Let’s time-travel back to 1957. The world was cast into the “Space Race” with the launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite. In America, Jailhouse Rock was climbing the charts, while Elvis purchased Graceland. Frisbees first hit the market and The Music Man opened on Broadway. (You can read our article about the composer here.) While all of these events were taking place, here in Kansas City we were seeing the start of what would become a family tradition. Russ Fiorella launched his barbecue eatery with a modest menu of a few meat options. From this humble beginning, the Jack Stack Barbecue dynasty would grow.

Gourmet BBQ

By the mid-1970s, the barbecue scene in Kansas City had become highly competitive. Jack and his wife, Delores, expanded their menu to include steaks, seafood, and signature sides to stand out from the crowd. He switched to Hickory wood for his smoke, which gave his meats their characteristic flavor. Fast forward to today, and Jack Stack has become a local chain with six locations. The menu has also expanded and teams with appetizers, sandwiches, full plates, and family-sized platters.

A Family Tradition

For this article, we made a visit to their Lee’s Summit location. Even during a mid-afternoon stop, we found the place to be busy. The crowd was filled with families, business gatherings, and couples out for a bite. We fell into the third category but it was obvious that this place draws all ages of diners. The upscale, relaxed vibe makes it easy to slow down and savor the experience. After exploring the menu, we decided that one of the family platters would offer the broadest sampling. With this in mind, we ordered the Roundup.

Meaty Goodness

While we waited for the good things that were to come, our discussion turned to the volume of food that was soon to descend upon our table. We knew that the possibility of devouring the entire meal was a pipe dream, so we decided just to eat until we were stuffed. When our server delivered the goods, we could hardly wait to dive in. Of course, pictures first, then pleasure. The platter is filled with all types of yummy eats but it’s the meats that we wanted to sample first. The turkey was moist and tender, just like the brisket. The pulled pork flavor popped with the addition of some of their spicy sauce. In between ravenous bites, we tossed in spoonful’s of their creamy Cole Slaw.

Toss in Some Sides

The hits didn’t stop on that end of the platter. Moving along we came to the tender pork ribs. This is the dish I usually fall back on when comparing barbecue joints. Jack Stack Barbecue certainly has theirs down to an art. To balance the weight of all of these meats, they toss in a couple of pots to boot. The baked beans are sweet and rich, which had us coming back for seconds and thirds. Cheesy corn is another fantastic addition and theirs has a nice base without overpowering the corn.

Jack Stack Barbecue

Our visit to Jack Stack Barbecue tested the limits of our stomachs. While we weren’t able to polish off all of the food, we left a significant dent. Towards the end, we found ourselves picking at the scraps, hesitant to leave any of the smoky goodness behind. Finally, the decision was made to waddle away from the table, knowing we had given it a valiant effort. Our experience reminded us of the many unique barbecue flavors scattered around the Kansas City metro. While we have enjoyed some fantastic dishes all around North America, it’s here that our hearts come for barbecue family tradition.

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