Eat This Now: Harp Barbecue at Crane Brewing Company
Kansas City’s barbecue scene is as crowded as it’s ever been — great for us ravenous carnivores, less great for aspiring grillmasters looking to make a name for themselves. Tyler Harp has managed to stand out in that scrum of smoke after only a few months of serving up barbecue on Saturdays at Crane Brewing Company, in Raytown. Harp’s love of barbecue and its techniques is borderline obsessive. He travels all over the South, learning from the country’s greatest pitmasters. He’s been to Texas many times over to educate himself about brisket. He’s spent time in West Tennessee and North Carolina learning at the feet of whole-hog masters. He says — earnestly, with modesty — that his ultimate goal is to make the best barbecue you’ll find anywhere.
What Harp is doing at Crane (for now, it’s every Saturday, from noon until sellout) suggests we ought to take the man seriously. Burnt ends, sausage, and KC-style ribs — all delicious — are available, as are brisket (juicy, ridiculously thick) and pulled pork (heaping piles). Those latter two you can order in traditional sandwich form or as a taco served on luscious pork-fat Caramelo tortillas with jalapenos, pickled red onions, and a lime. Customers can also opt for add-ons like pickled strawberries, cheesy corn, and a tangy green apple-jalapeño-cilantro slaw. Presumably, there will be more options soon, once Harp is able to utilize the full-service kitchen that’s currently under construction at Crane. Until then, go so you can say you remember when you could only get this stuff on Saturdays.