Rob Magee got hooked on cooking at an early age and took his skills to the highest level with a degree from the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America. Working his trade in some of the finest kitchens across the country, he would always make it a point to honor the tastes of whatever region he was in. So when he moved to Kansas City, he naturally became obsessed with mastering the glories of KC barbeque.
While still working as executive chef for Hilton, he assembled a competition team in his spare time called the Munchin Hogs. They didn’t just enter contests for fun, they ascended to the highest level of competitive barbeque in events across the country against the toughest teams — the real major leagues. Over a ten-year span they won a whole array of competitions and national championships. And Rob never tired of learning, honing his skill as an explorer of tastes and flavors, devising original sauces and rubs, always experimenting further and always using only the finest scratch ingredients. Competition barbeque is distinctive in that it’s all about serving food to finicky judges at its optimal window of perfection. Techniques for maintaining moisture, for example, had to be mastered that go far beyond the capabilities of most barbeque joints.
Throughout his career of working for others, Rob had a habit of jotting down ideas for that dream restaurant he would open one day. After awhile, he realized he was having such joy and success with his obsessive hobby why not bring his award-winning, major league competition barbeque to the public in a restaurant concept he would totally control? There was lots of barbeque in Kansas City but there was nothing like this — the pursuit of perfection from a classically trained chef with an entire menu created from scratch in an open kitchen designed just for the purpose.
"I had the burnt ends burger and it was absolutely the best burger and BBQ I have ever eaten."
Rob and his wife, Kelly, created their dream venue from scratch, making it completely functional for producing great food from scratch. They wanted it fun and contemporary, rustic and friendly but urban, contemporary and, of course, impeccably clean. The idea was always to offer the best barbeque in Kansas City with the best service possible.– all from a midtown location on West 39th Street, one of the most vibrant restaurant scenes in the area.
The unique kitchen is completely open, a far cry from the dank pits of traditional joints. It features a pair of state-of-the-art, five hundred pound stainless hickory fired smokers, the finest made, plus an oak fired grill for hot, open flame preparation of steaks, salmon, pork cuts, burgers, and vegetables. It has prep space for the 12-person team, intent on producing and plating every single item in the restaurant except the bread, which comes from a local bakery of the highest reputation. The kitchen has everything except a microwave. It’s all gas and wood fired, because, fresh-made food from scratch means just that: and service at the point of perfection is the whole idea.
The briskets are certified black Angus beef, aged 35 days to the time they’re served, the rib slabs are 3 and a half pound, St. Louis cut. The sausage is made in house to Rob’s perfected recipes, honed and written to the gram. Nothing is left to chance. The sauces and rubs are all Rob’s own recipe winners developed in the heat of major league competition. The rubs are mixed from fresh dried herbs and spices to strict specs by a local company. Even the slaw is from Rob’s sense of what works, the addition of fresh cut green apples adding just the right crispness and acid.
The meat for lunch goes in the smokers at 2 am for 6 hours, then is wrapped and finished in gas ovens for maximum moisture retention. When it comes out, the meat for dinner goes in. It’s a precision process, honed from years in competition. And it makes all the difference in the intensity of flavor, texture and moistness, ready to be sliced, plated and served in or carried out during that crucial window of competition barbeque perfection.
It’s smoke and grill heaven like you’ve never been served in a restaurant anywhere.
2012 National Reserve Grand Champion Overall Team of the Year, Team competed in 11 states in 36 contests.
Finished with seven grand championships and six reserve grand championships.
2011 Grand Champion Overall Team of the Year, led the team in 32 contests and finished 24 of them in the top four overall.
2010 Grand Champion Brisket Team of the Year, led team to compete in 37 contests in six states.
Grand champion in five contests and reserve grand champion in 4 contests.
JACK DANIELS WORLD CHAMPION BARBEQUE INVITATIONAL
Contestant in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Finished fifth place overall both 2010 and 2011.
2009 Grand Champion Chicken Team of the Year, led team to compete in 36 contests earning six grand championships and 5 reserve championships in seven states from Florida to Colorado.
2008 Grand Champion Team of the Year Overall, Grand Champion Rib Team of the Year, led team in 29 competitions in multiple states earning seven grand championships and eight reserve championships.
2007 Fifth Place Brisket Team of the Year, Tenth Place Overall Team of the Year. Six Contest Grand Championships and two
Reserve Grand Championships.
AMERICAN ROYAL BARBEQUE CONTEST
2011 Open Third Place Overall
2007 Open Sixth Place Overall
2005 Invitational Fifth Place Overall
2003 Open Fifth Place Overall