When Pastor Gene Washington got the call to take his family to an old soda fountain in Littleton and start serving up great barbecue, he answered -- and as a result, we're blessed with Blest Bar-B-Que of the Rockies. From Grandma Sharon down to granddaughter Jasmine, everyone puts their hands in, and their work pays off with such rib-stickin' sides as an eggy, pickle-packed potato salad, pork-filled baked beans, sweet potato pie so sugary it'll make you weep, and genuine Coke floats. But Blest's true blessing is the sloooooowww-smoked brisket -- soft as velvet, so tender you could scare the pieces apart with your fork, and slathered with sauce. And not just any sauce, but a concoction of the reverend's that takes a little from Kansas, a little from Memphis, and a little more from here and there; the sauce soaks right into the brisket until every shred screams with flavor. Washington calls it "a Southern taste in the West"; we simply call it the best.
When Pastor Gene Washington got the call to take his family to an old soda fountain in Littleton and start serving up great barbecue, he answered -- and as a result, we're blessed with Blest Bar-B-Que of the Rockies. From Grandma Sharon down to granddaughter Jasmine, everyone puts their hands in, and their work pays off with such rib-stickin' sides as an eggy, pickle-packed potato salad, pork-filled baked beans, sweet potato pie so sugary it'll make you weep, and genuine Coke floats. But Blest's true blessing is the sloooooowww-smoked brisket -- soft as velvet, so tender you could scare the pieces apart with your fork, and slathered with sauce. And not just any sauce, but a concoction of the reverend's that takes a little from Kansas, a little from Memphis, and a little more from here and there; the sauce soaks right into the brisket until every shred screams with flavor. Washington calls it "a Southern taste in the West"; we simply call it the best.
When third-generation rancher George Harral and his wife, Georgia, left Texas behind, they knew they wanted to set up a smoke shop somewhere. Lucky for us, they picked a great site: Lookout Mountain, in a hundred-year-old building that reeks of history. The Harrals then set out to smoke everything imaginable -- and even a few things that weren't -- from pork ribs to chicken to brisket to salmon. But our favorite is the buffalo. The Harrals lightly smoke those massive bones until the meat starts to release its juices, then slather them with their Texas-style slop, a sweet, tangy barbecue sauce that perks up the buffalo's mild meat. The buffalo ribs are available only in the summer, so buy some bison now.

When third-generation rancher George Harral and his wife, Georgia, left Texas behind, they knew they wanted to set up a smoke shop somewhere. Lucky for us, they picked a great site: Lookout Mountain, in a hundred-year-old building that reeks of history. The Harrals then set out to smoke everything imaginable -- and even a few things that weren't -- from pork ribs to chicken to brisket to salmon. But our favorite is the buffalo. The Harrals lightly smoke those massive bones until the meat starts to release its juices, then slather them with their Texas-style slop, a sweet, tangy barbecue sauce that perks up the buffalo's mild meat. The buffalo ribs are available only in the summer, so buy some bison now.

In Kansas City, the smoky tips of brisket that can't be sliced off and sold are called burnt ends or brownies. Some KC eateries have made a name for themselves with these tidbits, and with good reason: The extra smoke makes for concentrated barbecue flavor. And after trying for some time to get their brownies right, We're Smokin' has the ends in sight. These fatty hunks are intense and still juicy, certain to kill you if you eat too many -- but what a way to go. Dip them into We're Smokin's well-melded, smoky, spicy sauce, and you'll agree that these ends justify the means.

In Kansas City, the smoky tips of brisket that can't be sliced off and sold are called burnt ends or brownies. Some KC eateries have made a name for themselves with these tidbits, and with good reason: The extra smoke makes for concentrated barbecue flavor. And after trying for some time to get their brownies right, We're Smokin' has the ends in sight. These fatty hunks are intense and still juicy, certain to kill you if you eat too many -- but what a way to go. Dip them into We're Smokin's well-melded, smoky, spicy sauce, and you'll agree that these ends justify the means.

The Saucy Noodle
Molly Martin
The Saucy Noodle may be down -- this spring a fire gutted its storefront location along with the space next door, where the Noodle had just expanded -- but don't count it out yet. When owners Erin and Nathan Markham (who've been running the place since before Sam Badis, the original owner and Erin's dad, passed away four years ago) start sautéeing garlic again sometime around the end of the summer, it will go into the best red sauce in town, the same thick, sweet elixir the joint's been serving since it opened back in 1964. The best way to sample it is over a plate of homemade spaghetti noodles, with huge, tasty meatballs on the side; plenty of homemade Italian bread and a salad draped in a rich, creamy, herb-packed blue-cheese dressing complete the picture. That's as Italian as it gets.

The Saucy Noodle may be down -- this spring a fire gutted its storefront location along with the space next door, where the Noodle had just expanded -- but don't count it out yet. When owners Erin and Nathan Markham (who've been running the place since before Sam Badis, the original owner and Erin's dad, passed away four years ago) start sautéeing garlic again sometime around the end of the summer, it will go into the best red sauce in town, the same thick, sweet elixir the joint's been serving since it opened back in 1964. The best way to sample it is over a plate of homemade spaghetti noodles, with huge, tasty meatballs on the side; plenty of homemade Italian bread and a salad draped in a rich, creamy, herb-packed blue-cheese dressing complete the picture. That's as Italian as it gets.

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