Tag Archives: Kansas food

Today’s food: Stroud’s style fried chicken

Stroud's style fried chicken

Stroud’s Chicken. What a wonderful feeling it was to live in a state that is known for having one of the most renowned fried chicken in the country.

I had the recipe that the chef provided to some online source, saved as a screenshot. It’s relatively simple, starting with a galic powder, black pepper and salt seasoning, moving onto a egg wash with eggs and hot sauce, and finishing up by coating the chicken with self-rising flour.

The real key is to the frying. When I first ate at Stroud’s, the subtlety of the dish surprised me. The chicken wasn’t about a boatload of spices, or craggy crunchy exteriors. The fried chicken at Stroud’s is all about the chicken. The simple, slight crunch of the batter highlights the moistness of the chicken, which undoubtedly comes from the long cooking time in a skillet, as opposed to a pressure fryer.

So fry the whole thing in relatively low temperature oil, between deep-frying and making a confit. When the chicken comes close to being done, raise the temperature to crisp it up.


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Whatever BBQ places I failed to mention: LC’s and Danny Edwards

I moved from Kansas this summer. It was quite a painful ordeal, because I have grown accustomed and developed a strong affection for the Midwest lifestyle consisting of BBQ, observing flat and unchanging landscapes, and twelve packs of Hamms. Now that I am in Vancouver, I have to find a whole new set of things. Friends, a signature dish I can attach myself to, cheap yet drinkable beer, and a place that would offer me employment. I feel that my lingering feelings for Kansas is inhibiting me to pursue these new interests, so I decided to work through my residual emotions by writing about them. And one of the most important topic I have to cover is Kansas BBQ.

Within the landscape of Kansas BBQ, there are two particularly memorable institutions (besides The Stack BBQ, which very promptly earned the position as my favorite BBQ place in KC). One is LC’s BBQ, which is rather well known for its burnt ends. Regrettably, I was not able to make multiple trips to this place (partly because of its location) but their burnt ends left a lasting impression.

LC's burnt ends

I believe that in my post about The Stack, I mentioned that there were two camps of burnt ends. The first are the ones where burnt ends are a by-product of cooking a large chunk of meat, and because of the relative lack of care that goes in to these, they are (often wonderfully) inconsistent. The second sort is (or at least seems to be) made meticulously with great care, with attention paid to moistness, which leads to a consistent, uniform, and beautiful chunks of meat that are relatively free of gristle.

Well, LC’s belongs to the first camp, but it is their inconsistency in the doneness and resultant textures of the burnt ends that makes them wonderful. Some are perfectly done, the meat breaking down in your mouth as you throw them in. Some have yet to experience the breakdown of collagen, and gives a strong, meaty texture and flavor when you bite down on them. And some are cooked to a crisp, with a texture that’s strangely in between beef jerky toughness and cheese puff crunchyness. And very often, these three textures coexist within one chunk of meat, resulting in a wonderful variety of flavors in a bite. These inconsistencies are probably why LC’s receives mixed reviews, but to me, its why their dish remains memorable even after numerous encounters with burnt ends.

Oh, and it also helps that their fries are interesting. Not earth shattering, but interesting. The beauty of BBQ joints is that you get to dip your fries in BBQ sauce. The combination of the thin, crisp coating on these potatoes and the cumin laced BBQ sauce (not unlike Gates, but more subtle) is quite wonderful.


The other place that I often reminisce about is Danny Edwards BBQ. It seems to be ubiquitously well-regarded, and the reason for that is evident in every part of their existence. Its quaint architecture that seems to be a repurposed garage, the clean but not too spiffy interior, the cheery servers that don’t shout at you as you consider what to order (which is a frequent thing in some places) are easy to love. Their meat is also very consistently good, and there I had a wonderfully crusty pork sandwich. And even better, the meat is plentiful.

Danny Boulevards bbq

So plentiful, that I picked up the pieces that fell out of that sandwich, boxed it, and was able to make another heaping bbq pork sandwich at home the next day.

Danny Edwards BBQ, the next day

It’s not the end all be all of bbq joints, but if I were to frequent a particular place in the KC area, it would be Danny Edwards. Or of course, The Stack.

Well, but now I’m too far west and too far north to go to either of those places. So I will try to forget.

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RJ’s Bob-be-cue

A week of having two young Japanese college kids crashing at my small 1 bedroom house has left me exhausted. I could not believe how much they ate. Basically, I spent all day preparing lunch, playing video games with them, preparing dinner, and then providing them with beer while we played more video games. After the week, I was left alone with a tired liver, a devastated stomach and an addiction for an old snowboard game. I recovered a couple days ago, so I decided to go to one of the few famous BBQ joints that I haven’t explored yet, which was RJ’s Bob-be-cue.

The reviews by serious BBQ bloggers that I checked were all somewhat favorable without being extremely enthusiastic, so I didn’t have high hopes for the place. I went there around 11:00am on a weekday, and while I was there, I only saw one regular who kept talking to whom I presume was Bob, and an old guy who came in who was enraged by the treatment he received at the place yesterday.

