KANSAS CITY — Barbecue sauce and traditional barbecue meats are gaining popularity in new menu items.

Little Caesars’ new Smokehouse Pizza, for example, features a smokehouse-seasoned crust topped with barbecue sauce, mozzarella and Muenster cheeses, beef brisket, pulled pork and Applewood-smoked bacon. The brisket is Midwest beef brined with a blend of spices and smoked with hickory wood for 8-10 hours. The pulled pork is made in rotisserie style pit smokers for 10-12 hours.

"People love the no waiting, no pre-ordering convenience and amazing value they get with Little Caesars," said Little Caesars Pizza president and CEO, David Scrivano. "So we decided to combine painstakingly slow-smoked meats with HOT-N-READY availability at a price that doesn't break the bank. We're a fun brand getting serious about meats."

Another foodservice chain, TGI Fridays, is capitalizing on smoke and fire with the launch of its BBQ’n Burger, The new offering features a beef patty, barbecue sauces, spicy cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onion, hickory-smoked bacon and Cajun-spiced crispy onion strings served on a challah bun.

Click to view a slideshow of new menu items.