not pictured) was thin sliced with moderate smokey flavor. The lean meat tasted mainly of roast beef. The sides were all they are billed to be. The hickory pit beans had a deeper smokiness than the meats and the sweetness was almost caramelized into the beans. Onion rings are enormous, crispy, and satisfying, and the cheesy corn bake is a new favorite.
Jack Stack is not your average BBQ joint. Their huge selection of items, and their white tablecloths seem to be suited to please the masses, but the quality of the meat is above average, and their attention to the non-BBQ items does not take away from their smoked items. I will surely return when I'm in KC again.
Posted by BBQ Snob at 7:16 AM
Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT