Station 8 BBQ, Wichita KS

Station 8 BBQ is new to the restaurant scene in Wichita, and a place I could not wait to try. They opened to the public a few weeks ago and have been receiving great reviews. Their hours are limited, 11-2 Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

I had tried to coordinate a lunch date with my wife at Station 8 a few times so we could share the yeti platter, but it hasn’t worked out yet. Our busy schedules and their limited hours make it difficult. I decided since it was just me I better not get the yeti, but man I wanted to! I chose two meats and two sides which comes with bread, onion, and pickles.

Photo from Facebook, I love the interior decoration and atmosphere at Station 8

I had to try their brisket that they slice right as you order it, and hot links. Slicing brisket in front of you when ordered is unique in Wichita, and something I wish more places did. I chose smoked Mac and cheese and bbq beans as my two sides, and added a can of Diet Coke. I think my total was $22 for my meal. A little more expensive than other places in town, but with meat prices the way they are now it is understandable.

two meat two sides

Station 8 offers two sauces, a sweet and hot when you order, none on the table. I chose the hot. The sauce was not a standout, and not anything that makes or breaks the barbecue. Maybe that is a good thing though, the meat should stand on its own. I think next time I will try the sweet just to give it a try. The brisket had good bark on some spots, and other spots it had fallen off. The brisket was tender, moist, and had good flavor. Overall a good brisket. The hot links were good as well, but seemed very similar to other links offered at spots in town. The beans were very good, had a good smokey flavor and what I think was some chopped brisket mixed in there. One of the better bbq beans in town. The Mac and cheese was good but I was wanting something more from it. Maybe another cheese thrown in the mix or something, but it is worth ordering it again. The sliced bread which we were told they make everyday was a good complement to all on the tray. Overall a good barbecue lunch. I wouldn’t put it as the top spot in Wichita yet, but it is up there. Station 8 has a bright future in Wichita. Overall I would give it a 4 out of 5. I have heard great things about the pulled pork so it is at the top of my list to try on my next visit, and I have got to give their ribs a try. Has anyone else tried Station 8 yet? What are your thoughts?

Traveling BBQer

Meat Mitch BBQ, Leawood KS

Meat Mitch BBQ is a product of award winning pit-master and sauce maker Mitch Benjamin. They opened in December of 2021 after a long construction process. They are no strangers to the Kansas City barbecue scene though, Char Bar is also a Meat Mitch restaurant. Having really enjoying my experience at Char Bar I was anxious to try Meat Mitch BBQ.

Porch sipper

We arrived around 5 o’clock on a Saturday evening. The decor is unique and creates an inviting atmosphere. We ordered the pit masters platter with beans and Mac and cheese, and smoky chicken suckers. The platter comes smoked burnt ends, black Angus carved brisket, smoked turkey, 3 rib bones, pulled pork, smoked rope sausage, and fries.

The ordering system is different, order at the front, sit down, and then a waiter comes by and takes drink orders. Our appetizer and pit-master platter came out at the same time. I am not sure if this is a normal because of how you order, or just an anomaly on this evening.

Overall I can describe our trip to Meat Mitch BBQ that evening as disappointing. I hate to say that but it is the truth. I say disappointing because I know from my Char bar experiences this was not what this restaurant is capable of producing. The chicken suckers had a nice buffalo sauce coating and were served with a very good homemade ranch dressing. The rub on the meat, and the variety of sauces on the table are all fantastic, but the execution just wasn’t there on this platter of food. The ribs were undercooked and not tender, the sausage was cold as soon as it arrived at our table, and the mac and cheese was average. The turkey was a bit dry but overall not bad. The brisket and burnt ends were good, but still lacked some on execution. The rub and sauces compliment each other well. The pulled pork with whomp sauce was my favorite combo. The star of the platter was the beans and fries. The beans very good, probably the best beans I have had at a barbecue restaurant. The fries had a barbecue rub on them and were nice and crispy, very good.

