100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: Brisket and Ribs at GQue Championship BBQ

No. 86: Brisket and Ribs at GQue Championship BBQ
Barbecue isn't just food; it's a competitive sport. And GQue Championship BBQ owner Jason Ganahl has proven himself on the competitive circuit with high marks at events in both Colorado and the American South, where good ’cue is taken seriously. So when Gque opened last fall in Westminster, smokehouse aficionados from around the city flocked there to find out what championship barbecue is all about.

We give top scores for all the meats that come out of GQue's smoker: juicy turkey, tongue-buzzing jalapeño-cheddar sausage and crackling wings that get smoked, deep-fried and showered with the house dry rub. But the brisket and ribs stand out as the real prize winners, both so sumptuous and gleaming with fat that each bite offers a new explosion of smoky, spicy flavor, with just a hint of sweetness.

The brisket goes into the smoker the night before it's served, leaving plenty of time for the tough cut to melt into tender shreds. Ganahl notes that his isn't Texas-style brisket, so expect a moister finish with more seasonings in the rub and a milder smoke presence. The ribs come lacquered with a garnet coating and a dusting of dry spices that add extra pop. Slow cooking allows the juices from the meat to mingle with the dry rub, creating its own sauce as it cooks. You certainly don't need any add-ons, but GQue's two table sauces — the Topper and the Hottish — add just enough tang without becoming cloying.

Wash it all down with one of six craft beers brewed nearby or a bourbon from Ganahl's collection of Kentucky-inspired spirits.
Throughout this year, we'll be counting down the best dishes in the city — from longtime classics that keep us coming back to new additions that have caught our attention. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section, or shoot us an e-mail at [email protected]

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2016 countdown are linked below.

No. 100: Masala Beef at Biju's Little Curry Shop
No. 99: Bacon Shrimp and Grits at Bacon Social House
No. 98: Porchetta and Kimchi Sandwich at Brider
No. 97: Squab-and-Sunchoke Tortellini at Abejas
No. 96: Housemade Burrata at Viand
No, 95: Schweinshaxe at Rhein Haus
No. 94 Kimchi Jeon at Seoul BBQ
No. 93: Zuppa Pomodoro at Parisi Italian Market & Deli
No. 92: The Ocean Salad at Sushi-Rama
No. 91: The Signature Bowl from Churn & Burn
No. 90: Green Chorizo at Los Compadres
No. 89: The Diavola Calzone at Pino's Neighborhood Pizzeria
No. 88: Biscuits and Green Chile at the Noshery
No. 87: Chirashi at Izu Sushi
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation