Though we live in a town that isn't known for its barbecue, Denverites have strong opinions about what does and doesn't count as good 'cue. So it goes without saying that I, along with the rest of Café Society, am always on the lookout for new places to share with our readers. But after any number of disappointing meals, I often wind up at a repeat winner of Westword's Best Barbecue category: Boney's Smokehouse BBQ. See also:Best Barbecue Restaurant 2014 -- Boney's Smokehouse BBQ
That's where I found myself recently, with a friend who recently moved to Denver and has been complaining about the lack of good ribs in his new hometown. I'd tried to take him to a new spot, Kings BBQ, which chef-owner CJ Johnson quietly opened this spring as a brick-and-mortar follow-up to his food truck. But the day we sped over there on I-70, exiting just past Lakeside, we found the smoker off and the parking lot empty. Kings, it turns out, is closed on Mondays.
So we headed to Boney's, my fallback for tender, dry-rubbed ribs, chopped Angus brisket and hickory-smoked pulled pork with lots of chewy black ends. He liked the place enough to return -- which is saying something for a man who's lived in Texas and has eaten barbecue at well-known spots in Kansas City and Memphis. "Lots of barbecue joints have good meat," he concluded, "but this one has sides worth eating." I couldn't agree more, since those sides range from saucy macaroni and cheese to fried okra to rich, pork-thickened beans.
My friend had other plans on the days when I returned to Kings BBQ and actually managed to eat there. But you can find out whether the meals I had at this no-frills joint in Wheat Ridge are good enough to dethrone Boney's as best 'cue in town when my review of Kings BBQ is posted here tomorrow.
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In the meantime, dish up the names of your favorite barbecue joints in the comments section below.