KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ The barbecue trail to this Midwestern city, known for its historic rail and steamship routes, pioneer trails and cattle drives, is paved with a thick, ketchup- and molasses-based sauce _ and leads to a crossroads of sorts.
Located midway between two barbecue bastions _ Memphis and Texas _ the city borrows from those destinations: slow-cooking pork ribs seasoned with a dry rub, a la Memphis, and the beef brisket, hot links and ham from Texas. But it also adds pulled pork topped with coleslaw in the Carolina-style and trimmed lamb ribs in the Denver tradition.
Common to all of these meats is the sauce, slightly sweet and seasoned with signature doses of piquant flavorings, which paints the Kansas City-style brand on the barbecued specialties.
To many, Kansas City is the barbecue capital of the world.