What is Kansas City Known For?

Discover all the things that Kansas City is known for, from its world-famous barbecue to its vibrant jazz scene.

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Kansas City is a city located in the Midwestern United States. It is the 27th largest city in the US, with a population of over 470,000 people. Kansas City is known for its Kansas City-style barbecue, which is a type of barbecued meat that is slow-cooked over a bed of wood coals. The city is also known for its art scene, which includes the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the American Jazz Museum.


Barbecue is Kansas City’s most well-known culinary export. Kansas City-style barbecue is a type of cooking that involves slow-smoking meats over a wood fire. The most common meats used in Kansas City-style barbecue are beef brisket, pork shoulder, and pork ribs. Kansas City is also known for its distinctive style of sauce, which is a tomatoey, sweet, and vinegary mixture.

The history of Kansas City barbecue

The history of Kansas City barbecue is a blend of Midwestern and Southern traditions. The first recorded use of the word “barbecue” in the area was in an 1873 advertisement in the Kansas City Times for a “barbecue and picnic” to be held at a race track on Independence Avenue. The first recorded use of the word “barbecue” in the area was in an 1873 advertisement in the Kansas City Times for a “barbecue and picnic” to be held at a race track on Independence Avenue.

In the early 1900s, Oklahoma Joe’s grandfather opened a barbecue joint in Kansas City, which eventually led to Joe opening his own restaurant in 1996. Now there are more than 100 barbecue restaurants in the city, each with its own unique style and flavor.

The most common meats used in Kansas City barbecue are pork, beef, chicken, and turkey. The pork is usually smoked, while the chicken and turkey are typically grilled. The beef is often cooked using a method known as “burnt ends,” where the meat is cooked until it is very tender and then charred on the outside.

The sauce is an important part of Kansas City barbecue. It is generally thick and sweet, with a tomato-based or vinegar-based recipe. Some restaurants offer multiple sauces for customers to choose from, while others have their signature sauce that they use on all of their dishes.

Kansas City barbecue is typically served with sides such as baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and cornbread.

The different types of barbecue in Kansas City

In Kansas City, we take our barbecue seriously. So seriously, that over the years we’ve developed our own unique style of ‘cue that is now known and enjoyed all over the world. But what exactly makes Kansas City barbecue so special?

Well, for starters, it’s the combination of three key elements: the meat, the sauce and the smoke. In Kansas City, we slow-smoke our meats over a mixture of wood and charcoal to infuse them with a deep, rich flavor. We then baste them with our signature Kansas City-style barbecue sauce – a sweet and tangy mix of tomato, molasses and spices – before serving.

So, what types of meat can you expect to find on a Kansas City barbecue menu? While we love all kinds of ‘cue, there are four meats in particular that we are famous for: ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket and chicken.

Ribs are perhaps the most iconic of all barbecue dishes and in Kansas City, we like to think that we do them better than anyone else. Our ribs are slow-cooked to perfection so that they are melt-in-your-mouth tender with just the right amount of smoky flavor.

Pork shoulder is another KC classic. This cut of meat is slowly smoked until it is packed full of flavor, before being shredded or chopped and served with our delicious sauce.

Beef brisket is another fan favorite and one that really sets Kansas City apart from other regions when it comes to barbecue. Here in KC, we smoke our brisket for hours until it is incredibly tender and juicy – it really is something special!

And finally, no Kansas City barbecue would be complete without chicken. Our chicken is rubbed with spices before being smoked slowly over low heat until it is cooked through and infused with flavor. It’s then finished on the grill to give it a delicious crispy skin.


If you’re thinking about what Kansas City is known for, the first thing that might come to mind is its rich jazz history. The city has produced some of the genre’s most legendary musicians, and its venues are still popular destinations for live music. But Kansas City is also known for its food, its sports teams, and its friendly Midwestern attitude.

The history of jazz in Kansas City

Kansas City jazz is a style of jazz that developed in Kansas City, Missouri during the 1920s and 1930s, which marked the transition from the structured big band style to the more improvisational styles of jazz. The first major player in the development of Kansas City jazz was pianist Jay McShann, who led a successful band that featured Charlie Parker. Parker’s subsequent success with other ensembles in New York City helped to spread the popularity of Kansas City jazz. The heyday of jazz in Kansas City was from about 1935 to 1946, when dozens of small clubs dotted 18th Street and Vine Street in the city’s African-American neighborhood known as the 18th and Vine District. Musicians who played in Kansas City during this era include Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams, and Andy Kirk. The city has been home to several well-known jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, and Bobby Watson.

The different types of jazz in Kansas City

Kansas City jazz is a style of jazz that developed in Kansas City, Missouri during the 1920s and 1930s. It has been described as a “hard-swinging, bluesy, improvisational” style of jazz. The style’s origins lie in the neighborhood clubs of 18th and Vine Streets, where early innovators such as Bennie Moten and Count Basie developed their own unique sound.

Kansas City jazz is distinguished from other styles of jazz by its use of a 4/4 meter, marked by a heavy bassline and a snare drum back beat. horns playing in riff-based ensembles were also characteristic of the Kansas City sound. Improvisation was key to the style, with soloists often trading eight-bar solos.

The Kansas City style reached its height of popularity in the 1930s, when groups such as the Count Basie Orchestra and Jay McShann’s band gained national prominence. The music fell out of favor after World War II, but has experienced something of a resurgence in recent years.


While there are many things that Kansas City is known for, some of the most iconic include its delicious barbecue, world-class jazz music, and beautiful fountains. Kansas City is a vibrant and diverse city with something to offer everyone. Whether you’re visiting for the food, the music, or the sights, you’re sure to have a memorable experience.

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