The question is will we go back, and the answer is ABSOLUTELY. I know that every place has an off night and I know that is what this was. Meat Mitch BBQ has a bright future on the Kansas City BBQ scene. Please don’t let anything I have said here discourage you from eating there. I look forward to venturing back there and trying The Meat Tower and some bread pudding next time. Check out their menu and make a plan to grab dinner there in the near future. Let me know your experience. Traveling BBQer https://meatmitchbbq.com

Lake City, Colorado

This summer we took our first trip to San Juan mountains. This is an area of Colorado that is known for its off-road trials, so I have been wanting to take our jeep there for quite some time. We started our stay in Lake City, a small community that caters to off-roaders and their needs. Right outside of Lake City is where you can find Colorados largest nature lake, Lake San Cristobal. The lake is gorgeous, and The Inn at the Lake was a perfect spot for our stay. A quiet place with amazing staff, and delicious breakfast. The Inn at the Lake is one of our favorite places we have ever stayed, and a return stay is definitely in our future.

Lake San Cristobal was the perfect place for us to start our exploring, it is hub for what is known as the Alpine Loop. A 60 plus mile long off-road trail that is made up of Cinnamon Pass, Animas forks, and Engineer Pass.

Cinnamon Pass summit

Cinnamon is first up when you start out at Lake San Cristobal. It is rated as an easy trail. It has a rocky terrain, and steep drop offs in spots but a high clearance vehicle with proper tires is all that is needed. There are some other trails off of the main route, one that was recommended to us to explore was the American basin. It was wild flower season while we were there and the American Basin is one of the best places in the area to see colors of the flowers. Linked is a short video of our trip up Cinnamon pass. https://youtu.be/0lGQL59hbv8

Cinnamon Pass ends at the historic Animas Forks townsite. Give yourself time there to explore the structures. You can venture into Silverton for coffee and a bite of breakfast at Coffee Bear, before heading back Animas Forks and up Engineer Pass back into Lake City.

Engineer Pass is considered one of Colorados most scenic, and trust me it lives up to its reputation. It can be intimidating in spots, but wow what drive. Engineer is a Jeep badge of honor trail, but is not an extremely technical trail. The views you will see traveling up from Animas Forks to the summit are stunning. I cannot recommend this trail enough. Even if you do not have a Jeep, or vehicle capable of the trail get to the San Juans and rent one. You will not be disappointed. Click the link for a video of our trip on Engineer Pass. https://youtu.be/lGXnu8EBM3E

After a full day on the trail we decided it was time to relax and grab some dinner. Lake City has many great places to grab a bite to eat, even a couple of BBQ options. It was a Sunday night when we got off Engineer and arrived back in town and Southern Vittles had ribs on special for 19.99 that night so naturally that is what I chose. It was very good, especially for the price. It came with hush puppies and fries. I would eat this every Sunday night if I lived there. The wife had a pulled pork and sausage sandwich that she was very happy with.

Our time in Lake City was short, but memorable. We were moving on to the other side of the mountains to continue our San Juan adventure in Ouray Colorado. We will cover our time in Ouray in another post, but I will tell you we have a return trip to Ouray booked already. In the meantime keep traveling, exploring, spending time with loved ones, and eating good food.

Char Bar, KC

Char Bar, Westport Kansas City

Char Bar is place I had been wanting to try for a few years, but never found time to work it in while we were in KC. That changed a couple of weeks ago, when the wife, myself, and my in laws stopped in for dinner on a Saturday night in KC. The ascetic of the building is unique, fun, and inviting. The staff was very friendly, and provided great service.

love this affect on the ceiling. As an electrician I am glad I didn’t have to make up all those J boxes though

We ordered a round of drinks, and the wifes smore martini was the star of the drink orders. She said it was probably the best drink she has ever ordered.

Char Bar knows to make a cocktail

We chose the fried pickles as an appetizer, and I will say these were the most unique fried pickles I have ever seen. they were thick sliced pickle spears breaded with a tempura like batter served with ranch dressing. They were amazing, and that is coming from someone who doesn’t really like pickles. The ranch dressing was delicious and a perfect compliment to the pickles. They disappeared to quickly to get a picture of the full order.

