Denver's five best BBQ joints
We haven't reached the solstice yet, but we're past Memorial Day -- which means that it's as good as summer. And until Labor Day weekend, we'll be wearing white, using the long hours of daylight to drink on rooftop patios and, of course, eating barbecue until we explode.
Ryan Dearth Pulled pork at M&D's Cafe.
To kick off our three-month stint of carniverous feasting, we're bringing you Denver's five best BBQ restaurants.
5. Brothers BBQ
Nick and Chris O'Sullivan may hail from England, but they had a long-standing obsession with barbecue before they opened the first Brothers back in 1998. And while this Denver-based chain isn't exactly entrenched in the stylings of a devoted pitmaster, it serves up a consistently good platter of pulled pork, hot links and ribs, doused in sweet-spicy sauce and sided with such bbq staples as potato salad and baked beans that take us right back to 4th of July picnics of yesteryear.
4. Yazoo Barbeque Company
Yazoo is flavored by owner Don Hines's training in Memphis, where he worked on barbecue teams twenty years ago. Frustrated by the lack of decent barbecue options in Denver, he opened the original Yazoo on the edge of downtown, at 2150 Broadway. And five years ago, he expanded south into Greenwood Village. At both locations, Hines uses a Memphis-style dry rub on his ribs, pork shoulder and brisket to lock in flavor. "If you're using sauce, it blocks the smoke from getting into the meat," he says. And those meats get cooked over pecan wood: "Too much hickory gets bitter. You get a nice color and sweet smoke with pecan wood." Yazoo landed our Best BBQ Novelty Item award this year, thanks to the bacon-wrapped, jalapeño-swiped chicken breast dubbed the BoB.
3. M&D's Cafe
Ordering the pulled pork in hot sauce at M&D's comes with a warning: "Honey, you had our hot sauce before?" the waitress will ask. "Hot means hot." And so it does, in that slow-burn sort of way that makes eating a challenge as you stare down your plate and convince yourself to take another bite before your head explodes. We like it better mixed with the medium, which produced a flavor combo that's honey-sweet, vinegary....and hot enough. The sauce is Southern-style more than anything else, influenced by the fact that Mack and Daisy Shead are from Texas but ran a BBQ eatery in New York before they moved to Denver and opened M&D's (now operated by their kids). The spot's 'cue is featured on a menu of Southern comfort-food that also includes fried green tomatoes, fried catfish and hot wings.