April is International Jazz Appreciation Month
Start at the only American Jazz Museum in the country. The Museums at 18th & Vine include the American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
The 18th and Vine district is an internationally recognized area, truly one of the cradles of jazz. The building preserves America's own music: American Jazz. Museum features include exhibits on Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and countless others.
See Charlie Parker's saxophone and his various Down Beat awards. Take a trip down memory lane in The Blue Room, a fully functioning jazz club and the Gem Theatre is just across the street. The Gem is a larger site that also hosts live jazz music events.
Whether you live in the area or are vacationing, make this journey through Kansas City's past and present. Commemorate April as International Jazz Appreciation Month. The building is also home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. A privately funded museum dedicated to preserving the history of Negro League baseball in America. This is a very interesting site for any and all baseball fans.
May is National Barbecue Month
While you are in the jazz district, complete the experience with a stop by one on Kansas City's best-known Barbecue joints. KC has more barbeque restaurants per capita than any other city. May is National Barbecue Month, but the ribs in this city never stop cooking.
It's easy to find Kansas City's famous barbeque. There are more than 100 barbeque restaurants in Kansas City. You know you're getting close when you can smell that mouthwatering 'cue.
Kansas City's smokey meats with rich, red sauces can turn any kind of meat into the best meal you have ever eaten. Restaurants may feature ribs, pork, ham, mutton or sausage, but the key is low and slow.
When meats come out of the barbecue pit, adding the sauce is optional. Purists to not add sauce, even if it is sitting on the table. Other restaurants are famous for their sauces.
Most of Kansas City's barbecue sauces are tomato-and-molasses-base. Some restaurants have a variety of sauces. But Rib King Arthur Bryant's world-famous sauce is vinegar based.
Plan your own barbecue tour with Visit KC's Barbecue: Can’t Miss BBQ Joints.
Try some of these legendary barbecue joints.
- Arthur Bryant's
1727 Brooklyn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64127
Arthur Byrant's restaurant sites are on the website for all Arthur Bryant's.
Arthur Bryant's has been serving ribs since the 1920's. Join the sauce debate, 3 kinds are on every table.
- Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue
3002 W 47th Ave, Kansas City, KS 66103 (neighborhood: Argentine / Rosedale)
There is always a line at all three of the Kansas City restaurants. Don't let the name fool you, this is Kansas City inspired 'cue. OKJoes
600 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66103, Cross Streets: Between Rainbow Ext and Hill St
Always on the favorites list for Kansas City's authentic barbecue.
- Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue Freight House
101 W 22nd, Kansas City 64108
Jack Stack is not a typical rib joint. But don't let the polished brass and matching chairs fool you. Voted the best, again and again. Fiorella's has a mail order service, if you can't get to Kansas City.
1325 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd. Kansas City, MO 64110. Six stores and 4 sauces are not enough. You can never get too much Gates Barbecue. Plan for an early or late lunch to beat the crowds.
- Wabash BBQ
646 S Kansas Ave. Excelsior Springs, MO 64024 (By the Elms hotel) It's a small restaurant, in an old train depot, so if you are coming on weekends expect a wait. (Well worth it on Saturdays in the Summer when there great blues bands.) Order the onion rings. Wabash BBQ is worth the trip to Excelsior Springs. They have a desert menu, although I've never seen anyone that had room left after a bbq feast.
What are burnt ends?
While we are talking about Kansas City barbecue, you need to know about burnt ends. They really are burnt ends. Restaurants used to trim off those crispy, overcooked end pieces on barbecue brisket. Usually, burnt trimmings went in to season the barbecue beans.
Customers found that those well-done little end pieces are delicious. Burnt ends are so popular that they are on all Kansas City barbecue menus. If you are skeptical, start your meal with a burnt ends appetizer.
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