These were delicious and a must try if you like fried pickles

On to the main course, the womp platter. The womp platter comes with burnt ends, half slab of ribs, pulled pork, pit ham, black Angus brisket, smoked turkey, hand cranked sausage, basket of fries, jar of pickles, and two “nice fixings”. You can also add crispy pork belly bites for $5, which of course we did. The womp platter says it serves two to three so this was perfect for sharing with everyone at the table. We chose to split fries between regular and sweet potato, and had beans and potato salad as the two fixins.

you gotta grab pictures quick

I have to admit we ate at Q39 the night before so I was a little worried the meal the night before would overshadow this one, but it did not. Everything on the platter was delicious. The burnt ends stood out to me the most. The were moist, tender, with great flavor. It is tough to see them in the pictures but I assure you they are there, and worth going for them first. The pork belly bites were most surprising to me. I am not one that likes a lot of a fat on anything so pork belly is not my favorite, but I really liked Char Bars. The only thing on the platter I did not get to try, but I am told it was very good. Char Bar is definitely a place we will be visiting again. It is hard to pin down a favorite BBQ restaurant in KC, but Char Bar is definitely worth being in the conversation. If you wanting a unique atmosphere in a fun part of KC, Char Bar is your spot. Check out their menu and make a reservation when you are in KC. https://charbarkc.com/menu/

Overland Park/Leawood BBQ throw-down

A few weeks ago I found myself tagging along with the wife for a short trip to Overland Park. She had a continuing education event, and I had an idea. Two Titans of Kansas City BBQ have locations in the Overland Park/Leawood area, I was going to try them both and compare. A little over three miles and few stop lights separate these two. We chose to do dinner at Q39 Friday night, and lunch at Joes Kansas City BBQ on Saturday. I had visited both of these establishments multiple times in the past at their original locations, but never at their Overland Park/Leawood spots. Not only did I want to compare the two head to head, but also to my experiences at their original locations. Were they just as good when compared to their original locations?

As you can tell from the picture I got a full spread. Onion straws, brisket, Chicken, ribs, and chipotle sausage, baked beans, and white bean cassoulet. This the same judges platter and ribs that I got at their original locations a few months ago. I will say the platter I got a few months ago at the midtown location was just a bit better. Since I was in no threat of being called into work I also ordered a drink, a whiskey drink. I can’t remember the name but I do remember thinking two of those and the wife would be driving back to the hotel. I can always get behind a place that isn’t afraid of a strong pour. The food was very good overall. Beautiful presentation on the plate, and great service. Brisket was perfectly tender and well seasoned. Ribs were cooked well, and the chicken was juicy with bite through skin. The wife had a wood fired grilled salmon salad, and helped me eat some of mine. She liked her salad, salmon was not dry, and had good flavor. Overall a great meal on Friday night to start the weekend.

Joes Kansas City BBQ 11723 ROE AVE
LEAWOOD, KS 66211

Saturday afternoon lunch had to be taken back to the hotel to accommodate the wifes class. I placed my order online, and followed the curbside delivery instructions when I got there. The staff was very friendly and made sure I had everything I wanted before I drove off. Our hotel was about a mile away so it was roughly 10 minutes from receiving my order to unpacking it in the hotel room.

I ordered brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and ribs, with beans and dirty rice. That plate of ribs is probably the best looking plate of ribs I have received at a restaurant. They would get a perfect appearance score from me if it was a contest entry. The taste backed up the appearance, delicious! Tender, good seasoning, the sauce complimented the rub. I have to give ribs to Joes. The brisket was good, but sliced very thin. Shaved brisket is not as good as a properly sliced portion. So I have to give brisket to Q39. Their slice was the perfect thickness, and tenderness. The chicken was very good at both places, honestly there was no winner here. They both turn out a fantastic chicken. Joes pulled pork was good, good flavor, tenderness, and good moisture. Sausage at both places were very good. The sides I would say go to Joes this time. The wife tried Joes gumbo for the first time and enjoyed it. She spent some time in Louisiana so she is very particular when it comes to cajun food.

