Denver barbecue: Our ten favorite spots

Memorial Day is all about barbecues: in the backyard, at the park and in the woods, near the pee tree, if you're so inclined. But if you don't feel like throwing wood chips on the grill this year, there are plenty of barbecue barns in and around Denver that can feed your brisket, hot link, ribs and chicken yearnings.

That's our que to fire up ten of our favorites:

Q Worldly Barbecue, 2817 East Third Avenue, 303-399-7227 The Q Worldly Barbecue understands the vital intersection between proper 'cue and blues and jazz, even though it's in the heart of Cherry Creek -- just about the least sexy, passionate, sinful or dangerous neighborhood in town. And it gets that barbecue is an international thing, that there are other ways to enjoy your smoky pig bits than naked, fresh out of the smoker and eaten while contemplating the weekend's evil and Sunday's sweet salvation. That's why it's called Worldly Barbecue, and offers more than a dozen internationally inspired sauces.

Cabin Creek Smokehouse Barbecue, 25997 Conifer Road, 303-838-0375 Cabin Creek is the first stable, solid location for owners John and Christi Patrick, barbecue veterans who got their start in catering. While Cabin Creek still does a tremendous amount of catering (including whole pigs for luaus), a lot of cars screech to a halt here for a fast hit of barbecue. The meats are slow-smoked on the premises over oak and hickory, and paired with excellent sauces. Two don't-miss menu items: the barbecue burritos and barbecue mashers (pork barbecue over mashed potatoes with cheese and sour cream).

Big Hoss Bar-B-Q
Big Hoss Bar-B-Q
Lori Midson

Big Hoss Bar-B-Q, 3961 Tennyson Street, 720-855-3061 This is the kind of neighborhood joint that everyone ought to have in his neighborhood, a place that's both casually friendly and aggressively social, that serves both PBR on tap and super-call whiskey, and that offers the menus of both a champion barbecue restaurant and a decent locals-only steakhouse. Carolina pork shoulder, closed-pit Texas brisket, fried cheese and half-chickens in Alabama white sauce -- what are you waiting for? Big Hoss Bar-B-Q is one of the best all-around spots in town.

Boney's Smokehouse Pit Barbecue
Boney's Smokehouse Pit Barbecue

Boney's Smokehouse Pit Barbecue, 1555 Champa Street, 303-825-9900 Nothing more profoundly scents a room than the char of smoke-impregnated animal flesh -- especially when that flesh has been smoked low and slow over hickory, which is the wood of choice at Boney's Smokehouse, Lamont and Trina Lynch's downtown, down-home temple of barbecue. From long before noon to long into the afternoon, pit worshipers pile in to stuff themselves with deliciously fatty, black-crusted brisket that pulls apart easily; potently spicy sausage links; beautifully seasoned ribs that are quickly stripped clean; and pulled pork, usually slapped between a soft bun and served Carolina style. And such side dishes as the baked beans and the creamy potato salad are solid sidekicks.

Sae Jong Kwan
Sae Jong Kwan

Sae Jong Kwan, 2680 South Havana Street, 303-752-1338 Though Sae Jong Kwan (aka House of Korean BBQ) focuses partly on the tabletop barbecue dishes that most fans of American Korean food are familiar with, the real delights of this long, super-traditional menu are the very authentic Korean soups, stews and entrees that forego the flash of the bbq grill and aim for a rare, ethnic sort of comfort. The soups are particularly good, with almost every one offering surprises in flavor and texture: oxtail in a creamy lemongrass broth, crab soup that tastes like liquid kimchi.



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