We are sure in most cases that if you cut a Kansas Citian they would bleed barbecue sauce. Now we have all heard stories about the various choices in this great BBQ town, but what about when you leave the metro? Well on a recent trek south we had the opportunity to test the saucy waters. We paid a visit to Branding Iron BBQ, which is located at 2027 North Commercial, in Harrisonville, Missouri.
The place is fairly nondescript from the outside. Without previous knowledge of it’s existence, you would probably pass right on by the exit. To those in the know, which was about everyone in town we spoke with, consider this their BBQ haven. With all of these good reports we figured we were in for a real treat. The inside is similar to most places of this size. The dining room is split between two sides, and there is a decent amount of seating available. The menu is fairly robust, and many of the dinner plates are available in various quantities, so you can order based on how hungry you are.
The owner visited our table while we were perusing the menu, and it gave us the opportunity to find out a little more about the establishment. She started the restaurant in 1991, and has kept true to her smoking method since the beginning. The meats are slow smoked using Missouri hickory, which comes through in the flavor. She explained that although she will alter the menu to satisfy customers requests, she tries to stay grounded on the basics. She offers two sauces, a Tangy mild or a Spicy hot, but she serves the meats naked, so visitors can let the flavors stand on their own. All of this background wasn’t making the selection easier, so we asked her to tell us the crowd favorites. We placed our orders, and waited eagerly for our meals.
I chose to try out the ribs, because I have always felt that is the best way for me to gauge the cooking method. I went small, and only ordered the four bones, which comes with choice of two sides. For those I had to try the pit beans and Cole slaw. These to me are the quintessential accompaniments to good barbecue. First the slaw. It was crisp and sweet, which happens to be the way we like it. The pit beans were well seasoned, and had a good proportion of meat to beans. The sauce was tangy, but left a slightly sweet aftertaste, which kept us coming back for more. But really, does anyone go to a barbecue joint for the sides? It was time to dig into the main course. The ribs were so tender and juicy. There was no need to add sauce, as the meat was fall off the bone and into your mouth good. Of course we wanted to test all the flavor options, so we sampled both sauces. We decided that the Spicy hot was our favorite.
Crystal has a thing for burnt ends, and here you choose either beef or pork. She decided to go with the beef. I had my doubts about this, as quite often restaurants will pick the leaner cuts, and they end up dried out or chewy. Not to worry here. These were juicy without being fatty, and easy to cut with a fork. The flavor was so delicate, yet hearty at the same time. Once again these were good enough without sauce, but we added some after a couple of bites, so it would make the picture prettier. By the end of the meal we were too stuffed to try one of their desserts, but perhaps next time we will leave a little room. Oh yes, there will be a next time. We are already thinking about making a stop during a trip we have planned to Springfield. Of course, since it’s only about 45 minutes away, perhaps we will just run out to Branding Iron BBQ before then. Are you up to test them out?
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