Barbeque is almost a religion in Kansas City. Everyone has an opinion and a foundation from which they formed it. Rosedale Bar-B-Que started life on July 4, 1934. Originally known as The Bucket Shop, this was the spot for hot dogs and beer. What started as a way to survive the Depression, soon became a successful venture. The owners soon realized that smoked meats were a much better accompaniment, and started a small shop just about 100 feet from their hot dog stand. This was the start of their permanent home at 600 Southwest Boulevard, in Kansas City, Kansas. It had been a minute since our last visit, so we were excited to see it again.
We like to imagine what life was like back there in the early days. Prohibition had ended and the flow of beer was returning (not that it really stopped). To get their barbecue project started, they roughed in a small 12 x 16-foot space. The tin walls were fine for summer. When winter rolled around, they had to add some plywood to the interior walls to keep customers warm. Without refrigeration, the beer wouldn’t be cold. To solve that, they brought 300 lb. ice blocks in from a local ice house. After some cold suds, many of the patrons would get a hankering for some barbecue.
The site has seen a lot of changes but some things still remain the same. Customers order their choices at the counter, wait for their food, and then find a table. You have the option to purchase individual meals or even meats by the pound. This is old school barbecue, the way it was meant to be. You’ll need plenty of napkins to battle the sauce. Your neighbors at the next table could be businessmen meeting to discuss new ventures or blue-collar workers refueling after a long day. At Rosedale Bar-B-Que you’ll find that they focus on the food and that’s what you should want a barbecue place to do.
That's Kansas City BBQ
In Kansas City, barbecue is about tradition. Sure we have tons of new places starting up each year, but it takes time to see if they can maintain their consistency. Too many start off great but fail to make it through the growing phase of the business. Being able to produce large volumes of smoked meats isn’t hard. Doing it consistently, day after day, now that’s a feat. Rosedale Bar-B-Que is the oldest barbecue joint in KC, which has been continuously run by the same family. That’s what Kansas City tradition is all about.
Twist on Tradition
Now that we’ve hyped tradition, let’s step a little bit to the side. These days there is a push for innovation. It comes in every direction, so we weren’t surprised to find it at Rosedale Bar-B-Que. While they still have all the classics (We’ll get there in a minute), they added a little feature we hadn’t tried. The Pig Pen is a handheld that puts a twist on tradition. It starts with a heaping pile of pulled pork (or beef if you prefer) and gets topped with fajita peppers and pepperjack cheese. Toss in some onion straws and fried jalapeno bottlecaps for good measure and you’ve got yourself a winner. We’ll admit that this thing is hard to hold, so we dove in with forks.
Back to the Basics
We wanted to make sure we didn’t ignore the dishes that made Rosedale Bar-B-Que famous. With so many good options, we decided to toss in a Belly Buster Dinner. With three meat choices and three sides, it alone was plenty for the two of us. It was hard to whittle it down, but we ended up choosing sausage, turkey, and beef. That combination gave us a broad sampling of Rosedale’s menu. Our sides had to stay true to barbecue tradition, so we chose fries, Cole slaw, and beans. If you are wondering whether we finished all of this feast, we did not.
Old School Satisfied
As we sat back and wondered about our eating habits, the barbecue sauce coursed through our veins. This is what Kansas City barbecue was meant to be. Full and happy are common occurrences that happen when you partake in our city’s premier cuisine. Rosedale Bar-B-Que is one of the mainstays of this tradition and deserves the accolades it has received. It’s not fancy, it’s just good. When guests come to visit, from out of town, this is one of the places you take them to showcase the real barbecue life in our city. Now excuse us as we waddle to our car.