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This barbecue joint has a steakhouse vibe
Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue is known to have some of the best ribs in Kansas City.
Barbecue is a controversial subject in Kansas City. Who serves the best is purely a personal opinion, but a consistent choice, and a Zagat-rated one, is Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue (featured in our Ultimate BBQ Road Trip). With four locations in the metro area, a Jack Stack should be close to where ever you may be and is worth a visit.
Unlike many barbecue joints where you order at a counter, Jack Stack is a fully fledged sit-down restaurant. In addition to traditional barbecue fair that includes ribs, smoked meats, and burnt ends, Jack Stack has a selection of signature items that include such specialties as Crown Prime beef ribs and New Zealand rack of lamb. The steakhouse-style menu includes K.C. strip, filet mignon, porterhouse steaks, salmon, trout, and jumbo shrimp. All entrées include fries and coleslaw, but additional side items include smoked hickory beans, colossal-sized onion rings, and Jack Stack’s legendary cheesy corn bake, which can be substituted or ordered à la carte.
Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue Has Healthy Dining Choices for You
To stand out from the crowd, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue long ago began using their signature gourmet hickory wood to flavor their grilled choices, like chicken, seafood, pork, lamb and beef. This, on top of an extensive menu and great atmosphere, has helped make Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue a real favorite in the area and a regular on “best barbecue joint” lists. If you want the taste of Kansas City but can’t make it to the restaurant, they even offer mail orders for some of their crowd-pleasing favorites!
Here are a few of the choices you’ll find on Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue’s menu that meet the Healthy Dining criteria for fat, calories and more:
Grilled Chicken Salad (270 calories, 5 g fat, 280 mg sodium)
This tender and juicy chicken is grilled over the flavorful hickory wood and served hot on top of a crisp garden salad made of mixed greens, carrots, tomatoes, bacon, red onion and homemade croutons. The lean protein in this dish is essential to help maintain muscles, cells, organs and even hair growth.
Jack’s Barbecue Trout, Dinner (490 calories, 28 g fat)
For a healthy dose of lean protein plus omega 3 fatty acids, this is a tasty choice. Whole boneless trout is grilled and served with simple and flavorful steamed vegetables. To make this a Healthy Dining choice, don’t forget to ask for less glaze on the trout.
Smoked Turkey Jumbo Sandwich (470 calories, 8 g fat)
If a simple sandwich is what you’re craving, you’re in luck. This one includes savory smoked turkey piled on a soft sesame seed bun. To up your intake of fruits and veggies and make this a Healthy Dining menu choice, opt for the Vegetable Kabob without the Pit Butter.
Side: Spinach Salad (160 calories, 9 g fat)
I admit it. I’m a sucker for a good spinach salad, especially when I can order it as a side to complement my main meal. This one includes fresh spinach tossed with sweet strawberries, toasted pecans, feta cheese, bacon, and red onion. Don’t forget to request the vinaigrette on the side and use sparingly to control added fat and calories. Simple vinegar can be a tasty and low-cal alternative to the vinaigrette.
Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue (Part 2)
If you are joining us for Part 2 of Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, welcome back! If you stumbled upon this post before reading our Kansas City BBQ Tour Preview, you may want to do that first – but you should also make sure to read Part 1 of Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue before proceeding.
After our extensive sampling of food was complete, Scott stopped by our table once again to get our feedback and lead us into the kitchen where all that BBQ goodness comes to life. As you enter the kitchen you realize that anyone working in the kitchen must be followed home by stray dogs each night. The scents that begin in the lobby and become more noticeable in the dining room, are all out amplified in the kitchen – I’d actually be a fan of them setting up tables in the kitchen and having dinner right there, but I guess that might detract from their goal of operating a higher class establishment.
The kitchen where this massive menu of BBQ is produced was surprisingly small, but you could see that it was an incredibly efficient operation. The first stop in the production area was at the “pit”, this is where the cuts of meat begin the very long process of becoming some of the best BBQ in KC. It’s over the pit that the meat is cooked to give it a nice outer coating, sometimes called the “bark”. It’s a combination of both Hickory and Oak that Jack Stack uses to create the deep smoky flavors and helps create that bark on their BBQ.
