In this cow town that we call Kansas City, McGonigle's Market is revered for the high quality meat cuts that they sell. You will find meat that passes through McGonigle's on the menu at nearly all of the hottest eateries around town (Westport Flea Market, Beer Kitchen, even James Beard award winning Debbie Gold serves it at her Red Door Grill, and that is just the tip of the iceberg). However, in this same cow town (the land of Arthur Bryant's, Jack Stack, Gate's, and Oklahoma Joe's), McGonigle's is probably the most slept on established BBQ place around.
Sure, they are at a bit of a disadvantage because they don't have a typical dining room. They served their smoked meats out of a trailer, that sits in front of their store, before it was fashionable. And if that wasn't enough, there are really only enough parking spaces for about a dozen cars, before you have to get creative. Yet still, it baffles my mind that you do not hear the name McGonigle's on the Travel Channel or even in the heated arguments between friends about where to get the best burnt ends in KC.
As I recently stated in INK Magazine's Summer Dining Guide, McGonigle's is a must eat, especially when you have great weather outside! You walk inside the market, pay for your meal (I suggest to go with whatever the special of the day is). Then you walk outside to the trailer, hand them your receipt, and then they hand you a box/sack of smoked awesomeness. There are tables set up in the adjacent strip of grass where you can eat beneath the shadows of umbrellas and shade trees. Admittedly, this system may seem a little convoluted to a first timer, but trust me, it's well worth the wait!
You can get anything from ribs to half chickens, and everything in between: brisket sandwiches, burnt end sandwiches, burgers, and of course the best smoked sausage in KC. Despite what the above linked INK dining guide may tell you, I was misquoted in saying that they have the best Italian sausage, the best sausage in town is a casing-less smoked sausage (think long skinny meatloaf) that comes in many different varieties and levels of heat. The sandwiches are piled so high with meat that, no matter how skilled of a sandwich eater you are, you will be unable to fight off the forces of gravity that pry the meat from right between the two buns (so make sure you grab a fork when they hand you your food).
The meats have a great rub caked on them. A rub in which you can taste slight hints of each of the components that you find in a good rub: salty, peppery, garlicy, and a little bit of sweetness, but no one of them overpowers the others. They are served dry but I love to put a couple spoons of the Blues Hog BBQ sauce (that is essentially spiced molasses) on my sandwich, despite the fact that Blues Hog is made in Memphis, and top it off with a couple house made pickle slices. That is a sandwich my friends!
So swing by and enjoy the weather, or grab and go, but no matter what you do: You have to stop sleeping on McGonigle's!
"That sounds great, but where do I get my McGonigle's fix in the winter time?" you ask. Go inside and get it from the deli counter, of course.