Slap’s BBQ adding dinner service, expanding restaurant

I almost didn’t recognize Mike Pearce, co-owner of Slap’s BBQ, when I stopped in at the 18-month-old smoke shack last Saturday. “I’ve lost 80 pounds,” he told me. “I call it the open-a-barbecue-and-get-divorced diet.”

Brothers Mike and Joe Pearce opened Slap’s BBQ — the name is the acronym for their competition barbecue team, Squeal Like a Pig — at 533 Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, in June 2014. They quickly found out that they could barely keep up with the demand for their smoked meats and side dishes, so the venue became known as a lunch-only restaurant. Even then, patrons were advised to get there as early as possible because popular items, such as the burnt ends, sold out fast.

Bad news for anyone on a diet less circumstantial than Mike Pearce’s: Slap’s is about to break its lunchtime barrier.

“If you sell out by 1 p.m.,” Pearce tells me, “that’s a very narrow window of time for customers to be properly served. After giving it quite a bit of thought, we decided to buy another smoker, prepare more food and expand our hours every night until 8 p.m.”

And, unlike Pearce, the dining area is going to get bigger in 2016, to accommodate a larger dine-in lunch business as well as to grow the dinner clientele.

Before that, though, the Pearce brothers — who bought out former business partner Brandon Whipple earlier this year — are competing as the Slap’s team in the American Royal Invitational contest, one of 550 teams from around the world. The contest is at Arrowhead Stadium October 1-4. “We’ll be competing in the four major categories sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society,” Pearce says. “Brisket, chicken, pork and ribs.”

The one Slap’s dish that won’t be featured during the competition is one of the newer additions to the menu: a smoked hamburger patty topped with house-smoked bacon and St. Louis provel cheese.

“It’s one of our best-sellers,” Pearce says. “At first we had to encourage people to try it. Now we can barely keep enough of them around at lunch.”

Categories: Dining, News