By: Sarah Gish
May 17, 2016
Everyone has a go-to barbecue order.
Mine is burnt ends — tender, charred bits of beef cut from the point end of a smoked brisket. But lately I’ve been branching out with pulled pork, made by smoking tough pork shoulder low and slow until it’s soft enough to shred with a fork.
Pulled pork is known as a Southern specialty, but plenty of Kansas City smokehouses do it right. One is Plowboys Barbeque, which has locations in Blue Springs and downtown Kansas City.
The downtown location at 1111 Main St. recently rolled out a pulled pork hoagie inspired by Kansas City’s new streetcars. The Streetcar Sandwich ($8.99) stuffs an oblong Roma Bakerybun with pulled pork, house-made sausage and thick slices of smoked ham. Creamy coleslaw, crinkle-cut pickles and a drizzle of Plowboys’ savory KC Crossroads sauce top it off.
The oversized sandwich is pretty messy, so I ate it with a fork. The best bites were loaded with juicy shreds of pork, made by smoking bone-in pork butt for 12 hours. The pork is trimmed of excess fat and flavored with Plowboys’ Yardbird rub, a sweet and spicy seasoning blend made with chili pepper, paprika and garlic.
I like the strong smoky flavor of the pulled pork at Woodyard Bar-B-Que, 3001 Merriam Lane in Kansas City, Kan. Try it on the Triple P ($9.95) sandwich, stacked tall with pork, ham, crispy bacon and melted provolone cheese. The sandwich comes with beans, coleslaw or thin and crispy shoestring fries.
Another KCK barbecue joint, Rosedale Bar-B-Q at 600 Southwest Blvd., serves a pulled pork sandwich called the Pig Pen ($7.85) that reminds me of a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. The slightly spicy sandwich tops a soft white bun with pulled pork, pepperjack cheese and grilled fajita peppers. It’s served with crispy onion straws and jalapeno “bottlecaps” — hot peppers that are sliced, then fried.
If hot dogs are your thing, try the Ball Park Pork ($8.50) at Q39, 1000 W. 39th St. It’s a sandwich, but it tastes just like a gourmet frank to me. Picture a soft, salty pretzel bun piled with tender shredded pork coated with pickles, mustard and deliciously sharp white cheddar cheese sauce.
Buttery, nutty Fontina cheese melds the Triple Crown ($10), a pork sandwich at Char Bar, 4050 Pennsylvania. The Triple Crown tops toasted sourdough with three kinds of pork — pulled pork, smoked ham and bacon — plus sweet caramelized onions, salty pickles and Southern-style Duke’s mayonnaise.
Not big on bread? Try the Pig Pie at Mr. Bacon BBQ, a hole-in-the-wall smokehouse at 846 Illinois St. in Lawrence. There, the menu changes daily, but customers can always count on the Pig Pie ($6.99), a layered dish made with Fritos corn chips, barbecue beans, shredded cheese, light coleslaw and, of course, plenty of pulled pork.