Is Texas Barbecue taking over in Kansas City? To answer that question there is one place to start, Harp Barbecue. Harp Barbecue serves out of a back room inside Crane Brewing Company in Raytown Missouri, about 20 minutes outside of downtown Kansas City. Head pit master Tyler Harp grew up in the KC area, but his travels influence his barbecue just as much as his Kansas City roots. Harp Barbecue was recently voted Kansas City’s best barbecue by kansascitymag.com that included the typical KC heavy hitters like Joes, Gates, Arthur Bryants, Q39, and Fiorellas Jack Stack. Ranking number one on a list that includes those names is quite the accomplishment.
Harp Barbecue typically only serves their full barbecue menu on Saturdays starting at 11, and offer a taco night on Fridays that starts at 5. This particular weekend however they were serving the full barbecue menu on Friday as well. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram for menu updates.
We joined the line about 5:30 and made it to the front to order in about 20 minutes. While we were there the line stayed pretty consistant in length, so I would say be prepared to wait about 20 minutes to order. With this being our first time we wanted to try a variety of items. We ordered sliced brisket, burnt ends, turkey, half slab of ribs, cheesy corn, beans, and banana pudding. We were sharing ok people lol.
Lets get the sides and dessert out of the way first. The cheesy corn was good, but nothing special. The beans were one of my favorite beans I have had. They were flavorful, with a bit of spice. They had a Texas chili flavor to them, that paired well with BBQ. I will definitely be getting those again.The banana pudding was packed with flavor. It had a pumpkin pie spice, and maybe almond flavor. I enjoyed it, the wife was disappointed there were no banana chunks or wafer in it.
Now for the meats. The Texas influence is all over the flavor profile. The ribs had great flavor, and were meaty, but they needed a little more time in the smoker. They were a little tough. I think about 30 more minutes in the smoker would have done the trick. The brisket was what you would expect from a top pit master, smokey, great beef flavor with good salt and pepper bark, and very tender. I can see why people in Kansas City are loving this brisket. The burnt ends were packed with moisture, with that same bark. They can would up to any KC burnt end I have had. When ordering the cashier mentioned the turkey was the best thing on their menu, and honestly it was right up there with the best on the tray. It had that Texas flavor, very moist, and paired excellent with the tangy sauce Harp offers. Usually turkey is so so but if you go make sure you try it, it is worth a spot on your tray.
Overall the experience at Harp was outstanding. It felt similar to the places I have been in Texas. The atmosphere in Harps serving area, the food, even the line adds to the experience. It is unique to the Kansas City area as far as I know. So is Texas style barbecue taking over KC? I would say not entirely, but Harp Barbecue will be on the scene for a long time to come. They have worked hard to carve out their place in the Kansas City barbecue scene, and have developed quite a following. I can see why many people are ranking Harp Barbecue as one of the best around, it truly is a special place in the Kansas City area. I encourage everyone to plan a visit on a Saturday afternoon. I would like to thank everyone at Harp Barbecue for a memorable evening. Tyler and the team at Harp have created something special in Raytown. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram. I will leave a link to their website as well. https://www.harpbarbecue.com
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