Within my half hour there, I gathered that the guy complained about the brightness of the lighting (since I could only get a decent photo by setting the camera at 1/4 shutter speed with 3.8 aperture with 3200 ISO, this was an exaggeration) which the waitress responded to by giving him a choice of seating. He refused, asked the waitress to dim the lights, or possibly turn off them altogether. When she expressed difficulties in doing so, he left. By the way, while he was talking about this, he ordered a glass of iced tea, which he told the staff to cancel at the last minute. This made wonderful entertainment while I dined.

I ordered a jumbo beef brisket sandwich with fries, 7.95.

RJ's Bob-b-que: Beef brisket sandwich with fries

The lean and very thin sliced beef was chewy and was just a bit dry, resembling the dish I got from Smokin’ Guns BBQ. However, the sweetness of the fat came through just enough to keep things enjoyable. The rub didn’t impart a strong flavor on the meat, which actually worked in its favor, since you were able to focus on the flavor of the meat and smoke. The flavor of the meat was somewhat delicate, which creates a stark contrast against joints such as Arthur Bryants, which is all about strong, assertive flavors. The sauce was a wonderful accompaniment to this meat. The rather thin and untraditional sauce added a bit of fruitiness and sweetness to the meat without overwhelming it. While the meat and sauce were not what you would expect from a KC BBQ joint, the flavors were very well balanced and a joy to consume.

The only thing I had trouble with was the bun. The large bun for the Jumbo sandwich may have been a tad too substantial for the delicately sliced and flavored meat.

Anyway, solid bbq, well-thought flavorings, and great entertainment.

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Pain and Smokin’ Guns BBQ

In making some new york style pizza sauce, I broke one of the most rudimentary culinary rules and grabbed my junk immediately after crushing whole red peppers in my hand.

I feel the heat.

Last week I visited Smokin’ Guns BBQ as a part of my quest to eat as much BBQ in KC as possible. The place seems to get pretty mixed reviews. I got the brisket with fries (I ordered sweet potato, but it came with regular fries, and I was too lazy to argue) and BBQ beans. Briskets were good and smoky, but were rather dry and flaky. Slices were thin, so while it was good as a vehicle for sauce that you can push large amounts in your mouth, it was not up to par with the great BBQ places in KC.


However, the side dishes were all really consistent. Fries were uniformly cooked and crisp, BBQ beans were well balanced in their flavor, and I imagine it would be easy to go through a whole bowl of it. A friend of mine who is on a quest to find the coleslaw of his dreams (he somehow developed an idea of what a coleslaw should taste like, which no coleslaw ever have lived up to) said that while it did not taste “like a coleslaw should,” he kept remembering about it through the week. Great thing was single meat with two sides were 7.25, which is quite cheap for KC BBQ.

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KC BBQ #1: Woodyard BBQ

For a man who grew up in a metropolitan area in Japan, I have an intense affection for the midwest, and disdain for those who do not appreciate it. The fact that I live close to one of the cities known for their excellent smoked meats continuously support my views. I was drawn to smoked products from an early age. As a teenager, I often bought smoked eggs from the convenience store as a snack, to my friends’ disgust. Also, the product name of the smoke eggs (kuntama) was very similar to the Japanese term for testicles (kintama) which lead to stimulating conversations such as “Would you like to put my kuntama in your mouth?” which was an added bonus.

Anyway, since I realized that my time in Kansas is running out, I decided to visit as many BBQ establishments as possible. This was also motivated by the fact that a lot of the institutions are not discussed too much on the internet, so I wanted to contribute by throwing in my two cents on some of the places. I have to thank No Bull BBQ and KC BBQ Reviews blog for their extended coverage of BBQ joints, which made choosing places to visit much easier.

So I visited Woodyard about half an year ago, and the constant intake of Hamm’s have somewhat weakened my abilities in remembering, so I would not say that this review is too reliable.


Woodyard is wonderful for its ambiance, which gives you a sense of authenticity or sincerity. Anyway, the place is not a flashy modern joint. Its a charming establishment, but I would have to say being there in the summer heat amidst the flies was a challenging experience.

4-pulled pork  woodyard bbq

The pulled pork was either unmemorable or just swept away by cheap beer. It had somewhat of a wet mop consistency, and although the smoke flavor was there, it was not too prominent. A little more bark thrown in the mix would have improved things considerably. However, it is partly my fault for ordering pulled pork, when pulled pork is usually the weakest item in any BBQ joint. Texture becomes pretty much indiscernible when the pork is pulled to thin strands.

5-Burnt end chili  woodyard bbq

And then there’s the burnt ends chili. Burnt bits of meat in a lukewarm chili sauce does not sound too appetizing, but the novelty of the combination of deeply caramelized meat and tangy chili kept me going. The quality of the dish itself is not fascinating, but I find myself thinking about it from time to time, wishing I could have a couple spoonfuls of that burnt end chili.

Anyway, I should probably go back to the place. Next time, I’ll be sure to order some burnt end chili with something other than pulled pork.

One last thing about BBQ. At the end of the day, its all smoked meat, so even in a mid-level joint, there’s no way you feel cheated.

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