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BBQ Joints > Kansas

Woodyard BBQ

3001 Merriam Lane
Kansas City, KS 66106

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June 15, 2011, 7:32 p.m.

I read a lot of bbq reviews and I'm always perplexed at what passes for quality Q in KC. I'm convicted that I need to be much more specific and quantitative in my reviews of this unique cuisine.

On our virgin visit to Woodyard, my wife and I were treated to the "first-timer's complimentary drumstick". I eat about one drumstick a decade so I was especially curious about this meat treat. Pleasantly surprised, the leg was nicely spiced with a peppery rub and had a hint of smoke, although the skin and meat was not at all dark from smoke. I give the drumstick an A-.

I ordered the four meat sampler - brisket, sausage, rib, burnt ends. At $10 I consider this a good deal. Sadly, the sampler did not live up to the fowl foreplay. The meat simply did not meet the expectations of someone who knows barbeque. Brisket: The mother of all things smoked was tender enough, but only one side had about a sixteenth of an inch smoke "ring". It was tasty, but not remarkable. I give it a B-. Sausage: Great grind! Though small in diameter, the sausage was lean, coarse, and savory. Limited smoke left the skin its original color. Still, very tasty. A-. Rib: The bone fell off the meat. (I meant to say it that way.) Overcooked and same problem with the smoke. C. Burnt ends: I should say "burnt ends" - they were neither burnt nor ends. This was an assortment of smoked pork and brisket well chopped and heavily sauced. The burnt ends were more like the drek Gates serves than the heavenly hunks found at Smokehouse and JackStack. I only took a couple bites and boxed the rest to bring home for bean seasoning. D. Wifey loved the potato salad. Although well seasoned, I despised the bbq beans (as I despise all navy / white beans - see review of Wil Jenny's).

The broader perspective: On an early Thursday evening in March, we were the only ones dining at Woodyard. The place looks like a scene from Deliverance with shanties and shelters scattered about the premises (this is Wyandot County after all). I hear the joint picks up traffic in the summer and I can imagine that more people and live music would improve the ambiance.

I asked the only employee present, Richard, about how meats were prepared. He allowed that the "dust" (not rub) was mostly pepper and lacked aromatics. He said the chicken got as much dust as the ribs which doesn't make sense given the richer flavor of the pork meat. As I guessed, the brisket got no dusting at all. Crying shame. I asked if the ribs were cooked the day of our visit or the day before. He was uncertain... which says enough.

I'm going to revisit Woodyard again in the summer and see what the place is like when there is a higher turnover of food and more life-forms present. ( has some nice discounts certificates - not that there's anything wrong with that.) Normally I would not return, but since barbeque is the mother's milk of the City of Fountains, I want to be extraordinarily fair.