There are some top-tier food and drink pairings out there, but few complement each other quite as well as beer and barbecue. So when Taylor Jones, the head chef and pitmaster at Burn Theory Fire Kitchen, was asked to partner up with Diametric Brewing Co. in Lee's Summit, he knew he simply couldn't pass up the opportunity.
"I actually met Sean and the other owners of Diametric through a homebrewers' club called ZZ Hops," Jones says. "They got their brewery started a few years back, and I planned on opening my own. I had been doing a lot of cooking for our events, and Sean one day made a comment that they were looking for a food option at the brewery. It sort of seemed like a joke, but I called him the next day – we just started running with it."
He may not have opened his own brewery, but so far, it seems like things worked out just fine. Jones and another chef, Devin Roberts, started pulling together ideas for a menu – with input from the Diametric team – and it didn't take long for them to settle on the Burn Theory Fire Kitchen food truck. The duo pulled the truck into the lot, where they are permanently located, in February 2021, and they've been slinging delicious smoked meats and fire-kissed pub fare in the months since.
Although they're billed as a barbecue operation, Jones doesn't want people to get the wrong idea.
"We sometimes get confused customers, asking us why we aren't serving sliced sausage, ribs and the like on our everyday menu," he says. "We make everything in an old-school, 375-gallon hickory smoker, but barbecue is more the method of cooking our food than the type of food we serve."
You won't miss those traditional barbecue options once you get a look at what else Burn Theory is serving up. For some nice shareables, Jones recommends the SmoFried Wings, which are slow-smoked in the morning and then flash-fried to order to crisp up the outside and lock in all the goodness. He's also proud of his Taylor Tots, made with potato, smoked Gouda, green onions and a delicious seasoning blend. They're served with a housemade smoked poblano ranch, and Jones also uses a gluten-free fryer.
"My mom has to eat gluten-free, and I don't want to serve up food she can't enjoy," Jones says.
For main courses, Burn Theory has a variety of street tacos and sandwiches available on the regular menu, like the Baja pork tacos (crispy pulled pork, 3 cheese blend, chipotle aïoli, citrus barbecue glaze, red onion, cilantro) and the Cubano KC sandwich (house smoked pulled pork, pit ham, smoked Cuban mustard, Swiss cheese, housemade pickle on brioche). But some of Burn Theory's best options are the specials; follow them on Instagram and you'll be regularly treated to drool-worthy photos of orders like the barbacoa melt smothered in cheese or the carnitas torta. Many of these specials also incorporate some of Diametric's beers – the barbacoa, for instance, is braised in Juan Moore, the brewery's Mexican lager.
Traditional barbecue fans should also take note of weekly specialties. On Fridays, ribs are available from opening at 4pm until sold out; Jones notes that once one person orders some ribs, many others catch a glimpse and follow suit, so they've been known to run through their stock within an hour of opening. On Saturdays, Burn Theory dishes out smoked black pepper and espresso burnt ends, available from their noon opening until sellout. These usually last a bit longer, as they're able to make a much larger amount.
On top of all this good food and beer, the space at Diametric Brewing Co. is perfect for those who want to get out and enjoy the autumn weather. The entire space is dog- and kid-friendly, with plenty of outdoor tables and games so you can make an entire day out of a visit.
Diametric Brewing Co. and Burn Theory Fire Kitchen are open Monday and Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 10pm, Saturday from noon to 10pm and Sunday from noon to 8pm. Both are closed on Tuesdays.
Burn Theory Fire Kitchen, 949 NE Columbus St., Lee's Summit, Missouri, 816.519.6368, facebook.com/burntheoryfirekitchen/