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
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!).
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.
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
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
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
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.
I LOVE SAUSAGE!
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
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
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
The Hickory Log a try.