This is what Shakespeare meant when he penned “Kansas City Style Barbeque”

Well, we’re back after a couple of outings where we experienced unfortunately poor examples of Kansas City barbeque.  Based on a few rumors and recommendations about a new-ish BBQ joint in the Kansas City area that was serving up killer barbeque, we decided to check them out for ourselves.  It took a couple of weeks to match our schedules, but Elwood and I got our families together and made it out to Roscoe’s BBQ in Edwardsville, KS.  Side note: I totally thought the first barbeque restaurant we would go to  that reminded us of the Dukes of Hazzard would be a place called “Boss Hogs.”  Oh well, luckily it gives us an excuse to post this sweet Dukes of Hazzard clip…

Counter

Roscoe’s opened it’s doors in October of 2009 after about ten years experience in BBQ competitions.  They are another one of those hidden gems that you won’t see advertising and really only gets their name out there through word of mouth.  If you are not familiar with the neighborhood, the building may be a little hard to find because the sign is pretty small.  However, they found a fix to this problem and painted a big “BBQ” on the side of the building for those coming in off the highway.  It was helpful because we already overshot the exit on the way there.

Dining Room

The restaurant isn’t huge, but they use their space wisely.  The building isn’t new either, but it’s clean. Even though they have only been there for a few years, it has charm and character that you would expect from a BBQ joint with many more years under their belt.  The simple design of the interior showcases their brand on the main wall and pictures of their competition days on the other walls.  Out back, the train comes by so often, you won’t even notice.

Once we placed our order at the counter, we grabbed our drinks from the self serve fountain and found our seats.  The food was delivered shortly.  While ordering, we were clearly trying to figure out the best way to try all of their meats and sides.  After a moment, the nice lady taking our order figured out what we were doing and helped get everything organized.  We ended up with four two meat dinners and a brisket sandwich for Elwood’s daughter.  It was a lot of food.

Dinner Spread

Once our food was delivered, I started to see why word has been spreading about Roscoe’s.  The food was presented in a way that shows they care about their product and quality.  The meat was served sauced, but not drenched.  Roscoe’s uses their sauce as more of a garnish to tie the plate together.  It is subtle and artistic, if you will.  Some restaurants seem to hide the flavor of their meat (sometimes a good thing unfortunately) by slathering the sauce.  Also, I always get excited when I spot a nice piece of bark hiding on my plate.  I was absolutely ecstatic to find mounds of bark mixed throughout the beef, pork, burnt ends, and ribs.  I was in barbeque heaven.

My thoughts on the food:

Pulled Pork

Pulled pork: there was a lot of bark mixed throughout the pork.  I was so excited to see this.  More restaurants should showcase their rub by presenting you with pieces of bark.  A proud chef would undoubtedly have done this in a competition setting for the judges.  I’m glad this routine has been passed down into his restaurant.  Aside from the bark, the pork was cooked perfectly and full of smoke color and flavor.

Burnt Ends

Burnt ends: They were huge.  There wasn’t as much of a smoke ring as you might expect from a burnt end, but the flavor was there.  Once again, the amount of bark was outstanding.  There  is no better showcase of a barbeque rub than what you will find on a good burnt end.  These were a great representation of the flavor profile that Roscoe’s is building their reputation upon.

Turkey and Ham:  Once again, they fall into the same category and are likely on the menu for those who are wavering on their true barbeque feelings. They were both moist and tender, but nothing spectacular.

Brisket Sandwich

Brisket: The flavor of the rub mixes well with the beef and you can taste it in each bite.  The beef is thinly sliced, which works well on the sandwich.  The smoke was present throughout the beef and the tenderness was balanced in every bite.

Ribs: These were the first time we have been served baby back ribs.  They were a welcome change as you don’t normally see them in the competition circuit or in restaurants for that matter.  St. Louis style ribs are more common due to the evenness and presentation they give.  They were lightly sauced and full of nice crisp bark.  The rub was quite present and gave an abundant texture.  The pink smoke coloring was uniform in each rib.

Ribs

Sides:

Coleslaw: It was the lightest and fluffiest slaw we have ever had.  It was refreshing and crisp.  There appeared to be some celery seed and quite a bit of green onion mixed high and low.  Looking at the dish, it reminded me of St. Patrick’s day from the unique coloring.

Beans: They taste and look like time and effort was spent in their preparation.  Mixed in was meat and what tasted like quite a bit of their original barbeque sauce.  The smoky flavor set these aside as a good representation of what barbeque beans should be.

Cheesy Corn:  There were cubes of ham mixed through the creamy, cheesy flavored corn.  They were good, but a little one dimensional.  If you like cheesy corn because it is cheesy, these are probably a safe bet.  However, if you like more depth to this style if dish, you might want to keep looking.

Fries:  They were crinkle cut, crisp, and evenly cooked.  The lightly salted fries were very genuinely good and the sauce was great for dipping.

Que-so Cheese Sticks: While not really a barbeque menu item (they don’t even try to hide it), the sticks were quite sensational.  They crispy tortilla shells and the spicy que-so melting in the middle were a great change of pace.  You can’t eat just one.

Onion Rings: These were fresh and crisp.  The batter was golden fried and was an overall good onion ring.

Sauce:

Original Sauce left, Hot Sauce right

The original sauce was a little thin but held its form.  It was slightly tangy and a bit fruity.  There was a smokey molasses sweetness in the sauce and possibly some liquid smoke to top it off.  It was deep red in color and there were some visible spices and peppers mixed in.  The other sauce was their Hot BBQ sauce.  It was not served at the table and was not offered.  We asked if they had any other sauces than the original and soon we had several small servings of the hot sauce in front of us.  The coloring was slightly darker but they both looked very similar.  The hot sauce was basically a kicked up version of the original.  A little spicier, but you could tell they were born from the same concept.  We recommend you try it.

The Hard Data:

Location: 9711 Kaw Drive, Edwardsville, KS 66111

Service Type: Counter with table serving

Alcohol Served: Bottled Beer

Website: www.roscoeskcbbq.com

Price:

Sandwich: $6.50

Slab: $15

Combo Plate: $10.50

Sides: $2.50

Ratings:

Category

Jake Rating

Elwood Rating

Meat

9/10

8.5/10

Sides

8/10

7.5/10

Sauce

8/10

8/10

Service

8/10

8/10

Value

8/10

9/10

Overall Grade

A-

A-

Summary:

Jake’s Take:

I found Roscoe’s to have pride in their food and high standards in quality.  You don’t see the type of plating and amount of bark at many barbeque restaurants.  It shows they know what they are doing and I think Roscoe will have his BBQ joint around for a long time.  I found the flavor to be exciting, well balanced, and different enough from many other restaurants to stand out in the crowd.

Elwood’s Take:

What stood out to me the most at Roscoe’s was the value.  It is not that the meal was inexpensive (it was well within an expected range) but the price, quantity and quality lines intersected at a very high point on the overall value graph.  All of the meat I found quite enjoyable and I would recommend any of it.  The sides complimented the meat well (and if you have read previous posts you know I find that important) and the sauce was a perfect compliment to the meat, although by no means required.  Overall I found Roscoe’s to be a great example of what I think “Kansas City Style” BBQ should be.
Roscoe's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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