Friday, November 5, 2010

The 2


Wyandot BBQ 2 at 7125 W 75th st, OPKS is, and has been for a long time, an odd restaurant. From the outside it looks like it used to be a Taco Via or something similar. It's not much different inside which gives it the feel of a down home joint. The lack of updating made me feel like the owners have either dedicated themselves to the barbecue and don't really care how much the restaurant profits or that they don't really care how many new customers they attract.Their prices are lower than most. I paid $11.61 for my meal and a refillable drink. The staff was SUPER friendly and helpful. I got a big smile from the girl at the counter and help finding a to go box at the end of my meal from another girl cleaning tables. They all seemed to have worked together for some time and made me feel right at home. There were a few TVs in the corners playing news, sports and Judge Judy. Aesthetically this place is not attractive, but I think that was overcome by the actual meal.

I usually try to taste as many of the options as I can in one trip to the restaurants on our list. This time I was on my own so I didn't get to share. I ordered the mixed plate to encompass as much menu as I could. The mixed plate comes with beef, ham, 3 ribs, 2 pieces of cold Texas toast and a side as a standard, but you can mix and match. I can't recall if there was an upcharge because I didn't substitute anything. I have to say that the ribs were the centerpiece of the meal. They had a fantastic smoke taste that still let the meat's flavor come through. I liked the tough-ish skin that was created by the smoking process followed by the natural greasiness of the meat. The grease seemed to carry the rub flavor to the bone which earns a BIG thumbs up. What I was disappointed in on the ribs was that they seemed to still have the silver skin attached. It COULD have been the toughness from the smoking, but the ends of the ribs didn't have this problem, so I think that the pit master may not have the knowledge to remove this before doctoring the slab. That is hard to swallow. (yep, I said it.) If it's your job to know meat, partner, you should do some research.

The beef on the plate was just as tasty. They had a good smoke flavor with a shallow smoke ring, which seems to me that there is some pretty intense smoke in the pit. While much of it stayed in slices some of it was practically shredded just from handling. I think that this probably happens while the meat is kept warm on the steam table more so than in the pit. I know you can't smoke meat to order and I'm okay with this. The handling of the meat from pit to plate can ruin it, though. Wyandot 2 kept the meat moist and flavorful. Good job.

The ham... If this is how my dear Aunt Lucille served it I'd have been at her house every Sunday. Since it's not Aunt Lucille's I have some reservations, and I don't mean the kind with white linen tablecloths, crystal glasses and a maitre d'. The meat tasted fine and was cooked well. It wasn't bad, per se, but it didn't seem appropriately flavored for a barbecue restaurant. The overwhelming seasoning was clove. I know it's a traditional way to flavor ham, I just wasn't expecting it and it didn't add anything to the experience. The chef maintained the moisture in the meat and, like the rest, I liked the smoke flavor, but unless I'm having a holiday dinner and I'm in a pinch for extra meat I'm not going to order the ham again.

The sauce wasn't distinctive, by any means. More of the half-assed, ketchup based stuff that I've gotten at most other Kansas City local joints. I hear it's acceptable to use ketchup as a base and I'm sure it's used well by some, but I'm starting to get the feeling that too many restaurants are using it as a fallback, and losing the 'personality' that can be gained with a stepping-up at the foundation of BBQ in the kitchen. In my opinion, in a city known for its BBQ culture a restaurant should be judged first and foremost on its ability to produce good meats. The next appraisal should be individuality in its sauce. Wyandot 2's isn't an exceptional sauce. It was sweet with a little smoky red chili twinge at the finish, but with no middle palate it left me disappointed, though I've had worse. Apparently others aren't as picky because I'm in the middle of trying about 80 different BBQ restaurants.

At the end of the day I liked this place. I'll go back, and I suggest you give it a try. It's a fast, tasty option for good meat with ample seating. This means a lot coming from a guy with an ample seat.

UPDATED BY MARK (November 5th, 2010)

Sarah, Gunnar and I dropped in to the Wyandot 2 BBQ last night since it's been years since I've been here and Sarah's never been.  She was really confused at first as to where I was going when I started driving to 75th and Metcalf.  She says to me "Where are you going?  Wyandotte county is the other way!"

Well, pulling up it seems obvious that this place used to be a pizza hut, but that must have been many years ago because this BBQ place has been around a long time.  And it really is showing it's age.  The interior is VERY dated looking.  Sarah and I both got sandwiches which say you can choose between bread and a bun.  We forgot to choose during ordering so we ended up with the bread, and it sucked.  Seriously, look at the picture of my sandwich.  This is from the counter to the table.  It looks like an M80 went off, destroying the bread.  Anyway, the meat was really good.  This is one of those sliced pork places, but I still went with the pork and beef.  Both meats were excellent, and Sarah's turkey was good for her.  I thought the turkey was a little dry, but then again it IS turkey.  

We got Gunnar a hot dog.  This has to be one of the wonkiest looking hot dogs I've ever seen at a restaurant.  It tasted like a Wrangler hot dog that they threw on the grill.  And if you know me, you know I love the Wranglers.  

As for the beans:  imagine the flavor of green peppers.  Not terrible, but I don't like green peppers that much so I'd pass on them next time.

And the sauce is just... well... ummm...   It tastes like clovers or cinnamon.  Not my favorite flavor for BBQ sauce.  

So, I guess the moral to this story is, they have good tasting meats.  Just bring your own sauce.