The 7 best barbecue joints in Denver, in the opinion of a Kansas City native

Smokin' Yards originally opened in 2008 in Idaho Springs and expanded to Denver 10 years later. (Provided by Smokin' Yards)
Smokin’ Yards originally opened in 2008 in Idaho Springs and expanded to Denver 10 years later. (Provided by Smokin’ Yards)

Smokin’ Yards BBQ

The father-and-sons team of Alan, Ian, Scott and Andrew Yard founded Smokin’ Yards BBQ in 2008 as a drive-through destination in Idaho Springs. But in 2018, they opened a second location in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe.

They borrowed a number of regional barbecue styles for their recipes, but Smokin’ Yards is known for its hickory-smoked pulled pork (my favorite), chopped brisket sandwich and burnt ends sandwich, not to mention free boiled peanuts. The meaty St. Louis-style ribs are also a must-try. And if you have room, try the classic sides like mac and cheese, onion rings, mashed potatoes and gravy and smoked baked beans.

Anyone who isn’t craving barbecue (weird, huh?) can try a catfish po’boy, chicken fried steak or some smokehouse hot beef.

900 W. 1st Ave., Denver; 2736 Colorado Blvd., Idaho Springs;

As a Kansas City native, I was spoiled with a plethora of amazing barbecue options growing up, like Arthur Bryant’s, home of the burnt end, or Joe’s Kansas City, which started in a gas station and has since become famous around the world.

Sure, Denver has an amazing restaurant scene and tons of great food. But when it comes to barbecue, in my opinion nothing is like Kansas City, where the sauce is sweet and thick. Still, there are some rising pit-masters in Colorado whose smoked meats are demanding attention from Kansas City, Texas, Memphis and Carolina transplants.

I searched high and low for the local barbecue restaurants that leave my mouth watering, stain my clothes with the smell of wood-burning smoke and pass the ultimate brisket pull test. (A well-cooked brisket slice should break apart easily with a slight pull.)

These are my top spots around town, with my absolute favorite listed at the end (don’t go jumping ahead to see, now).

Provided by Pit FiendPit Fiend, owned by the former Owlbear cooks, opened in RiNo this year. (Provided by Pit Fiend)
Pit Fiend Barbecue 

Before it closed last January, Owlbear Barbecue had become an esteemed part of Denver’s barbecue scene. And while founder Karl Fallenius was ready to move on, his chefs weren’t, especially after co-worker Teven Hudgins died unexpectedly just before the last day of service. So the group — Michael Graunke, Juan Pablo Llano and Esteban Gallardo— decided to reopen their own barbecue joint in the same spot, to honor his memory.

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Source:: The Denver Post

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