Overall both places are worth eating at. I will give the nod to the original locations for both places. Not necessarily because the food is so much better, but the mystic of their original locations. The line at Joes gas station location, the atmosphere of Q39 midtown somehow add to the meal. I am sure I will be back to all of them in the future, and will enjoy every bite. I will leave to the menus below, please check these places out when you are in the Overland Park/Leawood area and let me know your thoughts. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0818/5843/files/restaurant_menu_7.12.21.pdf?v=1626104554 https://q39kc.com/menus/#dinner

The Traveling BBQer

Bite Me BBQ, Wichita KS

Brisket, sausage, and pulled pork

Bite Me BBQ is one the cities highest rated barbecue spots. It is located in downtown Wichita at 132 St Francis, on the edge of old town. I have been there for lunch and dinner and the quality remains consistent throughout the day. I have taken many trips there over the last couple months and tried various meat combos, and they have all been well executed.

Ribs, sausage, pulled pork

When ordering brisket I always go for the sliced. It is smokey, tender, and well seasoned. I think it pairs better with the original sauce, but their spicy sauce is good too. Pulled pork is always moist, and not overly pulled. They leave it longer pieces to give it more texture, and I really like that. Sausage is good, with just the right of spice. I have ordered ribs there a couple of times and they have been well cooked, tender, and moist. They do very minimal trimming on their ribs, if any at all. I understand that for restaurants, no waste, and quicker preparation, but I wish they did a little more trimming and gave me a cleaner rib. They offer a variety of sides, so far I have only tried the fries, Mac and cheese, and baked beans, and green beans. All have been very good. The thing that makes me Bite Me stand out for us is not something you would expect. It is their self serve pickle bar. They offer a variety of pickles, from normal to spicy, and I can tell you the spicy live up to their name. My wife loves the pickle bar, and always comes back to the table with a variety for us to share.

chocolate cake dessert

It is easy to see why Bite Me is one of top rated barbecue places in town. The staff is always friendly and helpful. The building is unique with a good atmosphere (and really neat old bar) and the food is delicious. I highly recommend you check it out. Order a Bloody Mary, your choice of barbecue and enjoy a good meal with family or friends. Barbecue is always better when eaten with others. Check out their menu… http://biteme-bbq.com/index.php/menu

The Traveling BBQer.

B and C bbq, Wichita KS

Continuing on the Wichita barbecue trail I stopped for lunch at one the most popular spots in town, B and C bbq. B and C is located in Wichitas old town area, on 3rd and Washington. The building itself has a great barbecue vibe. You can smell the smoke in the air as you walk up. In the past the only option was the all you can eat buffet, covid has changed that somewhat. The all you can eat option has returned to the menu, along with some new options. Also In the past you were able to serve yourself, covid restrictions still prevent that but the all you can eat option is the only way to go in my opinion.

I arrived a few minutes before they opened the doors, and there were several people waiting for the doors to be unlocked. I paid and proceeded to the back to the buffet line. They only had chopped brisket available at the time, so I got that, hot links, and they had a sweet glazed spare ribs that day I thought sounded good. the two sides I chose were potato salad, and pasta salad. I am not a fan of potato salad in general, but B and Cs wasn’t bad. The pasta salad was much more to my liking. The sweet glazed ribs were the star of the show for me on this trip. They were perfectly tender, and delicious. The glaze had the right of sweet, with a little spice to balance it out. I do not know if they have them all the time, just on certain days, or what but if you go and they are available get them you will not be disappointed. The hot links are among my favorite around town, Great flavor, with a spicy kick, Some “hot links” forget the hot part, these are very good. The chopped brisket was good, but forgettable. A quality offering, but nothing that makes you crave a return trip. The sweet glazed ribs on the other hand, those have crossed my mind a few times since last eating them. I hope on my next trip to B and C they are available.

Those sticky sweet glazed ribs were delicious

Speaking of a return trip, will I make one? Absolutely. B and C is fine barbecue spot. The all you can eat buffet was better precovid when you could serve yourself and only have to wait in the buffet line one time, but it is still the best deal in Wichita for barbecue. If you are in Wichita put B and C on your list of places to try. Get out and enjoy some barbecue, The Traveling BBQer.

