American BBQ is good, but Mexican can be better -- and the high-tone norteño costillas at Cielo are proof. These pork ribs are smoky, slow-roasted, meaty masterpieces of balance and simplicity, crusted with crushed black pepper, rubbed with chiles and piloncillo, then slathered in a thick, sweet-hot adobo-chile barbecue sauce that plays perfectly against the pork's mildness and the simple three-note harmony of the meat's dry rub. Texas, Kansas City and the Carolinas may be where most people consider the home turf of fine 'cue, but in Denver, the flavors of the pampas and the simple spice of Cielo's perfect pork ribs have put us in a sur de las Américas state of mind.
Smokey Serrano, a homegrown wonder bottled by the Boulder Hot Sauce Company, accomplishes the almost impossible: It matches a hit of heat with a blast of flavor. Made from smoked poblano peppers and fresh serranos, this gourmet condiment sports glorious amounts of woody smokiness, followed by a pleasing, not-too-heavy number of BTUs
One million dollars. That's what it cost to bring the new and improved M&D's Cafe back to the Denver dining scene. One million dollars, and what do we get for all that money? The best BBQ joint in town. But Mack and Daisy Shead's new spot is no hole-in-the-wall joint; it's a clean, well-lighted space with a large waiting area, a great sound system and plenty of room for loading up on terrific ribs, succulent catfish and wonderful sides that complement the flavors of good 'cue, balancing savory, sweet and sour against the smoky heat and heavy meatiness. Nothing makes a rack of baby-backs go down smoother than knowing there's something as good as M&D's gooey peach cobbler or a slice of perfectly spiced sweet-potato pie waiting on the other side. A million dollars might seem like a lot to spend for a barbecue restaurant, but one meal at M&D's, and we think you'll agree it was worth every cent.
Blest's ribs are truly blessed. To make these down-home spears, owner Gene Washington slowly smokes his pork ribs over hickory until they're infused with rich flavor and achieve slip-off-the-bone tenderness. The house sauce is a dreamy, Southern-style version with unholy amounts of vinegar tang and a dose of balancing sweetness, perfect for the ribs. The sides are heavenly, and the pies by Gene's wife are the ideal end to a finger-licking meal. We're blessed to have Blest around.
American BBQ is good, but Mexican can be better -- and the high-tone norteo costillas at Cielo are proof. These pork ribs are smoky, slow-roasted, meaty masterpieces of balance and simplicity, crusted with crushed black pepper, rubbed with chiles and piloncillo, then slathered in a thick, sweet-hot adobo-chile barbecue sauce that plays perfectly against the pork's mildness and the simple three-note harmony of the meat's dry rub. Texas, Kansas City and the Carolinas may be where most people consider the home turf of fine 'cue, but in Denver, the flavors of the pampas and the simple spice of Cielo's perfect pork ribs have put us in a sur de las Américas state of mind.
Juicier, fattier and more tender than racked ribs, the taste not quite as intense but better wedded to the flavors of smoke and sauce, small ends are the filet mignon of the rib kingdom. And M&D's small ends rule. After the meat and smoke, of course, the most important key to 'cue is the sauce. And you can forget the sweet tar of a Kansas City mop or the thin vinegar juice used in the Carolinas' tidewater shacks: M&D's offers a Southern-style pepper sauce in mild, medium and hot for which the Shead family has become justifiably famous.


Blest's ribs are truly blessed. To make these down-home spears, owner Gene Washington slowly smokes his pork ribs over hickory until they're infused with rich flavor and achieve slip-off-the-bone tenderness. The house sauce is a dreamy, Southern-style version with unholy amounts of vinegar tang and a dose of balancing sweetness, perfect for the ribs. The sides are heavenly, and the pies by Gene's wife are the ideal end to a finger-licking meal. We're blessed to have Blest around.
The house barbecue sauce from brothers Nick and Chris Sullivan is something of a sibling rivalry in a bottle. The city's best meat paint pairs the charm of old-school Kansas City sauce with hints of Memphis tang and Texas sweetness. The result is a sauce that hits home with brothers and sisters from all parts and goes great on barbecued ribs, pork and chicken.
If you must avoid sugar, barbecue sauce is typically a no-no -- especially here in the West, where we like our sauces sweeter. Old West BBQ to the rescue. Its line of exceptional sauces includes a flavor-rich, sugar-free version that provides sweet relief for diabetic 'cue fans. Splenda is just one of the secrets to this splendid sauce.
Juicier, fattier and more tender than racked ribs, the taste not quite as intense but better wedded to the flavors of smoke and sauce, small ends are the filet mignon of the rib kingdom. And M&D's small ends rule. After the meat and smoke, of course, the most important key to 'cue is the sauce. And you can forget the sweet tar of a Kansas City mop or the thin vinegar juice used in the Carolinas' tidewater shacks: M&D's offers a Southern-style pepper sauce in mild, medium and hot for which the Shead family has become justifiably famous.

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