Remember those Hickory Pit Beans that I said would be my side if I was ordering at Jack Stack again? It’s over this pit that these beans become something that you just can’t recreate at home. Basically what happens is the shelves in the pit are stacked with different cuts of meat, with the briskets being closer to the top. As the briskets cook and the fat begins to render, huge pans of beans are placed on the lowest shelf in the pit. What happens next is pretty simple, gravity flavors the beans. Rather than those drippings being wasted by falling into the fire, they are absorbed into the pans of beans to become the Hickory Pit Beans on the menu. Now you might see why I’d recommend ordering these, although you might want to get a permission slip signed by your cardiologist before indulging.
Since Jack Stack uses a two-step process to create their BBQ, the pit was empty by the time that we were there for our tour, but that’s ok, because we were able to see the second step in the process. After the meat spends the appropriate amount of time in the pit, it gets moved over to the smoker where it continues cooking low and slow. It’s in the smoker where a lot of the smoke flavor is absorbed into the meat, while at the same time rendering the fat even further – the end result being perfectly smoky BBQ that is more tender and juicy than words can describe.
We had an amazing time at Jack Stack, and Scott did a wonderful job of explaining the history and philosophy of what has become one of the best BBQ restaurants in the country. Our recommendation is that you add Jack Stack to your Kansas City wish list, you’ll be glad that you spent a little extra time enjoying the fine dining and amazing BBQ on offer at Jack Stack. Just make sure you do two things when you visit: 1. Order the Crown Prime Beef Rib upon entry. 2. Tell them Food n’ Focus sent you!
While nothing is going to equal the experience of actually making your way to Jack Stack to take in the fine dining BBQ setting, you can order their products online and have them shipped to you – including the Crown Prime Beef Rib. Enjoy!
Amy M Kansas City Hi, my name is Amy M. I am a lifelong resident of Kansas City and a freelance writer. One of my passions includes exploring all the wonderful things in my hometown and sharing what I learn with others.
I am also a mom, an avid reader, and am infinitely curious about everything going on around me. I enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and am always looking for a new adventure to write about.
I have a Bachelor of Arts from Avila University in English (with an emphasis in creative writing). My professional experience includes a background in human resources, teaching, volunteering for New Letters literary magazine, and working/blogging for a local library.
Jack Stack Style Cheesy Corn
- Cuisine: American
- Course: Side Dish
- Skill Level: Easy
- Add to favorites
- Servings : 10-12
- Prep Time : 30m
- Cook Time : 60m
Credit for this recipe goes to Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ of Kansas City. If you’re ever in KC this place is a must!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 teaspoons flour
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups sharp American or Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 3 (10 ounce) packages frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
- 3 ounces diced ham. Diced bacon is also good in the recipe.
Melt butter stir in flour and garlic powder.
Add milk cook & stir over medium heat.
Heat until thick and bubbly stir in cheeses. Cook/stir over low heat until cheeses melt stir in corn & ham.
Famous Kansas City Barbeque Recipes
I've copied them here, leaving the reference above. Many times those links change and the stuff disappears.
Kansas City's Famous Barbeque Recipes
Jack Stack Barbecue Beans Recipe Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue of Kansas City
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 (32-ounce) can pork and beans
1 cup chopped brisket
4 slices of bacon
1 cup BBQ sauce (recommended: Jack Stack Original)
4 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a 4-quart saucepan. Over medium heat, bring beans to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook beans for 20 minutes or until a thick, soupy consistency is reached. Serve.
This recipe also works well on a grill, letting the great outdoors permeate and enhance the flavor of the beans as they cook.
Jack Stack Cheesy Corn Bake Recipe
Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue of Kansas City
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hr. 15 minutes
Yield: 10-12 servings
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 teaspoons flour
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sharp American cheese, shredded
1 (3 ounces) package cream cheese, cut up
3 (10 ounces) packages frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
3 ounces diced ham
Melt butter stir in flour and garlic powder. Add milk cook & stir over medium heat.