When Pigs Fly BBQ, Wichita KS

When Pigs Fly Bar-B-Que is one of the top rated barbecue spots in Wichita, and one I frequent semi regularly. My day job requires travel all over town, and anytime I am in the area around lunch I try to stop at When Pigs Fly. They are located on Wichitas west side, Central and ridge area. There are a couple of other BBQ options in at the area, but if you can only get to one, When Pigs Fly is the place to go. The service and food have always been top notch.

Brisket and sausage. Beans and corn for sides.

I always get some brisket when I am there. I have had fatty and lean (point, and flat) on multiple occasions and it has always been good. The brisket is moist and tender. I like that you get sliced brisket. Sliced brisket requires more skill. You could take the easy way and cook it til it is ready to shred and throw a mound a plate and call it a day, but sliced brisket requires knowledge, and a feel for the meat. You need to cook it just long enough to get it maximum tenderness, but not too long it falls apart. The brisket comes with a decent bark, and good flavor. Both smoke and their rub. This particular trip I got fatty brisket, and jalapeƱo cheddar sausage with baked beans and cream corn. They have two sauces on the table to choose, a regular and a spicy. I like them both, the regular a bit more. The jalapeƱo cheddar sausage is very good. I like it the with regular sauce. the sides are great complements to meats. Some barbecue spots need the sides to bring the meal up notch, When Pigs Fly does not. The meats are good enough on their own to make the meal memorable.

I am always looking out for my next chance to stop in for lunch, and maybe next time I will try a different meat to accompany my brisket. When Pigs Fly is a standout in the Wichita barbecue scene in my opinion. Good people serving good food. Please check it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts. I will leave a link to their menu. https://www.whenpigsflywichita.com/menus

The Traveling BBQer.

Q39 Kansas City

Last week I had the opportunity to tag along and take advantage of a work trip my wife was taking to Kansas City. We were in town for less than 24 hrs so I had to choose my barbecue spot carefully because I only had time to visit one. I decided on Q39 and made a reservation about a week ahead of time at their 39th street location. Q39 is one the most popular barbecue spots in KC so to say it gets busy is an understatement. They added a second location in Overland Park a few years ago. The wife I had visited Q39 three or four years ago so I had an idea of what to expect, but was still excited to try it. With that amount of time between trips you forget what it is really like.

I was really looking forward to having a drink and experiencing the atmosphere with my usual sampler platter order, but my plans changed. It had rained hard the whole drive up, and between that and the lack of parking I called an audible and just ordered to go. One piece of advice I can give you about Q39 is that if you can Uber/taxi there, do it. There is not near enough parking, and tow away signs in the extra spots. I circled for about ten minutes before I made the decision to order curbside online and take it back to the hotel. I know taking it to go is not as good as fresh in a restaurant but I was fried and wanted to relax, and the hotel was less than ten minutes away.

I ordered the Judges plate which is three meats and two sides. I got sliced brisket, ribs, chicken, and added chipotle sausage as well. For sides I got beans and fries. Keeping it consistent you know. I also ordered the Q39 spiced onion straws with bbq aioli. I ordered desert too but we will get to that in a minute.

spiced onion straws and a heavy judges plate.
So tasty

The onions straws with the spiced aioli were the best I have had anywhere. Perfectly seasoned, and crispy. The barbecue aioli was outstanding. I wish I could have gotten a gallon of it. The judges plate was all around fantastic. The ribs were perfectly cooked for my liking. delicious and tender as it gets. I will admit I do not prefer dark meat chicken but I wanted to give it try. Q39 gives you a leg and thigh, the first thing I tasted on the chicken was smoke. Not a bad smoke, good smoke that compliments a piece of meat like a seasoning. The skin was bite threw, and it was very good. Even for someone who prefers white meat, I enjoyed this chicken.

