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.
Over the years, the almost claustrophobically cluttered India's has gained a very loyal following with its Mughlai Indian cuisine, a gentler and beautifully complex culinary counterpart to the wholesome simplicity of Haryanvi and the richness of Bengali seafood. Whether you're after an adventure, an education, just lunch or a little of all three, the best way to begin is with the tandoori offerings -- and, in particular, the tandoori chicken, the hallmark of Mughlai food, cooked on the bone and stained brick red by spices and tradition. Watch the cooks pull fresh orders out of the smoking tandoor on long metal skewers: This is what it means to barbecue in the mysterious East. India's chicken is sweet and smoky, served in big chunks, bones and all, dressed only with raw slivered onions and lemon quarters -- and that's all it needs. An Indian restaurant may not be what you think of when you're hankering for barbecued chicken, but India's is always our first stop.
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.
Something about the Cherry Creek Grill just feels right. From the outside, from the inside, from the heavy front doors to the exhibition line in the back, everything about this restaurant oozes comfort. The restaurant fits so well into its corner in Cherry Creek, it's hard to believe that it's part of a chain -- and that's even harder to believe once you take a bite of the burger. This kitchen turns out a monster cheeseburger, made with excellent beef that stays juicy even when ordered well-done, set on a good roll and stacked with enough fresh accoutrements (lettuce, pickles, relish, huge slices of tomato, onions, etc.) that you almost have to unhinge your jaw like a python just to get a bite. Good burgers are a dime a dozen these days, and great ones come along maybe once in every dozen. But the best burgers hang with you a long time, and though we've tried many, many burgers this year, Cherry Creek Grill's is still the one to beat.

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