Heat until thick and bubbly stir in cheeses. Cook/stir over low heat until cheeses melt stir in corn & ham. Bake in 2 qt casserole for 45 minutes at 350.
Arthur Bryant's Burnt Ends
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 hours
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 (8 to 10-pound) beef brisket
Favorite spice rub (recommended Arthur Bryant's)
Favorite BBQ Sauce (recommended: Arthur Bryant's Rich and Spicy Sauce)
Prepare smoker for cooking, heating to 180 to 200 degrees F.
Season brisket with spice rub on both sides and then place in smoker. Smoke for 8 hours. Remove brisket to a platter and leave smoker on.
Cut burnt ends (blackened portion) from lean section of smoked brisket and then chop into cubes. Place chopped pieces in a large pan with holes. Smoke for 1 1/2 hours, or until dried out. Remove pan from smoker and transfer brisket cubes to a large pan without any holes. Stir in favorite BBQ sauce, and then return to the smoker for an additional 1 1/2 hours. Burnt ends may be combined with baked beans or served on a sandwich.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 3 Quarts
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons celery seeds
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground red pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 quarts ketchup
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a small bowl, mix together sugar, salt, celery seed, cumin, red pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add dry ingredients, and mix well. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks or in freezer for up to 6 months.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 jar of seasoning
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red peppers
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground celery seed
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. Store in a tightly sealed jar.
K.C. Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce Recipe
2 cups water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat and whisk until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes or until mixture is thick. Cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight so that flavors can develop.
Zarda's Kansas City Classic Barbeque Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Yield: about 4 cups
8 ounces tomato paste
12 ounces water
8 ounces white vinegar
1 1/2 ounces celery juice
6 ounces your favorite BBQ seasoning blend
6 1/2 ounces sugar
1 to 2 drops liquid smoke (recommended: Wright Liquid Smoke)
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix tomato paste and water together until smooth. Then add the remaining ingredients, in order. Cook over medium heat until sauce reaches 190 degrees F, about 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!
KC Sunday Dinner
Jack Stack BBQ ships its legendary barbecue nationwide on Goldbelly! There’s no better way to spend a Sunday dinner than with friends and family around the kitchen table. The KC Sunday Dinner pack delivers on your barbecue cravings with perfectly smoked baby back ribs, pork spare ribs, and beef burnt ends (made specifically for members of the clean plate club). The KC Sunday Dinner pack also includes sides of hickory pit beans and cheesy potatoes plus Jack Stack’s triple chocolate brownie.
Founded by Russ Fiorella and previously known as Smokestack BBQ , Jack Stack BBQ began in 1957 as a traditional Kansas City storefront barbecue restaurant with a modest selection of five to six items. Jack Fiorella, the eldest son, worked with his father until 1974, when he decided to branch off and start Fiorella’s Jack Stack of Martin City. To differentiate his barbecue restaurant in the competitive Kansas City barbecue scene of the mid 1970s, Jack and his wife, Delores, began cooking with gourmet hickory wood and created the most extensive barbecue menu in the country. Voted “Most Popular Restaurant in Kansas City” by the 2011 Zagat Survey of America’s Best Restaurants, these legends of Kansas City BBQ are consistently voted by Zagat as the “Highest Rated BBQ” in the country.
- 1 Slab Baby Back Ribs
- 1 lb. Pork Burnt Ends
- 1 lb. Beef Burnt Ends
- Hickory Pit Beans (32 oz.)
- Cheesy Potato Bake (32 oz.)
- Jack Stack Barbecue KC Original Sauce (32 oz.)
- Triple Chocolate Brownie (16 oz.)
Baby Back Ribs – Pork Loin Baby Back Ribs, Spicy Bbq Sauce (Water, Tomato Paste, Sugar, Distilled Vinegar, Hot Sauce (Cayenne Pepper, Vinegar, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Garlic), Worcestershire Sauce (Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor), Salt, Spices (Including Chili Peppers), Dehydrated Garlic And Onion, Torula Yeast, Natural Flavors, Molasses, Modified Food Starch, Maltodextrin, Dehydrated Bell Pepper, Caramel Color, Yeast Extract, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Seasoning (Salt, Spices (Including Chili Peppers), Sugar, Torula Yeast, Natural Flavors, Dehydrated Garlic, Tricalcium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide. Gluten Free. No Msg.
