Reader: Colorado Does Not Have Enough Good Barbecue

Adrian Miller wrote the book on the history of Black barbecue.
Adrian Miller wrote the book on the history of Black barbecue.
courtesy UNC Press
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Food historian Adrian Miller's third book will be released this week. His first, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine One Plate at a Time, won a James Beard award; his second, The President's Kitchen Cabinet, explored the history of African-American chefs in the White House. His new book is Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue, and it was inspired by the same motivation behind his first two efforts: "The people who decide what stories are being told are white — and they're getting recommendations about what stories to tell from other white people."

In contrast, Black Smoke tells the story of the importance of African-Americans on the birth and evolution of barbecue: cooking meat at low temperature over wood coals in a way that's distinct from other forms of outdoor cooking. "I saw that African-Americans had been pushed so far to the sidelines of barbecue that they were in danger of disappearing," explains Miller. "The book is consistent with my other books in that it tells a hidden history or a forgotten history."

Watch for Black Smoke on April 27. In the meantime, readers are already serving up their own thoughts — including their opinions on Colorado barbecue in general — on the Westword Facebook page. Says Michael:   

Great article. I look forward to reading the author’s book. Having become a novice pellet smoker (I’m sure that’s anathema to purists) this year, I’ve done some reading about the Caribbean origins of barbecue and how different cultures throughout the Western Hemisphere — both natives and colonial immigrants — evolved cooking meat with fire (heat and smoke). Makes me hungry!

Suggests Brandon:

I think he would be a really interesting person to eat lunch with.

Comments Bill: 

Colorado does not have enough good barbecue at all, much less enough good barbecue at Black-owned spots.

Notes Timmy:

Used to got to M&Ds they shut down during the Obama years. Still one down south: Jabo's off Arapahoe Road.

Adds Kevin:

Colorado BBQ sucks. There's only one good Q place in the entire state.

For the record, that's LuLu's BBQ in Louisville, according to Kevin. Other suggestions from readers: Hickory House Ribs, G-Que.

What's your favorite barbecue in the Denver area? Post a comment or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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