YGE: A taste of Kansas City-style ribs in central Illinois

By WEEK Producer

November 22, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 1:36 AM CDT

WEST PEORIA, Ill. --Don't let the name fool you. Sky Harbor Steakhouse in West Peoria is also a certified rib-specialty restaurant.

They won the Peoria Ribfest two years in a row in the professional category. Here you will find some of the area's best Kansas City style ribs.

"We also do ribs with sauerkraut, it's kind of a German-style dish. So we've got a couple of options," said Owner Daryl Klusendorf. "We also do ribs dry with sauce on the side. That would be Memphis style."

Sky Harbor's owner not only knows how to identify the ribs of different regions, he also knows how to prepare them. Memphis style is not on the menu, but it is still offered by simple request. Klusendorf will not reveal many secrets to the success of Sky Harbor's ribs, but he will say this: the sauce is a family recipe.

"It's got a little light smoke, just the right amount of heat and the right amount of sweetness," said Klusendorf.

Photographer Doug Smith and I each ordered a rack of ribs, Doug's with sauce on the rack and mine with sauce on the side. Yes, they taste as good as they look, if not better. Sweet, tangy, salty, tender... choose any word you want to describe the perfect rib, and apply it to the entire rack. And that's before I even put on the barbecue sauce. These ribs even have low mess factor. The meat is so clean, it doesn't leave a greasy residue on your fingers or the bone.

The ribs come with two sides including salad. Add that to a couple drinks and dessert for Doug, and our total came to $53.80 plus tip.

Sky Harbor Steakhouse is at 1321 North Park Road in West Peoria. They are open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m to 10 p.m. and stay open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Sundays.

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