Pork Burnt Ends – Pork, Salt, Spices (Including Chili Peppers), Sugar, Torula Yeast, Natural Flavors, Dehydrated Garlic, Tricalcium Phosphate, Silicon Diocide. Gluten Free. No Msg.
Beef Burnt Ends – Beef. Gluten Free. No Msg.
Hickory Pit Beans – Beans (Prepared Navy Beans, Water, Sugar, Tomato Paste, Salt, Corn Syrup, Pork, Paprika, Vinegar, Calcium Chloride Added To Help Prevent Matting, Natural Flavorings, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder), Beef (Smoked And Fully Cooked), Tomato Ketchup (Tamato Concentrate [water, Tomato Paste], High Fructose Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Onion Powder, Spices, And Natural Flavoring), Sugare Barbecue Sauce Water, Tomato Paste, Sugar, Distilled Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Hot Sauce (Cayenne Pepper, Vinegar, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Garlic), Salt, Spices (Including Chili Peppers), Dehydrated Garlic And Onion, Molasses, Natural Flavor, Worcestershire Sauce ((Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor), Modified Food Starch, Caramel Color, Spice Extractives, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Chili Powder. Spices (Including Chili Pepper), Garlic And Onion Powder, Paprika (Color).
Cheesy Corn Bake – Corn (Whole Kernel), Mild Cheddar Cheese Sauce (Water, Aged Chedder Cheese [milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Partially Hydrogenated Soybean And/or Canola Oil, Modified Food Starch, Whey, Vinegar, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Color), Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk And Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Stabilizers (Carob Bean And/or Xantham And/or Guar Gums), Milk, Diced Ham Water Added (Cured With: Water Dextrose, Salt, Modified Food Starch, Potassium Lactate, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Exythorbate, Smoke Flavoring, Sodium Nitrate, May Contain Sodium Ascorbate).
Jack Stack Barbecue Kansas City Original Sauce – Water, Tomato Paste, Sugar, Distilled Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Hot Sauce (Cayenne Pepper, Vinegar, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Garlic), Salt, Spices (Including Chili Peppers), Dehydrated Garlic And Onion, Molasses, Natural Flavor, Worcestershire Sauce ((Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor), Modified Food Starch, Caramel Color, Spice Extractives, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative). Gluten Free.
Triple Chocolate Brownie
All products are fully cooked, vacuum-sealed and flash frozen to preserve peak flavor and moisture. Although each box is carefully packed with dry ice and picked up for immediate shipment, it is normal for the dry ice to evaporate and the meats to partially or fully thaw during shipment. Upon receipt, please cook, refrigerate or place in the freezer.
Detailed storage and heating instructions are included with each package.
Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue - Recipes
KANSAS CITY: Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue
101 W 22nd St
Kansas City, MO 64108
Open M-Thur 11-10, F-Sat 11-10:30, Sun 11-8
"The wait is sixty to ninety minutes", said the hostess. This joint was hopping from the American Royal crowd, not to mention the NASCAR and "Farmageddon" (Iowa State vs. Kansas State) crowds, but we were there for the long haul. A few Boulevard beers on draught from the crowded bar helped to ease things along, and we were into a white clothed table in a mere forty minutes. Lighting was at about candlelight level, so reading the menu was a chore and the photos from dinner are terrible, but the food was good. The menu is full of smoked options along with steaks and seafood, and you won't find your average 'cue sides here either. Choices range from smoked baked beans with brisket drippings to the famous cheesy corn bake. I had searched this menu online several times before the big day, so I was already set.
Crown Prime Beef Ribs are not your usual beef rib. They are thick cut leaving plenty of the prime rib portion on the rib. They are then smoked and cut into four inch thick behemoths. A single rib was enjoyed as an appetizer by our table. Ravenously hungry, we tore into the rib before proper photo documentation, but only about 1/4 of the rib made it on my plate which made for several mouthfuls of tender beefyness. Smoke was not able to penetrate the entire cross section, but bites that included the thick crust had plenty of smokiness.
