LC’s is a no-frills BBQ parlor where dishware and utensils are disposable. A television set is always on in one corner of the room and a few dusty game-animal trophies adorn the walls. Place your order and pay for it at the counter, where you have a view (and sniff) of the pit, and it will be delivered to your table posthaste.
It is a good thing that sandwiches come in trays, because they are so messy that no flat plate could contain them. You get a heap of sauce-sopped meat piled onto a puny slice of white bread and the meat is topped with another slice. The bread underneath has disintegrated before it arrives at your table, so this sandwich cannot be lifted by hand. You either use plastic utensils or pick at it with fingers. (All tables are outfitted with rolls of paper towels.)
Beef, ham, turkey, pork, sausage, and ribs are all pit-cooked; and among the “specialty meats” listed on the menu is burnt ends. These are crisp, chewy, extra-luscious nuggets of meat cut from the outside edges of smoked brisket. Many pieces are laced with an obscenely delicious amount of fat; there are chewy pieces and crunchy pieces; and while the ends might be dry all by themselves, LC’s excellent sauce makes them sing.
In the ongoing and certainly never-ending debate over which KC Q joints reign supreme, and which have passed their prime, let us nominate LC’s in the former category. For our money, LC’s is one of the greats, in Kansas City or anywhere.
“When you see a fork in the road, take it” said Yogi Berra, and he could have been giving directions to LC’s, for it’s located on the triangle formed by the fork between Blue Parkway and Sni-A-Bar Road. If your windows are rolled down as you approach, you’ll probably know you’re close well before it comes into view.
It’s not a large place, and much of its business is take-out. There are a few tables for eating in, and they provide a choice ringside seat to the goings on at the smoker. The brisket that emerges from that smoker is without peer, ineffably tender, smokey without being acrid, a perfect balance between fat and lean. The burnt ends “sandwich” is an impossibly large pile of meat chunks doused with their terrific celery seed accented barbecue sauce, garnished with white bread. The mountain of fresh-cut fries is first rate.
So is it the best BBQ in Kansas City? That’s not a question we can even pretend to answer. We do know that we don’t agree with those who denigrate the legendary Arthur Bryant’s. It may not be what it once was (we can’t say), but it’s still awfully good. In particular, we are simply addicted to Bryant’s hot-and-tart vindaloo-like barbecue sauce. A Kansas City barbeque tour should still, in our opinion, include Arthur Bryant’s, but we submit that a visitor cannot leave KC without a visit to LC’s. It’s as good as they come.