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Report: 2009 Heartland Gathering in Kansas City

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#1 Chris Hennes

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 04:13 PM

The annual Heartland Gathering is this weekend in Kansas City: this is the place to post reports about the event, and read about it as it is ongoing. Many thanks to the Kansas City denizens who have been working feverishly to get ready for the onslaught, especially Aaron Deacon and moosnsqrl who have spearheaded the beast.

The schedule of events for the 2009 event is:
  • Thursday, July 23, Dinner: Lidia's
  • Thursday, July 23, Cocktails: Manifesto
  • Friday, July 24, Barbecue tour of KC
  • Friday, July 24, Dinner: bluestem
  • Saturday, July 25: The Main Event
  • Sunday, July 26, Breakfast/Brunch: Crum Farm
My knives are sharpened, and I'm hungry!

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Topic Recipe Index:

Edited by Chris Hennes, 28 July 2009 - 08:35 AM.

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#2 Kerry Beal

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 04:47 PM

I'll report that my luggage is packed. I have two chocolate molds, an infrared thermometer, some milk and some dark chocolate (which is going to suffer a bit in the trunk of the car tomorrow I expect), various scrapers, thai red curry paste, smoked salt and a few clothes.

Can't wait!

#3 NancyH

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 05:16 PM

I so wish I could be there - looking forward to savoring vicariously!
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#4 edsel

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 05:34 PM

I can report that my luggage isn't packed yet. :raz: I can report, however, that cooking for the Saturday event is already underway. The reason being that some things just take too much time to do on the premises.

I smoked some pastrami-cured short ribs today. They've got some good "Heartland" bona fides. The farm that raised the beef is within walking distance of my home. The pastrami cure recipe is from Michael Ruhlman (Ohio) and Brian Polcyn (Michigan). The peppercorns and coriander seeds were not Heatrland grown, I'm sorry to say. :wink:

I can't do this entirely in KC due to the time required to cure the beef. I realize that bringing beef to KC is a bit of a coals-to-Newcastle thing. :biggrin: I also want to stress that I AM NOT SETTING MYSELF UP FOR A COMPARISON TO RONNIE'S PASTRAMI!. Sorry for shouting. :wink: I just wanted to make it clear that this isn't a competition (I would lose :laugh: ).

This is grass-fed beef, which means that it has very little marbling (unlike the totally luxurious Wagyu beef Ron used for his pastrami). Also, I don't have a "real" smoker, just one of those gas-fired things with a cast iron box to hold the wood chips.

Nevertheless, I'm happy to offer this up as something to taste early in the evening. This is NOT the "meat course" - that will also be (hopefully) beef ribs, but an entirely different preparation.

Also, I will not be wearing fish pants.

#5 moosnsqrl

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 06:02 PM

For continued planning purposes please see the "Plan: Heartland Gathering in KC 23-26 July 2009" topic.

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

The annual Heartland Gathering is this weekend in Kansas City: this is the place to post reports about the event, and read about it as it is ongoing. Many thanks to the Kansas City denizens who have been working feverishly to get ready for the onslaught, especially Aaron Deacon and moosnsqrl who have spearheaded the beast.

The schedule of events for the 2009 event is:
  • Thursday, July 23, Dinner: Lidia's

  • Thursday, July 23, Cocktails: Manifesto

  • Friday, July 24, Barbecue tour of KC

  • Friday, July 24, Dinner: bluestem

  • Saturday, July 25: The Main Event

  • Sunday, July 26, Breakfast/Brunch: Crum Farm
My knives are sharpened, and I'm hungry!

View Post

Chris, you forgot my memorial service on Monday! :wink:

Edited by moosnsqrl, 22 July 2009 - 06:02 PM.

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#6 CaliPoutine

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 05:15 AM

I so wish I could be there - looking forward to savoring vicariously!

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Me too!! I've been to the last 4 and I can't believe I'm missing this one!!

