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Chiefs’ Khalen Saunders shows true colors after fighting words are spoken

The Kansas City defensive tackle weighed in after St. Louis barbecue was — somehow — ranked more highly.

Kansas City Chiefs v Washington Football Team Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

It all started last week, when LawnStarter published its study listing the best barbecue cities in America. This is a normal routine for the site, which exists as a clearinghouse through which individuals across the country can schedule “service with a lawn care professional.”

To publicize its service, the site creates studies ranking American cities on various things. Other recent LawnStarter studies noted the best places for dog parks, single dads, new moms and — uhhh... naked gardening.

But back to the barbecue study, which ranked St. Louis as the country’s best barbecue city. Kansas City was ranked second.

Say what?

Enter Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Khalen Saunders, who posted a similar reaction to a tweet from a St. Louis television station that had reported on the LawnStarter study.

Don’t misunderstand. Saunders wasn’t suggesting that he agreed with characterizing his hometown of St. Louis as the barbecue capital of the United States. In fact, a later tweet made it clear that as far as he was concerned, Jack Stack’s barbecue sauce is thicker than his Eastern Missouri blood.

Now there’s a barbecue opinion that Kansas Citians can get behind — although, as always, strong partisanship exists about the area’s best joints. (While I am in the minority, I am a long-time advocate for the Rosedale Barbecue on Southwest Boulevard. Your mileage may vary).

To its credit, the LawnStarter study set up what seemed like reasonable parameters for its ranking.

What are the key ingredients of the best BBQ city? Award-winning barbecue restaurants, experience hosting a “master-level” competition, multiple barbecue festivals, and high ratings, among others.

The site even published the specific methodology for the study — but did not explain why it was necessary to separate Kansas City, Missouri from Kansas City, Kansas and Overland Park, Kansas. All three were among the nation’s top 7 barbecue cities — and it’s likely that their separation contributed to St. Louis being ranked above Kansas City.

Whatever the reason, we know only that Kansas City’s ranking was... well... wrong. And that LawnStarter has found a very effective way to promote their brand.