OPINION: Manhattan needs more BBQ restaurants; one is not enough

Ribs and sausage links sit on the counter at Cox Bros. BBQ. Established in 2010, Cox Bros. offers four unique styles of barbecue. (Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

Barbecue is a favorite cuisine all over the country, and with Kansas City just a couple of hours away, you’d think that Manhattan would have a plethora of barbecue restaurants around town. Sorry, but no.

To some, Manhattan offers enough barbecue goodness for a quaint college town, but I believe we are lacking options for what many would consider an American staple. Now that Famous Dave’s has closed its doors, Manhattan only has a single dedicated barbecue restaurant within its city limits.

As a disclaimer, I have worked at a barbecue restaurant in Kansas City for over three years, so I tend to be a snob when it comes to barbecue and how it is cooked. I also love meat, so finding a great barbecue place is very important to me.

Cox Bros. BBQ, the remaining barbecue joint, is located at 223 McCall Rd. It is just north of Walmart, so it is pretty easy to get to.

While I wouldn’t say Cox Bros. is the best barbecue ever, it definitely could be a lot worse. They use hickory wood to smoke all of their meat, which is fairly normal considering that we are in the Midwest, and all of their meats are smoked at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

They offer four different types of barbecue: Kansas City, Texas, Memphis and Carolina.

When I was in to test out the selection, I ordered the Texas beef brisket with green beans and mac ‘n cheese.

The brisket had a nice, thick smoke ring, which is something I always look for and enjoy seeing because it’s a great indicator of how long your meat is smoked and how fresh it is. It was a little under-seasoned for my liking and needed sauce in order to complete the total flavor that I was looking for.

The sides were excellent and very fresh as well. They were steaming hot, which is always nice to see when you get your food because no one wants a cold dinner.

It was pretty generic, but it was very well priced for the amount of food I received. My meal, including a soda and tax, came out to be $14.50.

While I wish that Manhattan offered more options, I do like that Cox Bros. is a local chain. As founders Bud and Bobby Cox say on their website, “The BBQ you get at the Cox Bros’ restaurant will be the most delicious, authentic and jaw numbing goodness you’ve ever tasted.”

If you are looking for other barbecue options and are willing to drive a bit, Junction City offers a couple of other options: Hot Rodz BBQ and Nauling’s Texas BBQ & Soul Food.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? You need to drive to have more than one choice of barbecue restaurant.

With the size of Manhattan and the traffic the city gets during Kansas State game days and such, we need more options for great barbecue.

Molly Hackett is the assistant sports editor for the Collegian and a sophomore in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Hi, I'm Molly Hackett and I graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in broadcast journalism in May 2020. When I worked for the Collegian, I had a variety of different jobs, including managing editor and sports editor. Additionally, I served a one year term on the Collegian Media Group Board of Directors. I also worked for KKSU-TV and appeared as an anchor on MHK All Day during my final semester at K-State. In my free time, I like to spend time with the people closest to me, travel, drink coffee and take naps.