#7 tino27

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 07:09 AM

I AM NOT SETTING MYSELF UP FOR A COMPARISON TO RONNIE'S PASTRAMI!. Sorry for shouting. :wink:

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If it's italicized, is it still considered shouting? :blink:

I, too, have already begun packing the equipment and ingredients necessary for the dough portion of the focaccia bread. Between moosnsqrl's generous donation of some fresh rosemary from her garden and a bulb of garlic, I should be all set.
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#8 moosnsqrl

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 05:42 AM

Hey, while we're driving around today set your dials to 89.3 and check out The Food Critics on KCUR-FM, one of the local npr stations. They're on from 10-11 e/o Friday and today is the day.

The show is hosted by a KC legend, Walt Bodine, but the anchor is our award-winning food writer Charles Ferruzza, who I find endlessly entertaining.
Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

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#9 moosnsqrl

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 05:48 AM

Here are the updated directions to Crum's Farm for Sunday brunch.

Take 1-70 West to the KS-7 (224) exit
Turn North (right)
Take the US 24/40 West exit
Travel 3.2 miles to 158th St (County Road 2)
Turn South (left)
Travel 5 miles (you will cross K-32/Linwood Road) to Stillwell Road
Turn West (right)
Travel 1/2 mile to 16211 Stillwell Road (yellow mailbox) on South side of road

Allow 35-40 min from downtown
Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

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#10 CaliPoutine

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 12:57 PM

I'm waiting with baited breath to hear about dinner at Lidia's. I was most looking forward to that ( and the Saturday meal as well).

Anyone?

#11 edsel

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 01:05 PM

Randi, dinner at Lidia's was wonderful, and Manifesto was great as well. I'm uploading some photos now, so I'll have a more detailed report. Many of us were out on the BBQ tour today, so we're just getting back to the computers. You'll be hearing from us soon! :smile:

#12 moosnsqrl

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:31 PM

I have to confess, when Robert Collins asked if he and his wife could come to bluestem I was tempted to tell him he could have our spots. But it was just the bbq talking.

I've showered, have an iced coffee in my hand, and just got off of the phone from talking to Chef Garrelts. Robert & Wife - you're welcome if Wife (sorry, name-challenged again!) is up for this after her flight. I texted Aaron with the OK as well but he's either repairing lawn mower or (more likely) asleep on the couch.

Anyway, the conversation brought me back to life with promises of wild arugula, chanterelles, blossoms ("all kinds"), watermelon and, of course, tomatoes. The kitchen is psyched about all of this wonderful "materie prime" and so am I.
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#13 prasantrin

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:37 PM

After dropping off Kerry and marmish, my mother and I made a run to Foo's Frozen Custard and had ice cream. :smile:

Then I had a Shatto's root beer milk.

I guess we still had a bit of room after all that bbq!

#14 moosnsqrl

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:38 PM

After dropping off Kerry and marmish, my mother and I made a run to Foo's Frozen Custard and had ice cream.  :smile:

Then I had a Shatto's root beer milk.

I guess we still had a bit of room after all that bbq!

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There's always room for root beer milk :biggrin:
Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

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#15 prasantrin

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:47 PM

After dropping off Kerry and marmish, my mother and I made a run to Foo's Frozen Custard and had ice cream.  :smile:

Then I had a Shatto's root beer milk.

I guess we still had a bit of room after all that bbq!

View Post

There's always room for root beer milk :biggrin:

View Post


I've got some of their chocolate milk, too (and another kind--I like tasting chocolate milks almost as much as root beers).

#16 Fat Guy

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:48 PM

Kris, Jenny and I arrived in time to intercept the barbecue crawl on its second stop, at LC's. I thought the ribs were out of this world: just the right balance of smoke, rub and tasty pork. Based on that sampling I figured we were in for a significant amount of great barbecue consumption, so I paced myself.

In retrospect I wish I'd eaten four times as much at LC's. I thought OK Joe's, while a wonderful spot in a functioning gas station, did not have particularly good meat. Only the plain pulled pork (as opposed to the junked-up sandwich variants) was exceptional. The brisket and ribs were just passable. And at this stop, eating in the nearby park, we got to try some of the Arthur Bryant's ribs and brisket from earlier in the tour. Unimpressive. Profoundly so. Barely any flavor. I give OK Joe's credit for the best side dish of the day, though: the beans with nice bits of meat were superb.

