100 Favorite Dishes: Buffalo Ribs at the Fort

These ribs symbolize everything good about Denver dining.
These ribs symbolize everything good about Denver dining.
Westword

No. 1: Smoke House Buffalo BBQ Ribs at the Fort
Our last favorite dish of the year is an oldie — a very oldie — but a goodie: the buffalo ribs at the Fort.  Ad man Sam'l Arnold built that restaurant in the early '60s as a scale model of Bent's Old Fort, using actual adobe construction and introducing a menu of equally authentic frontier foods that Arnold discovered by reading the diaries kept by mountain men — who were early fans of what's known as bison today.  "In the 1960s, the Fort served fresh buffalo steaks but the public preferred beef to buffalo, 90 percent to 10 percent, as many thought it was very tough and gamey," recalls Holly Arnold Kinney, who grew up at the Fort and runs it today. "Many had tried it at some other local places, but usually had a tough old bull, and the restaurant had it cooked too long, which gave the tough and gamey taste."

But the Fort figured out how to fix that, and today, Kinney says, "over 95 percent of our guests prefer buffalo over beef due to its good taste and nutritional benefits."

What's the best way to enjoy it? We go for the Fort's buffalo ribs, slathered in Jack Daniels sauce and cooked until the ribs have a nice char on the outside, and the meat inside is tear-off-with-your-teeth tender; they're served by the rib, or as a partial or full rack. Waving those big bones around while you lick your lips and look out over the plains below, you'll remember how the West was fun. Those outside of Colorado might consider the Rocky Mountain oyster our official state dish, but we won't be buffaloed: These are the real deal.

That's it for the countdown of our 100 Favorite dishes for 2015, but we'll start up in the new year with a new list of the tastiest bites in town — from longtime classics that keep us coming back to new additions that have caught our attention. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section, or shoot us an e-mail at cafe@westword.com.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2015 countdown are linked below.

No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta
No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant
No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class
No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch 
No. 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa
No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's
No.94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle
No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus
No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar
No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria
No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co.
No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo
No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den
No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City
No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia
No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top
No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall
No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico
No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine
No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana
No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria
No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee
No. 78: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's
No. 77: IPA Mac & Cheese at Hops & Pie
No. 76: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde
No. 75: Udon Noodle Bowl at Bones
No. 74: Cinnamon Rolls at the Duffeyroll Cafe
No. 73: Smoked Turkey Croque-Madame at Acorn
No. 72: Pickled Lake Michigan Perch at Trillium
No. 71: Oysters at Jax Fish House Glendale
No. 70: Venezuelan Tostadas at Empanada Express Grill
No. 69: Tahini Cauliflower from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
No. 68: The Ham and Cheese Tartita from Maria Empanada
No. 67: Ronnie's Favorite from Rosenberg's Bagels and Deli
No. 66: Shoo-fly Pie from the Long i Pie Shop
No. 65: Czech Potato Pancakes at Sobo 151
No. 64: Fried Chicken at the Post Brewing Co.
No. 63: Braised Brisket Sandwich at Masterpiece Delicatessen
No. 62: The Scotch Egg from Argyll Whisky Beer
No. 61: Butternut Squash Ravioli at DiFranco's
No. 60: Sesame Balls at Vinh Xuong Bakery
No. 59: Curry Puffs at Suvipa Thai Food
No. 58: Diavola Pizza at Pizzeria Locale
No. 57: Chorizo Breakfast Stew at DJ's 9th Avenue Cafe
No. 56: The Rare Beast Sandwich at Salt & Grinder
No. 55: 48-Hour Short Ribs at Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery
No. 54: Marrow Bone Brulee at Mercantile Dining & Provision
No. 53: Prawns and Pork Belly at Blackbelly Market
No. 52: Belgian Waffles from Waffle Up
No. 51: Nashville Hot Chicken at Lou's Food Bar
No. 50: Breakfast Burrito from Chickee's Lil Kitchen 
No. 49: Monkfish and Romanesco at TAG
No. 48: Cabeza Tacos at Taqueria El Trompito
No. 47: Pupusas Revueltas at Pupuseria San Salvador
No. 46: Sesame Pockets at Golden Plate II
No. 45: Tuna Mousse at Cart-Driver
No. 44: Tavern Tots at the Highland Tavern  
No. 43: Carne Asada Fries at North County
No. 42: Pho at Wonderbowl
No. 41: Shredded Bison at Tocabe
No. 40: Nachos al Pastor from Tony Guacamole
No. 39: Prosciutto Pop Tart from Bakin' Bakery
No. 38: Ham and Egg Congee at Onefold
No. 37: Lao Sausage at the Asian Cajun
No. 36: Pan Bagnat at Fuel Cafe 
No. 35: Meatloaf Sandwich at City Bakery Cafe
No. 34: Okonomiyaki at Kobe An
No. 33: Farrotto Piccolo at Basta
No. 32: Fried Gizzards at Catfish King
No. 31: My Wife's Donuts at Osaka Ramen
No. 30: Foie Gras Bonbons at Milk & Honey Bar Kitchen
No. 29: Gnocchi Maison au Canard Fume at Z Cuisine
No. 28: Mysore Thali at Masalaa
No. 27: The Papa Bear at Cub's Q Barbeque
No. 26: Xiaolongbao at Shanghai Kitchen
No. 25: Bake Rice With Porkchop at Hong Kong Cafe
No. 24: A Burger at Bob's Atomic Burger
No. 23: The Emma Farms Wagyu Beef Burger at Edge Restaurant & Bar
N
o. 22: Parma Italia Pizza at Blue Pan Pizza
No. 21: Purple Cow Ice Cream at Little Man Ice Cream
No. 20: Colorado Striped Bass Crudo at Beatrice & Woodsley
No. 19: Mongolian BBQ Duck Buns at Linger
No. 18: Pink Lady Roll at Sushi Sasa
No. 17:
Fried Green Tomatoes at Sassafras American Eatery
No. 16: Deep-fried Cornbread at Sons of Scullery 
No. 15: House-smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich at the Universal
No. 14: Bruschetta at Postino LoHi 
No. 13: Pimento Cheese at Dunbar Kitchen & Tap Room
No. 12: Takoyaki at Sakana Sushi & Ramen
No. 11: The Polpetta Sandwich at Sarto's
No. 10: Pierogi of the Day at Rebel Restaurant
No. 9: The Pregnant Burrito at Cafe Chihuahua
No. 8: The Pretzel Dawg at Cured
No. 7: The Bacon Sandwich at Il Porcellino
No. 6: Chicken and Waffles at Revelry Kitchen
No. 5: The Prosciutto Sandwich at Babettes Artisan Breads
No. 4: Fall Squash Carpaccio at the Squeaky Bean
No. 3: The Jack Broughton Breakfast Sandwich at Black Eye Coffee
No. 2: The Fried Chesapeake Oyster at Hideway Kitchen + Bar

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miles
The Fort Restaurant

19192 Highway 8
Morrison, CO 80465

303-697-4771

www.thefort.com

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