Jun 022008

After parking, walking up and inside the Woodyard BBQ I was ready to declare it the King of all Kansas City Lunch Spots. I had heard about this place for a long time, but only recently figured out what the actual name was and where it was located. Well, it turns out to be right down Merriam Lane a bit from Grandstand in that interesting semi-industrial area where Wyandotte and Johnson Counties run together.

Basically the Woodyard is a humble barbecue operation run out of the bottom floor of a semi-dilapidated house on the South side of Merriam Lane. The place doubles as a literal woodyard, and the parking lot is basically a big gravel pit surrounded by piles of various kinds of chopped wood. The owner waved at us as we drove in. People were parked every which way, redneck style.

As we walked up the steps to a good sized wooden deck we were greeted by the owner who was fiddling around with some wood or something. We were also greeted by a gigantic brick smoker, puffing out great clouds of deliciosity right there next to the seating, which is on the deck. There is a small room with a counter through the front door. That’s where the ordering and condimenting happens. There is a cooler where you can grab the beverage of your choice and a small selection of cheap domestic beers (and corona) available cheaply. My meal came with my choice of drink, and apparently, that includes beer. Gotta love that. The prices are excellent, two of us got out for less than $18 and the portions are large.

The staff brings out your food to you on the deck or wherever you happen to be. The lady at the counter told us we could wander around, hang out, sit wherever and they would find us. There is a separate large pavilion with seating a stone’s throw away from the deck proper, complete with a roof and ceiling fans but it was empty at the time I visited. The Woodyard could throw a serious party with a lot of people if they were so inclined.

Woodyard patio

So there we were, with our car parked awkwardly in a gravel lot, drinking budweiser from a can, sitting on a deck watching a dude who looks like an ex-con flip ribs on the smoker. In other words, it’s a lot like how I spend the rest of my free time. No really, it was like going to a friends summer BBQ, or more like the summer BBQ of someone who you don’t really know that well. There was a even a set of horseshoes sitting on top of the trash can–I was tempted to set up shop there all afternoon.

On to the food:

Let’s get this out of the way first. Woodyard is NOT the best barbecue in Kansas City. It just ain’t. I’ve read and heard glowing things about it all over the place but the truth is that it does not compare favorably to Oklahoma Joe’s, Bryant’s, Jack Stack or (insert your fave bbq place here). But the food is prepared well and the experience is thoroughly enjoyable.

Burnt Ends

Beans were very good but almost certainly dressed up canned beans. The potato salad was run of the mill. The cole slaw was average. The pulled pork, however, was extremely interesting. It lacked the bite that hickory smoked woods give to meat, and was most likely cooked with some sort of fruit wood. But it had an amazing, buttery consistency and very good flavor. The ribs were similarly smoked but a little fatty for my taste. I think they could have used another hour on the smoker, because the texture of the meat was a little too…real. not that I didn’t eat them all. I liked the brisket but it was shaved so thin that it dried out quickly. Plus, I just like a thicker slice of beef, akin to that at Bryants or LC’s.

But I have to say, these are some of the most friendly and easygoing people I have ever encountered in a lunch spot. And the atmosphere is quite compelling. This is a very special place to have in KC and would be really fun to hang out at for a long while with friends. But as a lunch spot? I don’t know if it works. It seems like a place much better savored over a long time than quickly before your 1:30 meeting. It’s a destination place, and everyone should try it.

Read more:

Woodyard Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon


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  7 Responses to “Woodyard BBQ: 3001 Merriam Lane (KCK)”

  1. I am not so big on JackStack,Bryants, etc. To me they are similar to overpriced and not so great Mexican at Manny’s. They are just well known. I like Danny Edwards’. This place sounds neat and my kind of prices.

  2. I don’t frequent Jack Stack often, basically only when family is in town (i.e. when someone else is paying). But I can’t argue with their bbq.

    Rosedale is also pretty good and less expensive than the others.

    I still think Bryant’s is the best, but unfortunately somewhat inconsistent.

    Definitely check out Woodyard, it’s a fun experience.

  3. Try the salmon. I love BBQ, and I know that salmon is the last thing you want to get from a BBQ place, but you should really try the smoked salmon at Woodyard. It’s pretty amazing.

    And unfortunately, I think Woodyard closes at 6pm or something. It’s usually a weekend destination for me.

  4. Just looked this up to see if you did a review on Woodyard as I love the place. They're under new management now & might be worth a visit. I have to 2nd the salmon recommendation.

    They do live music on the patio Thursday nights, with $1 PBR (draft) and they're open until 8pm. I think that goes through September, but it's worth asking. Very kid-friendly too.

  5. SAVE YOUR MONEY!! The only part of BBQ they got right was the spelling!!!

    They should be ashamed of the crap they served us!

    I took the time to post this in the hopes of saving you from dissapointment with WOODYARD BBQ!

    $17.95 I will never get back

    trent willson

  6. I totally dig this place. I have been going there for years for smoker wood and always pick up a lunch to go.

    Glad you found it.

  7. I was first exposed to Woodyard through the last Tour de BBQ cycling event last fall, where they portioned out their pulled pork on buns and boulevard on tap for just a few bucks. I’ve been meaning to get back ever since but they do have limited evening hours, so check ahead!

    I made it there this last weekend and have to say this is easily my new favorite spot. Portions/price are great, atmosphere is one of a kind, and while I haven’t sampled everything (the salmon is on target for my next visit), the ribs and pulled pork are GREAT. Ribs come served *without* a slathering of sauce, but just the simple, unadulturated flavors of good smoke and meat – something I haven’t had the pleasure of in a while. Sorry to hear the review here experienced undercooking – mine fell right off the bone and were perfect!

    Their burnt-ends-chili is a worthwhile venture as well, if you can bring a friend to help down another side (portions!). Will be ordering that again!