Woodyard was a step back in the right direction. The ribs had excellent smoke. But I think they were slightly undercooked and insufficiently seasoned. The special of the day was hot-smoked salmon. Dry and not flavorful. The creamed corn with cheese was a very good side. I also loved the ambience at Woodyard. It's in a wood yard. Piles and piles of wood all around. Cool place.

Taking a nap before heading to Bluestem.

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#17 Zeemanb

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:49 PM

Shatto Root Beer milk! Oh that's some good stuff......

The pork just went on the smoker, and I am very, very curious to taste the difference between the two different types. The fat cap and texture of the Berkshire is vastly different than the grocery store pork. I put the Berkshire on the lower rack with a remote thermometer in it so that it can cook a little lower and slower, and I won't have to lift the lid too often for inspection. Will see how its looking in about 13 hours or so.....

Ironically, I'll be at Lidia's tonight for my dad's bday.......glad you all had a great time!

#18 chileheadmike

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:52 PM

I wrote up a quick review of the barbecue joints we visited today. Please feel free to correct and/or add

Bryant's.18th and Brooklyn. Meh. Ok I guess. Ribs were fine, tender and juicy. Brisket was OK, not much in the way of smoke flavor. Burnt ends were chopped finely and too much sauce, but were tender and pretty good.

LC's Blue Parkway and Sni A Bar. Their burnt ends are the best food on the planet. Ribs were good. Pork was sliced and very good. Brisket was good as well. The out of town people liked this place the best. The beans were a big hit here as well.

Oklahoma Joes. 47th and Mission. Brisket was very very good. Lots of flavor and very tender. Onion rings were a big hit. Pulled pork was smokey and tender, porkey goodness. I had Zman (sliced brisket, provelone, barbebcue sauce, and onion rings). Pretty good sandwich and the onion rings do make it. I still have a cheese/barbecue aversion though.

Woodyard Somewhere on Merriam Drive. I didn't eat much here. I had a bite of salmon that was very good. And 1 rib that had great flavor and subtle smoke. The beans weren't much more than Van Camps. There was some corn that everyone seemed to like a lot. The owner, Frank, came out to talk with everyone and had some great stories to tell. Really a lot of fun and I'll be back when I'm not already loaded up on 'cue.
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#19 edsel

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 03:07 PM

Dinner at Lidia's was a great start to the gathering. It's a big space with interesting decor. We were seated at two long tables - chairs on one side, banquettes on the other.

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The menu is quite varied. They have a special pasta tasting that several at our table tried, a seasonal menu featuring corn, an extensive wine list, and some very nice desserts.

Quail from the seasonal corn menu:
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Pork "ossobuco" with barley rissoto:
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A trio of house-made gelati with with biscotti:
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#20 edsel

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 03:27 PM

After dinner at Lidia's we walked up the street to Manifesto for cocktails. We started with a sampling several cocktails from the menu. My favorite was the Beautiful Red Bell - gin, bell pepper, lime and mint.

Many of the drinks feature unusual ingredients. Everything is made fresh from scratch, along the lines of VTR in Cleveland or the Violet Hour in Chicago, to name two places visited in recent Gatherings. This is exactly the kind of place I like.

After the first (sample) round, we selected a second round from the menu. I chose the Brothers Perryman, which is a Negroni variant with a touch of Saint Germain in addition to the gin and Campari. Very nice.

Posted Image

#21 Kerry Beal

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 03:52 PM

My favorite drink from Manifesto was the Smoke 'n Choke. They smoke their own bourbon - gotta try that when I get home, if I can't talk someone here into trying it first.

#22 Peter the eater

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 04:39 PM

My favorite drink from Manifesto was the Smoke 'n Choke.  They smoke their own bourbon - gotta try that when I get home, if I can't talk someone here into trying it first.


What kind of apparatus is required? :wink:
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#23 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 04:46 PM

Having a wonderful time in KC.

Dinner at Lidia's was very nice. Cocktails at Manifesto were absolutely wonderful, especially the bourbon-based Ward & Precinct.