Another appetizer offered was an array of burnt ends, and we opted for the pork burnt ends. These were essentially chunks of pork that had been charred over an open flame. The result tasted more like charcoal than BBQ.
Among their many rib possibilities, Jack Stack is probably most famous for their lamb ribs. With all of the fat in these ribs, it was good thing it was well rendered. Given the strong gamey flavor, it was hard to distinguish any smoke. I usually enjoy lamb, but I wouldn't order these again. The pork ribs were better if unmemorable. They came with a slathering of sweet sauce and also had little smokiness. The meat was plenty tender, but it was almost too mushy.
A plate of sliced sausage was above average for KC 'cue. The meat had a medium grind with a seasoning similar to italian sausage although it is consistently referred to as their special recipe Strawberry Hill polish sausage. My guess is that it's made by Krizman's. The casing had a good snap, and the overall flavor was excellent.
Brisket (not pictured) was thin sliced with moderate smokey flavor. The lean meat tasted mainly of roast beef. The sides were all they are billed to be. The hickory pit beans had a deeper smokiness than the meats and the sweetness was almost caramelized into the beans. Onion rings are enormous, crispy, and satisfying, and the cheesy corn bake is a new favorite.
Jack Stack is not your average BBQ joint. Their huge selection of items, and their white tablecloths seem to be suited to please the masses, but the quality of the meat is above average, and their attention to the non-BBQ items does not take away from their smoked items. I will surely return when I'm in KC again.
Fiorella's Jack Stack
You can’t say the words “Kansas City” without your mouth watering a little.
We are king of barbecue. We can all agree we’re better than the Carolinas, Memphis, and definitely better than Texas. Kansas City has its own style. It’s only within our own style where Kansas Citians start to split in opinions.
What is the best Kansas City barbecue? You’ll find over 100 options and over 100 answers.
Some like hole-in-wall dive joints, some like a little more upscale. Some like traditional barbecue and some like something with a little more flair. And some can’t pick just one favorite barbecue restaurant. It’s like picking a favorite child – impossible.
I am a born and raised Kansas Citian. There is one restaurant that stands out when I think of Kansas City barbecue: Fiorella Jack Stack Barbecue. Why? Family. Family traditions die hard and in my family. “Jack Stack,” as we say, is the best. I rarely went to a restaurant as a child. I am the oldest of four kids and as you can imagine four kids in a restaurant is a handful. And four kids in a restaurant when screens and WiFi didn't exist. So no, I didn’t frequent the service of Jack Stack growing up but it was always in my home. It’s been spread over the kitchen table countless times – pounds of meat, sauce, buns, beans, and – oh yes, the cheesy corn. Oh, the cheesy corn. We’re talking about barbecue and I’m talking about cheesy corn. It’s that good, I promise you.
Why barbecue? Why Kansas City? It dates back to 1908 when Henry Perry “the father of Kansas City barbecue” began serving his smoked meats to workers in downtown Kansas City. He then moved “Perry’s barbecue,” near 18th and Vine district. And then moved again a few blocks away to an old trolley barn. Of course, Kansas Citians know this area famed for its jazz in the 20s and 30s. After Perry’s death, Charlie Bryant took over the business then sold it to his brother – take a guess – Arthur Bryant. Arthur Pinkard worked for Perry as well. He helped George Gates found – take another guess – Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q.
But where does Fiorella’s Jack Stack fall in line in Kansas City’s history? 1957. Russ Fiorella (he’s Italian) dropped his wife off at the hospital to give birth to their sixth child, left, and bought a roadhouse called The Lucky Inn which became Smokestack BBQ and then Jack Stack BBQ. How’s that for a labor and delivery story. How dare he?!
Russ ran a small neighborhood grocery store where he was also the butcher. As grocery chains began to chase out the mom-and-pop shops, Russ chose to follow his passion for barbecuing. It just happened to be during his wife’s labor (it was a girl, by the way). Oh, it doesn’t stop there. To help pay for the restaurant, he sold the seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom house in Kansas City and moved the family of eight into the second-floor apartment above the restaurant, named Smoke Stack.
