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Mark Stratton's Restaurant Review



Hickory Log Bar-B-Q


5047 Welborn Lane

Kansas City, Kansas




Tuesday - Saturday 11:00 am - 8:00 pm

Closed Sunday and Monday

Adam and D. Novosel, proprietors


By Mark Stratton


May 8, 2009


Welcome to my first restaurant review for KansasCityBarbecue.com. In approaching this column it seemed appropriate to visit the past, as well as the present, in Kansas City Barbecue.

It seems you canít drive more than two blocks in this town without driving by a BBQ joint. My four siblings and I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. We were just one of hundreds of post World War II and Korean War families who made our home here. As I grew up, I knew all of my neighbors, and every kidís mom was every other kidís mom. If you acted up at our house you caught the same hell that I would, and when you got home, your mother already knew what you did, and you got the same treatment all over again!




We often got together to play baseball, hide and seek, watch a ball game, or a Friday night boxing match at each otherís houses. Our back yards were usually grass-free, worn bare from all the time we spent playing there.

My first taste of beer was a Falstaff, (thanks to Uncle Louie) which came from a can that needed a church key to open it. We didnít cook-out as much as we do today, and when we did, it was usually hamburgers and hot dogs, mostly because my parents were feeding six other kids who happen to be there at the time.

A special time for my family was Friday nights. That was when my Dad would bring home BBQ. The ribs were wrapped in butcher paper, and when he opened that humungous piece of red paper to expose two slabs of the most amazing meat Iíd ever seen, there was no stopping the drool from running down our chins. The mouth-watering meat was covered in slices of white bread dripping in sauce, and it made our entire house smell of smoke and spice.

Believe me, being one of five kids, I had better be in the right place or I ended up getting the short end of the rib (pun intended!).

The Hickory Log Bar-B-Q joint was the first restaurant my Dad ever took me to. I remember sitting at the bar with my brother; the booths crowded with people; the tables crowded with plates of brisket, ribs & glasses of cold beer.  I was amazed at the Hammís beer sign hanging behind the bar that had a lake that seemed to be moving. The smell of smoked meat filled the air and dark wood paneling covering the walls. Back then, it was a small placeóa place where you often ordered your meal and maybe ate it inside, but usually took it home to your family.

Today The Hickory Log Bar-B-Q restaurant is larger. And although the building has expanded so that it can now accommodate approximately 60 diners, it still has an atmosphere that is a throw-back to the sixties. It is very clean, and has a friendly and attentive staff. They appreciate your business and they let you know it.


The Dining Experience

I ordered the Combo Platter which included Ham, Ribs and Beef with Garlic Toast, Fries and a choice of Beans, Cole Slaw or Potato Salad. I also had a side plate of their sausage. This item is not on the menu, but more about that later.



The Hickory Log has an indoor smoker which is fired by wood which seems to work well for this establishment. The smoke process is smooth, not overpowering, the bark is not what you find in most places which indicates the rub is merely a seasoning. I tend to think there is some sort of steam process because the meat comes clean from the bone of the rib, and yes, the bones do shine.

You will not find an abundance of cayenne in this BBQ.  I believe the color might come from a paprika base. The brisket is smooth, easy to assimilate, with a definite smoke ring that indicates proper care and knowledge of the smoking process. Both the ribs and brisket were very enjoyable.

The ham really shines in their signature sandwich The Jayhawker. This combo sandwich has been a customer favorite for years. Try the Beef & Ham Combo with Fries for a lunch that you will brag to your friends about.

The sauce that holds all this together has been somewhat of a mystery to me. It is a bit vinegary, but somewhat sweet, and that is where I get lost. Although unique, it is quite good. If you are looking for the perfect beverage to accompany this sauce, I suggest you order an American Lager (or two!).

I asked Adam, one of the owners, for the recipe and was told it was too complicatedÖ.well played.  In fact, both the owners were somewhat closed lipped about almost everything. They were very nice, just not very talkative.

All in all, this BBQ is rich and filling, and means youíll be looking for something to cut through and enhance the experience. And that means youíll want a large helping of Hickory Log Bar-B-Q Cole Slaw. It is tart with a vinegar dressing, caraway seeds and it cuts through the richness with a resounding Ahhhh from the diner.

Now, back to the Sausage.  As you get to know me better, you will realize that I find this meat product a source of joy and frustration.


Throw it on a smoker and cook it to perfection. Yes! Yes! Yes! However it seems that nowadays, as I visit various restaurants, sausage has become an afterthought. But not at The Hickory Log. They serve a homemade smoked Kielbasa. Itís the kind you might find anywhere on Strawberry hill back in the day, but not so much now. It is a labor of love to serve this particular meat. Anyone who wants to experience the flavor of old world craftsmanship in meat processing should be sure to order the sausage sandwich from the menu. You will be happy to know that there are still craftsman in Kansas City, Kansas who manufacture this unbelievable product.

The prices are very reasonable. The Jayhawker and Fries were $5.50.

The Combo Platter with Fries and one side was $10.50.  I took half of it home and I eat a lot, so you can expect plentiful portions.

They have slab specials, but you should expect to spend $17.50/slab.  Short ends are $11.50 and long ends are $10..25.

This was a real treat for me--a trip back to a time when the backyard was bare of grass, but, full of friends and family.  Youíll find The Hickory Log Bar-B-Q home to some of the food that I was raised on. If you are looking for a BBQ spot to get your kids started, this is the place.

It is a neighborhood favorite, and in Kansas City you are only twenty minutes from anything. Take twenty minutes and give The Hickory Log a try. 











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