Today's BBQ Tour was a lot of fun. Of the 4 stops, my favorite was LC's. I liked everything there, across the board. The ribs and the burnt ends were both great, with a noticeable amount of sweet smoke that didn't overpower. I loved the texture of these items, especially the ribs, which were barky on the exterior and moist on the interior. The burnt ends were intense and meaty. Both items had a great rub on them. Here are a few shots . . .

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LC's BBQ is located at 5800 Blue Pky in Kansas City, MO


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Ordering is fairly straightforward


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Spare Ribs, tips on


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Burnt Ends of brisket


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Delectable morsel of briskety goodness

I'm very much looking forward to dinner at bluestem tonight.

=R=
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#24 David Ross

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 05:19 PM

Hope you all have a wonderful time--you are obviously off to a great start. I'll be following your adventures from the Pacific Northwest. Eat more than you can imagine is possible.

#25 maggiethecat

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 10:32 PM

Hope you all have a wonderful time--you are obviously off to a great start.  I'll be following your adventures from the Pacific Northwest.  Eat more than you can imagine is possible.

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David, having been to a few Heartland Gatherings, I can assure you that people eat more than they ever thought possible. I groan, happily, in memory.

And I so wish I could be there. Keep reporting for the Little Match Girl with her nose pressed against the window. And love to all my Heartland buddies.

Ronnie, those are fab pix of Q. Thanks!

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#26 Fat Guy

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 10:43 PM

In what is surely a first for the Best Western Inn & Conference Center, Tino27 and I are now weighing out flour and yeast for a preferment, to be transformed into focaccia dough tomorrow (aka later this morning) in the hotel room while the rest of the group is out shopping at the market.

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#27 Fat Guy

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 10:45 PM

Dinner at Bluestem was terrific. I'll leave it to others to post photos and details, as I need to help make dough now.

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#28 tino27

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:47 PM

In what is surely a first for the Best Western Inn & Conference Center, Tino27 and I are now weighing out flour and yeast for a preferment, to be transformed into focaccia dough tomorrow (aka later this morning) in the hotel room while the rest of the group is out shopping at the market.

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Lest you think Fat Guy is joking, I give you more than likely the first poolish ever created at a Best Western:

Posted Image
Fat Guy measured out the bread flour while I measured out the active dried yeast.

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Add an equal amount of water (by weight) to the flour and yeast.

Posted Image
Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon to incorporate it all. Cover and let sit in a nice draft-free corner.
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#29 moosnsqrl

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:08 AM

In what is surely a first for the Best Western Inn & Conference Center, Tino27 and I are now weighing out flour and yeast for a preferment, to be transformed into focaccia dough tomorrow (aka later this morning) in the hotel room while the rest of the group is out shopping at the market.

View Post

Lest you think Fat Guy is joking, I give you more than likely the first poolish ever created at a Best Western:

Posted Image
Fat Guy measured out the bread flour while I measured out the active dried yeast.

Posted Image
Add an equal amount of water (by weight) to the flour and yeast.

Posted Image
Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon to incorporate it all. Cover and let sit in a nice draft-free corner.

View Post

I'm sure all of the other guests will awaken with a strange, inexplicable yearning for freshly baked bread.

I don't know if there's ever been a thread on hotel room cooking, but there should be. I've done some pretty bizarre things using a/c or heat registers, in-room coffee makers, honor bar fridges emptied of their pricey contents (to be replaced later) and an odd array of Dopp kit items adapted for uses far from their original intent. Throw in a vending machine down the hall and you've got a "Next Food Network Star" challenge.
Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

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#30 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:16 AM

Sad I can't be there -- I'm in the western Chicago burbs at another sort of Heartland gathering (more later).

After the first (sample) round, we selected a second round from the menu. I chose the Brothers Perryman, which is a Negroni variant with a touch of Saint Germain in addition to the gin and Campari. Very nice.

Posted Image

View Post


Edsel, do you know the ratios? I've fiddled around with St. G in that and found that you could go with four equal parts. Curious to hear.

My favorite drink from Manifesto was the Smoke 'n Choke.  They smoke their own bourbon - gotta try that when I get home, if I can't talk someone here into trying it first.

View Post


Kerry, they fat-wash their bourbon there, I'm quite sure. Simple technique here. Not sure you can pull it off in a hotel fridge, though!
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