Zarda's Limited Reserve burnt end sandwich. Zarda |

'Cue the applause: Here's how Zarda makes its tournament-winning barbecue burnt ends

Zarda is celebrating winning The Star's March Madness-style burnt ends tournament by offering specials in April. Shelly Yang |
Zarda's Limited Reserve burnt ends are coated in a sweet and spicy dry rub and served open face on white bread with fries. Sarah Gish | Kansas City Star

It's been a pretty good week for Zarda.

On Wednesday, the family-owned barbecue joint with locations in Lenexa and Blue Springs won The Star's March Madness-style burnt ends tournament.

Then, on Thursday, Zarda debuted a celebratory burnt ends special — $4.99 for a Limited Reserve burnt ends sandwich on a toasted bun, or $9.99 for a burnt ends plate with sliced bread and two sides.

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Each location cooked an extra large batch of burnt ends — 300 pounds! — and sold out by the end of the lunch rush.

On Friday morning, we stopped by the Lenexa location for a barbecue-themed Facebook Live broadcast. I presented Zarda chief operations officer Terry Hyer with a certificate for winning the tourney, and watched general manager Suzanne Zarda prep KC Classic baked beans by slicing fresh burnt ends into sweet and spicy beans.

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"These are my new favorite," Zarda said as she sliced the tender, charred beef.

"They're beautifully marbled, really tasty — they just fall apart," she said as she pulled a hunk apart by hand. "A lot of people have been converted from a brisket sandwich to these new burnt ends."

Watch the full broadcast to find out about more Zarda menu items, including cheesy corn, Limited Reserve ribs and a killer smoked turkey sandwich topped with crispy bacon.

Hyer, who has worked at Zarda for 38 years, also reveals a wild creation called the "Scooby Snack," a sandwich he invented as a teenager that's made with fries, beans and lots of others smoky Zarda specialties.


'Cue the applause: Here's how Zarda makes its tournament-winning barbecue burnt ends