Hubby and I traveled for almost an hour to eat Kansas City-style barbecue at Bear’s Smokehouse in Hartford, CT. Thank goodness, there was a parking garage opposite Bear’s!

Before we went there, I checked out the reviews of the place. OT: That’s the important thing when you read other people’s reviews first – manage your expectations accordingly. Different palates, different opinions. What’s tasty to one may be gross to another. But in this case, there were far too many good reviews, so there was no reason to fear. In case you’re wondering what exactly is Kansas City-style barbecue, here‘s what I found. Hope that helps.

Anyway, this sign was above the entrance to Bear’s.


Here’s the menu on their wall.


We tried to our darnedest to be disciplined – focus only on burnt ends, pulled pork and brisket. We wondered what “chopped” was, so that was definitely something we needed to try. “We can always come back here if we end up loving the food”.

I’ve read reviews by folks who enjoyed the Mac Attack and the Bear Attack. During our visit, I wasn’t really in the mood for mac and cheese, so I ordered their BBQ Bowl with burnt ends, crumbled cornbread and BBQ beans.


Delicious! It just seemed pointless to go to a KC-style barbecue joint and not order burnt ends. As you can see, there was a lovely amount of “bark”. They asked me which sauce I wanted – sweet or spicy. I wanted both. Next time though, I’ll request for the sauce to be served on the side instead of slathered all over the meat. I want to make sure that the delicious burnt ends can stand alone on its own merits.

Hubby went for their two-meat combo with brisket and chopped. What on earth was “chopped”? Turns out it was brisket and pork! He had smoked BBQ beans and hand-cut fries to go along with his Q, plus spicy sauce.


We sat on the second level, so I snapped this picture from where we were sitting.


On our table, there’s paper towel to mop up yourself with while eating the Q, two sauces – one sweet, one TX, plus ketchup. While we ate, we listened to Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and on our way out, Boston’s “More Than a Feeling”, which so happened to be a song I like. Even if it was way past lunch time, all the tables were still full. People were coming in for their takeout orders as well.

Verdict: I wish Bear’s Smokehouse was close to our place. They surely have what it takes to satisfy any BBQ craving for tender and flavorful meaty deliciousness. With its laid-back atmosphere, I love that there is truly nothing fussy with this place. You go there for the barbecue, which is really damn good barbecue. We already know what we’ll try next time – Moink Balls (bacon-wrapped meatballs) and Paw Paw’s Poutine, plus the Mac Attack and Bear Attack.

Bear’s Smokehouse
89 Arch Street Hartford, CT 06103


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