Five meaty ways to satisfy carnivorous cravings in Denver

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Mardi Gras is just around the corner, and while the holiday is now mostly associated with drunken sorority girls showing their, um, assets for a strand of shiny beads in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the festival used to provide a reason to stuff yourself before forty days of fasting, giving up, most especially, meat.

We certainly don't halt our consumption of animal products for the Lenten season around here, but we'll happily take any excuse we can get to feast on what might very well be our favorite food group of all. And on that note, here are five great ways to satisfy a carnivorous craving.

Mark Manger
Whole duck (or hog) at Hong Kong Barbecue
Hong Kong Barbecue, which I review this week, is one of Denver's only spots for siu mei, Hong Kong-style roasted meats. And that means there are a number of dishes on the sizable menu that comprise nothing more than hunks of roasted duck or pork, tender and glistening in crispy skin, sided by a steamer of rice. Better yet, dig into a whole duck from the case in the corner or, if you've got a cadre of pork-loving friends you'd like to feed, you might consider going whole hog -- the restaurant sells whole roasted pigs for right around $250.

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Mark Manger
Cubano at Crave Real Burgers
A number of local burger establishments top their meaty burgers with more meat, but none so aggressively as Crave, where patties come piled with bacon, beef brisket and myriad forms of pork. The most flagrantly carnivorous option of all, though, is the Cubano, a fat beefy burger piled high with ham, chorizo sausage, breaded pork and even a hot dog. With all of that animal protein, it's hard to taste the chipotle, avocado, jalapeños, egg, lettuce, tomato and onion that fills out the rest of the sandwich.

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Must suck wearing those flimsy plastic gloves directly over a hot bbq...

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