In Kansas, anyone treating barbecue with anything less than the utmost respect is usually asking for trouble. The State’s well-documented love affair with slowly smouldered meat bits and its signature “burnt ends” draws in visitors from across the world. If you want to see just what’s possible with fire, smoke and seasoning, Kansas should be at the top of your bucket list.
It almost goes without saying that to become a successful barbecue business in Kansas, you need to be at the top of your game. However, taking meat seriously doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t dare to be a little different. As one legendary restaurant has proven, when circumstances dictate, Kansas barbecue can come from some seriously surprising places.
Like thousands of other restaurants, Jones Bar B Q, on the outskirts of Kansas City, has been hit hard by coronavirus. Lockdown limitations and lack of customers has meant that their legendary menu has had to be drastically modified in order to remain viable. Now, instead of offering the usual sit down service, the family-run restaurant is providing customers with barbecue sandwiches 24/7, served straight from a specially constructed vending machine.
The unusual gadget harbours a whole range of different sandwiches from the Jones Bar B Q menu, including the joint’s signature rib tips and burnt ends. As per a report by the Kansas City Star:
“Jones Bar-B-Q has launched a new way customers can pick up their favorites after-hours and still practice social distancing. A new vending machine outside their shop, at 6706 Kaw Drive in Kansas City, Kansas, carries some of their top-selling items — including chicken wings and side ($4), burnt ends sandwich with side ($7.50) and rib tips with side ($7.50). The vending machine also is selling desserts by Golden Boy Pies.”
According to Gastro Obscura, blueprints for the innovative barbecue approach were actually submitted by co-owner Deborah “Little” Jones over six months ago, long before coronavirus was even considered a concern for restaurants. For Jones Bar B Q, it’s a happy coincidence that social distancing measures have made their idea more essential than ever.
Of course, preprepared barbecue sandwiches aren’t going to compare to something served hot off the grill. However, given that the traditional Kansas barbecue fix may be off the menu for some time, Jones Bar B Q’s alternative seems like a great second choice.