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Snead's

1001 E. 171st St., Belton, MO - (816) 331-9858
Posted By Doug Richards on 8/18/2008 6:33:00 PM
Having been raised in the Midwest I like to think I know a thing or two about barbecue, and I'm here to testify that Snead's is a totally unique and glorious experience.

The dining room is exactly what you would hope for: a true "joint" with a surprisingly young waitstaff that looks like they all grew up together and really enjoy working with each other. Many of the Saturday night patrons were clearly in the friends-and-family category. The walls are paneled in Missouri pine (so the story is told on the back of the menu) and display an assortment of farm art. An interesting twist, one of many that makes Snead's unique.

The BBQ is "real country." No meat sees any sauce and I suspect they use little in the way of a rub short of some salt and pepper. This is a true slow and low hickory BBQ that relies on the quality of the meat and smoke room flavor to make its mark. Sauce is served on the side (the hot is one of the best I've tasted) but it only needs to be used on the fries.

My wife and I split the four item combo for $14.95; the same plate at Jack Stack in Martin City, about five miles up the road, would run closer to $25. We chose ribs, brisket, turkey, and beef brownies (burnt ends). The pickles, toast, meats, and fries were piled so high that the plate was overflowing. The ribs were pink to the bone, a clear indication that they were slow smoked. The brisket and brownies were both fantastic but the surprising star of the show was the turkey. I typically get my smoked turkey from Fritz's but Snead's may give them a run for their money. The meat was moist, full of flavor, and sliced razor thin.

The pit beans were awesome and very original. They are almost a hybrid of a Carolina pit bean (lots of smoke) and a Kansas City bean (slow in a pot with lots of BBQ sauce). There is a surprising delicate balance between sweetness and smoke that makes the dish really stand out.

All in all I would recommend Snead's to anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind family dining experience. They have a three beer limit (which left me thirsty) and if I could improve one thing it would be to have a real honky-tonk band playing in the back room, preferably behind a chicken wire fence (and of course someone would have to play a moonshine jug). Then I think you could say the experience would be perfect.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Rate this place
Here is a half slab of meaty ribs, topped by golden french fries.
"Here is a half slab of meaty ribs, topped by golden french fries."
Cliff Strutz





Brownies, aka burnt ends, are available from both hams and brisket. This close up is of beef brownies from my 3-meat plate. They radiate smoke flavor and are so tender that they seem to melt on the tongue into fatty essence of pit-cooked beef. And yet their exterior edges are crisp and crunchy. This may be the most luxurious meat on the planet.
"Brownies, aka burnt ends, are available from both hams and brisket. This close up is of beef brownies from my 3-meat plate. They radiate smoke flavor and are so tender that they seem to melt on the tongue into fatty essence of pit-cooked beef. And yet their exterior edges are crisp and crunchy. This may be the most luxurious meat on the planet."
Michael Stern


A three-meat plate, with pork on the left and brownies on the right. In the center, under excellent French fries, are flaps of beef brisket. The beef in particular benefits from application of sauce, either mild (with the rubber band) or hot, which is really, really hot -- not unlike Arthur Bryant's tongue-searing stuff, but actually hotter.
"A three-meat plate, with pork on the left and brownies on the right. In the center, under excellent French fries, are flaps of beef brisket. The beef in particular benefits from application of sauce, either mild (with the rubber band) or hot, which is really, really hot -- not unlike Arthur Bryant's tongue-searing stuff, but actually hotter."
Michael Stern


Snead's sliced pork is shockingly tender and, unlike most thin-sliced barbecued meats, super-juicy. It has a subtle smoke bite that only amplifies the elegant taste of the long-cooked meat.
"Snead's sliced pork is shockingly tender and, unlike most thin-sliced barbecued meats, super-juicy. It has a subtle smoke bite that only amplifies the elegant taste of the long-cooked meat."
Michael Stern


The door to my favorite of all Kansas City barbecues
"The door to my favorite of all Kansas City barbecues"
Michael Stern


A happy pig is almost always the sign of good barbecue.
"A happy pig is almost always the sign of good barbecue."
Michael Stern



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