RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack (Mission, KS)

It’s been awhile since my last restaurant post. I have month’s worth of mouthwatering food stories to share now that I have time to write again, so I guess we’ll get started with a joint I visited way back in May. For my birthday and last hurrah in Kansas City before the big move to Minneapolis, I decided it was only natural to find a barbecue shack before leaving the city. After scouring Yelp for ideas on places I hadn’t been yet (although I was tempted to just go back to Oklahoma Joes), I found a little place in the suburbs that had been featured on Triple D (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives for those unfortunate souls who don’t watch the Food Network). The joint was called RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack, and it looked like a hole in the wall, which more often than not means it has some of the best food you’ll ever taste. I was not disappointed.

Our table started out with two helpings of the Jalapeno Sausage for an appetizer. I love me some spice, and after seeing it featured on DD&D, I knew I had to try it. The sausage, which is made of ground pork butt and diced jalapenos, is smoked in a rolled up corn husk and served still partially wrapped. The dish came with flour tortillas, Dijon mustard, and RJ’s special barbecue sauce. The meat itself had a saucy kick to it thanks to the jalapenos and literally fell apart in my mouth. Great texture and the extra, tangy spice in the barbecue sauce just pushed it over the top. Stunning.

Jalapeno Sausage

For my main meal, I ordered the Memphis Po’ Boy. This beast of a sandwich came in a toasted French roll loaded with a gratuitous amount of pulled pork and a heaping pile of coleslaw on top of that. I couldn’t even close the sandwich let alone get my mouth all the way around it. Needless to say, it was a little messy, but completely worth the cleanup. The waitress brought three different barbecue sauces to the table – one mild, one slightly hotter (their signature), and then their hottest sauce. For my first few bites, I mixed the mild and their signature as suggested by several Yelp reviews. Probably the best combination of barbecue sauces I’ve ever tasted. For the remainder of the sandwich, I used their hottest sauce; I can never get enough spice. This sauce was a good kick in the mouth, but really brought out the smokiness of the pulled pork and accented the sweet mayo in the coleslaw nicely as well. I will stand behind this sandwich as the best pulled pork I’ve ever had, and I’ve been to most of the well-known KC barbecue joints during my college years. I ordered sides of sweet potato fries and potato salad to go along with my po’ boy. The sweet potato fries were heavenly, not overly salted and again going well with the spiciness of the sauce. The potato salad was above average as well, though nothing overly special. I am biased on that, though, since my mother makes the best potato salad I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve been eating that for years. I washed all of that down with a pint of Boulevard Wheat, taking advantage of the delicious KC brewery’s signature beer one last time while it was on tap (nowhere in Minnesota has this on tap, unfortunately).

Memphis Po’ Boy and Potato Salad

I hadn’t been more full at the end of a meal in a long time, but the shack wasn’t done yet. The waitress brought out a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting for my birthday. The cupcakes are apparently one of their chef’s specialties. Who knew? This thing was bakery good – incredibly moist and full of sugary sweetness. I was thoroughly impressed for a restaurant that’s supposed to be focused on its BBQ.

Red Velvet Cupcake

Overall, RJ’s ranks as one of the top barbecue meals I’ve ever had, and this is after living in the KC area for four years. The place looks like a hole in the wall and may be in a seedier part of KC, but the food and the service should more than make up for any discretion you may have about giving this place shot. If you don’t trust me, then trust Guy Fieri. That guy knows his stuff.

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