Aug 192008

There are three places in Kansas City called Smokestack and this is the only one I’ve been to. There’s one in the northland, one in South KC and this one in Not-As-Far South KC on Wornall road. Anyone know if these are the same operation or just have the same name?

Smokestack is not the best BBQ in the city but it is rather good, and there is something really appealing about the place. It’s not a dive by any stretch but it is very old fashioned. If I recall correctly, it is carpeted and the walls are wood paneled. The “entryway” is defined by a handyman’s wall made from unpainted lattice. My favorite part? The walls are covered with huge, blown-up family portraits taken circa 1973. God I really need to get my camera back, sorry folks, it was stolen by an Oregonian caterer last month. So I’ll have to steal photos from the Smokestack web site.

Looks good, eh?

There is table service at Smokestack, which blows my mind every time I witness it at a BBQ joint. But here, it really fits. This is an old school family run business and I’d say most of the folks running the show are on the older side. I think Smokestack is intended to be a place for “regular folks” to have a nice meal out in KC. In other words, just go with it. They are great servers, all business, no bullshit, big hair.

They aren’t much for presentation at this place, but they certainly give you a nice portion of smoked meat. They have everything you could possibly want in a Kansas City BBQ joint and offer a number of combinations for folks like me who just can’t decide what to try. Like most places they push the ribs in a lot of their combos, probably because they cost more than most other things. I also think ribs are a little more forgiving to the novice cook. I’ve smoked some good ribs in my day but have yet to make a brisket that’s worthy of my mailing address. Oh, have I mentioned that I don’t think the ribs are all that great at Smokestack? They are the “fall off the bone” variety which always reminds me of pot roast rather than BBQ. I like tender meat that still has some integrity and adheres to the bone. These are on the fatty side as well. They remind me of those at the Woodyard.

The beans however, are particularly good. On the sweet side for sure very sweet but tomatoey, with nice chunks of smoked pork in them. The standard side portion is 4 oz, however, which is basically useless. Do yourself a favor and get the large side or you’ll wind up with a veritable shot glass of a souffle cup full of beans. Speaking of beans, they have really good ones at McGonigles when they are out selling BBQ.

The beef and pork are both very good. They have steak fries here which I just don’t get. They don’t have to fry fresh potatoes to make me happy, but I really dislike the mealy, heavy, limp-dick quality that pre-made steak fries usually have. I always find myself eating the smaller, crispier nuggets.

Prices are fine. You’ll eat your ass off for 10-12 bucks, including tip.
There are a couple other BBQ spots that you could choose from in the general vicinity. That place Jake’s up a ways on Wornall appears to be closed and replaced with something terrible. BB’s is not far, same with the aforementioned McGonigles. But Smokestack is a nice easy stop if you work in Waldo, or are out buying random crap at Goodwill across the street (which is what I was doing).

So, it’s a decent place, probably much better for lunch than dinner Why? Well it has to do with my biggest complaint: No beer.

Read more:

Smoke Stack Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon


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  8 Responses to “Smokestack Bar-B-Q: 8920 Wornall – CLOSED”

  1. I think Northland Smokestack is not related. It’s not too bad but not worth a separate trip.

  2. so, here’s the scoop.

    the original smokestack, back in the early 50s, was off of 71 highway, up and around the bend from the south town dump. or, just south of old fairyland.

    i grew up not to far away. my old man was friends with the owners so i ate more burnt ends as a kid thaen you could imagine.

    anyhow, that site’s dead in the water: when you get a new camera, run buy and take a couple of shots for posterity…


    I’ve got the original bean recipe. you’ll have to brave my site here to get it. and i will apologise in advance: i was, you know, ‘fixing’ it today and now all single posts are waaaaaaay below the sidebar.

    the beans are worth it, though…

  3. Wow, the bean recipe! I was expecting to see a healthy dose of spun gold or perhaps a dash of platinum due to the stingy portioning. Regardless I’m definitely gonna try this. Thanks!

  4. Smokestack is the “poor man’s Jack Stack”. The owners are brother and sister I think. Smokestack isn’t the greatest, but it’ll do in a bbq craving pinch. I like it for it’s cheesy corn.

  5. Well I like Jackstack, but for a quick economical lunch with little waiting Smokestack does the job well.

    The first time i ventured in I was interviewing for a job. I got the job AND some pretty good food! I took my brother a couple times when he was visiting and I still lived around there. I agree with calling it primarily a lunch place tho.

  6. This was my first KC barbeque experience many years ago. I’ve still got some nostalgia for the place, so I eat here more than any other bbq place in town. definitely a hole-in-the-wall though…

  7. Oh man, I could live on those beans. Seriously. No one would ever want to be around me, but I’d be fat and happy (and gassy.) If you meet me and there’s a foul cloud around me, you can blame shicho. (Thanks shicho!)

    I’ll take Smokestack over Jack Stack any day – it’s more my speed. The only BBQ I prefer to it is LC’s.

  8. Just got back from a trip to MS and had to come through KC for BBQ at the Smokestack. Best BBQ in the world–and I have had a lot!!!
    Thanks for staying put so I can find you when I come to town. Not only do I love it but so does my sister-in-law that did not like BBQ until we ate at the Smokestack.