You can tell a lot about a barbecue place by their brisket. Do they serve sliced or only chopped. Is the sliced brisket sliced correctly, against the grain with the proper thickness. You can even get an idea of how they trim their briskets. In my opinion Q39 does it all right. The brisket slices were top notch in all regards. Sliced to a proper thickness, perfect tenderness, well seasoned with a bit of sauce the slice. Pulls apart with a slight tug, a great bite of barbecue. The chipotle sausage was good, but didn’t compare to the rest of my order. Both barbecue sauces they included with my order were very good. The meal was so good I didn’t realize until a few hours later when I was thinking about this blog that I didn’t receive my second side, the fries. The beans were good, but honestly after sampling all the proteins that was all I wanted. Q39 impressed the hell out me, even getting it to go.

That is a well cooked rib
Well cooked ribs, just how I like them

I ordered two deserts so I could have something for the wife when she got back to the hotel from her work function. I am a sucker for anything lemon, and cheesecake so naturally I selected the champion cheesecake, and the carrot cake with lemon icing. I know what you are thinking, carrot cake, really? Yes! Not something I would normally order, but I can’t say no to a lemon icing. If you like lemon, or carrot cake you will love this dessert. The cheesecake was excellent as well, but if I had to choose one I would go with the carrot cake. The have other desserts on their menu but were not available for online ordering. Could be they were already sold out for the day, or they only offer them in restaurant. Either way I was still happy with my choices. It was late when I could bring myself to sample the desserts so I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures, my bad. I also apologize for the terrible dimming lit, yellow pictures. Hotel room lighting is getting worse and worse.

In a city like Kansas City that is known all over for barbecue Q39 is a standout in my mind. They do everything right. You can tell they don’t skip steps, and are mindful of the small details. Anyone visiting KC should put Q39 at the top of your list. You will not be disappointed. Just remember to Uber to the midtown location. Thanks for reading. The Traveling BBQer.

Wichita Kansas barbecue

Recently an article was published by the Chefs Pencil ranking americas best bbq cities. It stirred up quite the controversy around here listing Wichita Kansas as the third best barbecue city in the United States. Some defended their city and its ranking, and others were outspoken in their disagreement. Having lived in, or relatively close to Wichita my entire life I have eaten a lot of barbecue around town, and have never considered Wichita a great barbecue city. The barbecue culture in Wichita is still in its infancy. There are a few long time establishments that serve barbecue here, but nothing like what you find in other parts of the country. Skylight inn bbq in Ayden North Carolina established in 1947, Big Bob Gibsons in Decatur Alabama established in founded in 1925, or Kreuz Market in Lockhart Texas established in 1900 for example. Barbecue is more of a fast food option, then an experience in Wichita. There are no lines at opening, no 1000 gallon offset pits pumping out blue smoke from a well run fire. No one doing it the hard way for that perfect bite of barbecue. There isn’t that special barbecue spot that you can put in the elite category with places in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Carolinas to name a few. But does all that mean Wichita isn’t a great barbecue city? A week ago I would have definitely said it wasn’t, but maybe it is time I take a fresh look.

There are few places I have been to enough there is no need to make a special trip to again, like Hog Wild, and Crutch BBQ. Hog Wild is basically a fast food bbq joint, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Nothing special, but it wild is quick and convenient with multiple locations across town. Crutch BBQ is relatively new, but after a couple of trips there and trying different menu items I hate to say I am not a fan. There are other places I prefer to go. This is just my opinion, and honestly I hope if you have the chance you give Crutch a try for yourself and see what you think. I am going to start visiting the local bbq joints again, but with fresh eyes this time. I plan trying to get to at least one a week, and post a review. I will reference trip advisor and yelps rankings and post them in my review. Maybe this can be on going thing? I know of at least one new barbecue spot scheduled to open in the next few months, and the food truck scene around town usually has a new barbecue option to track down and try. I travel to eat barbecue why not keep it local and try what is close to home. Maybe after visiting these places again, and writing out my thoughts my mind will be changed. Maybe Wichita is a great barbecue city, but I was too accustom to it to notice. Only time and sampler platters will tell. Traveling Bqqer.

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