13 places to eat before you die

Named as one of the 13 places to eat before you die by Anthony Bourdain and Kansas City’s Best Barbecue by Zagat, Oklahoma Joe4’s is one of the metro’s culinary gems. As a food blogger, these two accolades alone are reason enough to want to get there and indulge. But a third reason has piqued my interest into tasting this barbecue as well.

I am going to get a little personal here and need to share a little history on why I am so interested in this barbecue. You see, my husband’s work location allows him to frequent the Olathe location quite often for lunch and we always have the same conversation every time he goes there. It goes something like this:

Steve: I went to Oklahoma Joe’s for lunch today.

Me: I still have not been there yet, but I cannot wait to try it.
Steve: I love it, but it makes my head sweat. I think it might be the sauce5.
Me: Really? I wonder why that is? Now, I really want to try it.


With this month’s issue focusing on barbecue, it was time I got myself to Oklahoma Joe’s and taste some of this ever popular, highly acclaimed and, according to my husband, sweat breaking barbecue4. The timing was perfect as I was in charge of hosting a family gathering and decided Oklahoma Joe’s could do the cooking for me.

Many reviews about this amazing barbecue also mentioned the potential for long lines. Apparently it does not take long for a line to form clear out the door. I decided I had better call ahead for my larger carry-out order.

With 10 mouths to feed, I studied the menu online and called the Olathe location with my plan of attack. We agreed that one smoked chicken ($12.29, serves three to four), a pound of brisket ($12.99, serves three adults), a pound of pulled pork ($11.99, serves three adults) and a quart of BBQ4 beans. ($8.39, serves five to six) would be more than enough to feed my crowd.

I arrived a little after 4 p.m. on a Friday. With the smoky aroma, neon signage and rolls of paper towels on the tables, I could already tell why Oklahoma Joe’s is a Kansas City favorite.

There was not anyone in line as I made my way to the counter for pick-up, but there were already some early diners at a handful of tables.

A separate line for those picking up carry-out is a wise plan, otherwise you will be in line waiting on everyone to place their orders and as I looked behind me, I noticed a line was starting to form.

What a feast. The brisket and pulled pork were tender, the chicken smoky and moist. The beans are like none other and are a three-bean mixture consisting of black, red and pinto. The sauce was spicy but still had great flavor, however it did not seem to make my head sweat and am a little disappointed. I mean Oklahoma Joe’s is on the list of one of the top 13 places to eat before you die, I think it is worth breaking a little bead.

Though I have yet to dine in, I did ask my husband how it worked since he usually visits a couple of times a month. He assured me the service is always friendly and confirmed what the reviews had said about there being a line but noted that it moves quickly. You place an order at the counter and it is prepared right there and once you have your tray you are out of the way and on to a table.

With a couple additional dishes brought by family members, this feast fed the masses and we enjoyed every delicious bite. The only thing missing were burnt ends, which I adore. Oklahoma Joe’s only serves burnt ends on Mondays at lunch, Wednesdays after 4 p.m., and Saturdays at lunch. I am looking forward to trying them so I see another visit to Oklahoma Joe’s in my future.

Oklahoma Joe’s now has three locations in the Johnson County area with the much anticipated Leawood location now open for business.

The original location, on the northeast corner of 47th and Mission Road, is literally inside a working gas station. Talk about charm! The second is in Olathe on the southwest corner of 119th and Strangline Rd., near I-35. The Leawood location is in the former T.G.I. Friday’s building at 11723 Roe Ave. Oklahoma Joe’s is open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. They are closed on Sundays.

Oklahoma Joe’s | 3002 West 47th Avenue | 913.722.3366 | 11950 South Strang Line Road | 913.782.6858 | 11723 Roe Ave | 913.338.5151 | OklahomaJoesBBQ.com

Hot Spots are based on an unannounced visit and the meal is paid for by Lifestyle Publications

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