By 1974, Russ and his son, Jack, opened Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ in Martin City. Today, Jack Stack Barbecue is one of the more upscale barbecues in Kansas City. The restaurant ships to all over the nation. And like many barbecue restaurants in Kansas City, it holds numerous awards and recognition, both locally and nationally.
As far as best barbecue in Kansas City, it’s like your favorite child – you can pick one but you sure do love them each in their own way. This one has good barbecue and some damn good cheesy corn.
Jack Stack Pork Spare Ribs
Kansas City has a long history as a stockyard and meatpacking hub, and so it makes sense that barbecue here isn’t limited to just one type or cut of meat. While burnt ends (the ends of a cut of brisket) are commonly seen—as are BBQ pig snouts—pork ribs are especially beloved. They’re cooked until crisp and slathered with a sweet, tomato-based sauce, usually made with molasses, brown sugar or both.
- 2 racks of pork spare ribs
- Jack Stack KC All Purpose Rub or Rib Rub (recipe below)
- Kansas City BBQ Sauce (recipe below)
Place ribs on aluminum foil. Apply generous coating of Rib Rub to all sides. With ribs meat-side down, fold foil to create tight seal. Transfer to sheet pan. Bake in oven until tender and cooked through, about 2 hours.
Remove from oven. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Increase oven temperature to 350˚F. Open foil, and brush sauce on both sides of ribs. Place ribs meat-side up and return to oven, leaving foil open. Bake 10 minutes.
Remove from oven. Brush on another layer of barbecue sauce, and serve. Serves 4.
- 5 tablespoons butter
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 cups tomato sauce or ketchup
- ½ cup apple juice
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon chipotle powder (optional)
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat 2–3 minutes. Add onion, and sauté until it begins to brown. Add garlic. Sauté 2 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, except cayenne and salt, and stir well to combine. Simmer gently for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 hours.
Add cayenne and salt, to taste, just before serving. Sauce can be refrigerated in sealed container for up to 1 month. Makes 2½ cups (enough for 4 racks of ribs, or 10–20 chicken legs).
June Rodil, beverage director for McGuire Moorman Hospitality in Austin, which includes Lamberts Barbecue, provides wine recommendations. Daisy Ryan, the assistant beverage director, provides beer and cocktail pairing ideas.
Wine “I want something sweet and savory,” says Rodil. She favors rounded, full-bodied Portuguese reds, which offer plenty of sun-ripened fruit that can stand up to the richness of ribs and sauce without overpowering. “The kiss of sweetness in the fruit is balanced by their savory earthiness that alludes to hot volcanoes, not unlike the [barbecue] fire pits.”
Rodil’s pick Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande from the Douro.
Beer For relatively sweet, tomato-based sauces, skip overly malty beers and look for something light, crisp, hoppy or citrusy. IPAs, sour beers or German Kölsch are all good options.
Cocktails Like beer pairings, think bubbly and citrusy to help cut the richness of barbecue. Ryan suggests a classic Paloma (Tequila, grapefruit juice, soda water) or a French 75 (gin, lemon, sparkling wine).
While Tim Keegan grew up in a small family business, he’s now pitmaster to one of the best ’cue enterprises in the Midwest, if not the country.
Started by Russ Fiorella in Kansas City in 1957, Jack Stack began as a storefront that offered five or six items. Today, under a third generation of the Fiorella family, Jack Stack is a juggernaut of five Kanas City restaurants, a catering company and a nationwide shipping operation.
“My mom and dad had a barbecue restaurant, starting when I was nine years old,” says Keegan. “I remember our Christmases, the kids would take turns sweeping out, my dad would stay up all night and cook for the restaurant.”
He ran his own spot, Keegan’s BBQ, for several years, before he joined Jack Stack in 1997.
“You have to start with a top-notch quality product to get quality results,” says Keegan. After that, “make sure you don’t overseason the product. And make sure you’ve got plenty of time on your hands.
“To be a pitmaster, you need to not have a lot of hobbies,” he deadpans. “When you stand in front of the pit, it takes a lot of your day.”