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Charcoal Brings Kansas City BBQ And Craft Brews To Silver Lake

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Silver Lake has a new barbecue joint serving up hearty meats Kansas City-style, unique sides and craft cocktails and brews—plus mason jars of bacon that are worth it in spite of the gimmick.

Charcoal BBQ is a new restaurant on Hyperion for carnivores and bourbon drinkers. Helmed by Chef Jeremy Zimmerman (a Kansas City native who previously worked at Sunset Marquis), the meats are smoked on site via a smoker that weighs nearly a ton. We stopped in to check it out recently.

Your best bet is to come with a group, pick a few cuts of meat as an entree and a few sides. There are some BBQ staples like Pork Back Ribs ($13 half/$27 whole) and brisket ($12/$24), as well a few twists. The meats here are dry-rubbed, tender and the sauces are heavy in tomato and molasses flavors, in the Kansas City tradition.

Our favorite entree items were the Open-Faced Pulled Pork ($14)—savory pulled pork, a fried egg, greens and chicharrón—and the Braised Lamb Shank ($15), which was a juicier meat. The Lamb Shank dish changes frequently depending on the chef's mood—ours was served with potatoes. For something different or if you're popping by for lunch, try the Charcoal Bahn Mi ($12), which puts smoked pork loin and pickled veggies on a baguette.

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As far as sides, the House Coleslaw ($5) is a lighter, more citrusy take on coleslaw. Don't order expecting vegetables slathered in mayo here. The corn bread ($3) is thick like a cake, and warm, buttery and moist. It's lightly salted and comes served in a cast iron pan. Meat-lovers will probably gravitate towards the Bucket of Bacon. It's really only a mason jar of bacon ($5), but the apple-smoked meat is cut extremely thick and sweet, so you probably won't want to gorge here. Our favorite side dishes were the corn bread and the Young Heirloom Potato Salad ($5), which was a creamier potato salad compared to the tangier, mustard-heavy potato salads commonly served alongside barbecue. If you're looking for something healthier, you can try out the Mason Jar Salad ($7). It comes served in a jar (like on Pinterest!), but when poured out is a light blend of arugula, manchego cheese and candied pecans.

The drinks are also a highlight. The menu has a nice selection of craft beers, including a few porters, stouts and ciders. Most run $7 to 9. There's also a modest wine list, and then there's the craft cocktails ($12). Our favorite was the O' Bloody Hell, a smoky concoction of mezcal, blood orange juice, lime juice, agave syrup, sliced fresno chili and club soda. It's drier and less sweet than you'd expect, with a decent kick. The list also has lots of bourbon and rye drinks, which isn't surprising in a BBQ joint. If you want to taste the alcohol, we recommend the Brown Sugar (rye, demerara syrup, ango bitters, flamed orange peel); if you like your drinks sweeter, try the PD (bourbon, lemon, wimple syrup, raspberries, mint).

We suggest the S'mores ($8) for dessert. You roast the marshmallows yourself at your table.

BBQ purists might complain about the menu twists, but the ample proportion should allow the curious to split a few items and be full. There's lots of seating for large parties, making it a suitable venue for a family-style meal. You can also head over after work from 4 to 7 p.m. for happy hour, where deals include $7 craft cocktails and a few bucks off various craft beers.

Charcoal Silver Lake is 2611 N. Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. 4 p.m. to close, daily.