This summer, we went on the hunt for some great barbecue. But you know what makes barbecue even better? A post-workout appetite. After you’ve gotten your sweat on, sometimes choosing succulent slow-roast over a salad is an indulgence you just have to go for. So, in the spirit of summer, we’re bringing cardio and culinary together with a combo for the ages: barre + barbecue.
We asked barre studios in four of America’s most famous barbecue regions to tell us what’s hot in the studio, and on the grill. If you’re not familiar with barre, it’s a wicked workout for core and strength training, utilizing ballet positions, yoga and Pilates (see what’s it’s all about). With the help of these studios, we learned that there’s quite a range—from hot barre to haute cuisine, check out these diverse styles of barre-B-Q.
Lindsay Russ taught dance for years and studied it at the University of Kansas before she discovered a love for Pilates and barre—eventually opening Transform in 2011. The studio offers a variety of classes, including barre fundamentals, T barre, hot barre and mat barre, as well as its own barre certification program.
Kansas City is home to over 100 barbecue restaurants (more than any other city per capita). KC’s signature style involves a variety of meats slow smoked over hickory wood. Burnt ends—the flavorful, slightly charred tips of brisket—are a KC favorite, and the style is also known for thick, sweet-spicy tomato and molasses-based sauces.
Barre studio: Transform
Barre-tender: Lindsay Russ, owner
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Where in Kansas City can we find you?
We’re in a little neighborhood called Waldo, just a couple streets off the state line on the Missouri side.
What’s unique about your studio?
You don’t need to go get a gym membership in addition to our studio membership. We incorporate all the different elements of working out into every class.
You offer a class called Barre Crawl. Sounds fun!
It is—it takes you through a circuit of all of our classes. One day you come in and focus on the Pilates reformer and chair, and the next time you’re on the ballet barre, or doing mat work with a mini-trampoline. It’s always changing, super challenging—and the moment you get tired of something, you just move on to the next.
How do you feel after a tough barre workout?
So good! Positive, energized and ready to tackle the next day.
What’s your favorite ‘cue joint to chow down at after class?
We always go to Joe’s KC BBQ. They’ve got awesome burnt ends that you can only get on certain days because they sell out so quickly! They’re amazing.
Any options for something on the lighter side?
We’ve got two great coffee shops nearby. Coffee Girls has delicious fresh juices and smoothies, and there’s another cool local spot called One More Cup.
How would you describe your region’s BBQ style?
There’s so much farmland out here, so we’ve got a variety of really good meats. Lots of local places also make their own unique sauce and bottle it. I have no idea what it’s made of—I just know it tastes good!
What is a burnt end, exactly?
These “nuggets of barbecue gold” are the flavorful end pieces of brisket, tender with a little bit of crunch. They originated when pitmasters realized that the scraps they were throwing away actually were some of the most succulent, tasty bits.
We couldn’t decide on a #1 Kansas City burnt end recipe, but in general, here’s how the masters do it:
- When the whole brisket is cooked tender, separate the point from the flat. (The point is the fattier part that sits on top of the flat.)
- Re-season if you’d like, and then put the point back on the smoker.
- Cook until internal temperature is 200° F for another hour or two (or 17 like Joe’s KC BBQ).
- Remove and let sit for 10-20 minutes.
- Cut into cubes and serve hot.
- Enjoy as is, dipped in the juices, or smothered with KC-style sauce.
Be sure to check out our other barre-B-Q posts!