Paul Kirk, “The Kansas City Baron of Barbecue,” winner of seven world barbecue championships and author of Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Sauce Cookbook.

Meat: Welcome to carnivore heaven: Missouri stockyards offer fresh chicken, pork, and beef. Kansas City serves up anything from burnt ends of brisket to pork spare ribs.

Sauce: Home of the famous KC Masterpiece, the area’s signature ingredient is traditionally a thick, smoky, and sweet sauce. It’s usually tomato-based and may be flavored with brown sugar or molasses.

Smoke: Hickory and oak chips are standard, but if there’s a nearby orchard, you’ll find apple wood-smoked meat.

Insider Tip: “Wait to apply the barbecue sauce until you’re about 10 minutes from taking the meat off the grill. That way, the sugar caramelizes to form a sweet crust,” says Kirk.

Secret Weapon: “I use a spray bottle filled with apple juice, bourbon, or whatever I’m in the mood for to baste the meat,” says Kirk.

The Recipe: Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stirring and blending as the sauce gets hotter. Simmer 30 minutes on low heat. Cool and refrigerate.

Makes about 6 cups

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