Every Food Item Westword Tried at Colorado's First Buc-ee's | Westword

Taste Test: Everything We Tried at Colorado's First Buc-ee's

For anyone heading north during the Fourth of July weekend, it's a must-stop — though not every snack is a winner.
Buc-ee's has basically everything imaginable for sale.
Buc-ee's has basically everything imaginable for sale. Catie Cheshire
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The first Buc-ee's in Colorado has been open for almost three months, and the giant travel center is still attracting plenty of attention. For anyone heading north during the Fourth of July weekend, it's a must-stop.

Located just off Interstate 25 at exit 252 in Johnstown, the 72,000-square-foot general store is open 24/7 and has 116 fueling stations and twelve EV charging stations. Once you're inside, figuring out what to eat can be overwhelming, since there's a seemingly endless selection of snacks and meals to go. That’s why we recently tested a handful of Buc-ee's favorites.

The Texas Round Up station takes center stage in the store; it's where the barbecue is prepped and packaged. At all hours of the day, someone — usually wearing a cowboy hat — can be found slinging sandwiches there.

The first Buc-ee’s was built in 1982 in Lake Jackson, Texas. In 2019, the brand began expanding beyond the Lone Star State. Now there are outposts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and, of course, Colorado.

Before Buc-ee’s hit the scene, Johnson’s Corner was the king of convenience stores on I-25. Located just down the road from Buc-ee’s, it offered an amazing cinnamon roll, but in 2014, the family who owned the place sold it to TravelCenters of America, and subsequent reviews show that its shine has dwindled.
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Buc-ee's is on its way to becoming a Colorado travel must.
Catie Cheshire
Though Buc-ee’s is also an out-of-state company, it might just be reviving the magic of the truck stop in Johnstown. The store has everything from knockoff Stanley cups to bikinis to cowboy hats covered in rhinestones. When it opened, Buc-ee’s ownership promised Colorado merch, so you can now find T-shirts with designs dedicated to the Rocky Mountains mixed in with those bearing the friendly beaver that graces the Buc-ee’s logo.

Luckily, the food options are fit more for a person than an animal.

Disclaimer: It would be nearly impossible to try everything Buc-ee’s has to offer, so this is just a sampling of the foods and snacks. Buc-ee’s is famous for its beef jerky in a wide variety of flavors, from lemon pepper and jalapeño honey to Korean BBQ, but we opted to skip the dried meats this time. (Pro tip if you're a jerky fan: Get it from the deli counter-style display instead of the wall of pre-bagged beef for the freshest flavor.)

It also doles out pre-prepared deli sandwiches and salads for those looking for a meal that isn’t barbecue-based, but we went straight to the Texas Round Up counter for our main dishes.

Everything We Tried at Buc-ee's

Sliced Brisket Sandwich
It wouldn’t be a true Buc-ee’s taste test without digging into some barbecue, which the company takes very seriously. Buc-ee's pitmaster Randy Pauly is an eight-title champion of the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the store's brisket sandwich did not disappoint. The meat is tender, juicy and flavorful, and the bread is perfectly soft. Some have complained about the meat-to-bread ratio. That wasn’t a problem for us, though in classic sandwich fashion, the meat doesn’t always touch the very ends of the bread.

The sandwich could stand to be a little heavier on the barbecue sauce. We understand why it isn’t: It’s designed for on-the-go dining, so anything too saucy would become a disaster. But if we were dining in, we’d add a little extra zest ourselves.
click to enlarge a person working behind a counter stocked with wrapped sandwiches
Buc-ee's employees man the Round Up barbecue station 24/7.
Catie Cheshire
Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit
Because Buc-ee’s is open all hours of the day and night, some of its offerings are for those who prefer a true breakfast. This biscuit almost falls into the category of not being a great to-go choice because it’s so flaky. We don’t mind the crumbs, but those who are worried about a mess in the car may want to skip it. Other than that, it’s tasty, with a good mix of all the classic breakfast sandwich elements.

Beaver Chips
This salty snack is made fresh on site, and if you're a potato chip fan, it's sure to please. Although the chips are seasoned with only a bit of salt, the Beaver Chips have plenty of flavor. And while the brown bag they come in does show oil spots, the chips themselves don’t feel dragged down with grease. Plus, they are guaranteed fresh, with sell-by dates no more than three hours from when they were made, so there are no soggy or stale bits to speak of.
click to enlarge various bags of snacks and fast food-style sandwiches
There are endless snacks to choose from at Buc-ee's.
Catie Cheshire
Smokin’ Nacho Chees-ee Puffs
While we're quickly becoming Buc-ee's fans, one thing we can’t endorse is its grammar: The product names rely on way too many apostrophes and dashes. These Chees-ee Puffs were our least favorite among the ones we tried. Sure, as a puffy Cheetos dupe, they work, and if that’s the snack you’re craving, you likely won’t be sad with the regular Chees-ee flavor. But when something is described as "smokin’," we want the heat — and these puffs simply did not deliver. From a barbecue-centered place, we would have even accepted a deeper level of smoky flavor without any spiciness, but these didn’t offer that, either. Our advice: Skip these chips.

Bold’n Spicy Sizzl’n Crackers
Still, we weren’t giving up entirely on getting a spicy fix from Buc-ee’s, and these tiny hexagonal crackers brought the heat. The perfect size for snacking, the flavored oyster crackers are a great Buc-ee’s grab. They leave a slight kick in the back of your throat after a salty start at the front of your mouth. The Caj’n and Chili Cheese versions are also delicious. One warning: If you’re not up for licking dust off your fingers, grab some napkins before you go. These are so covered in spices, it’s inevitable that some extra goodness will get left behind on your digits.

Bold ’N Blended Kettle Cooked Chips
These kettle chips claim to be seasoned with a blend of popular flavors including salt and vinegar, barbecue, onion and garlic, according to the packaging, but when we tried them, they mainly just tasted like salt and vinegar chips with a little barbecue flavoring thrown in. There wasn’t anything particularly garlicky or oniony, but if you’re a salt and vinegar lover, you will definitely enjoy these. Plus, the barbecue note balances the usual bite of a standard vinegar flavor.
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Multiple walls at Buc-ee's are lined with snacks.
Catie Cheshire
Strawberry Sour Power Candy Belts
Buc-ee’s has a whole wall of candy, so you could go nuts on sugary snacks alone, but our favorite (so far) are these strawberry ropes. The sour dust doesn’t have much tang, but it's enough to balance the sweetness of the gummy rope itself. It’s hard to go wrong with this type of treat, and Buc-ee’s nails it.

Mini Cinnamon Churro Cookies
Buc-ee’s has a whole bakery section, but these pre-packaged mini cookies are a real standout. Surprisingly soft, the bite-sized desserts are a crowd-pleaser. The cinnamon flavor isn’t overwhelming and is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the cookie itself. These don't really resemble churros at all beyond the striped design that's a subtle nod to their namesake, but that doesn't really matter because they are so dang good.

We’ll be re-purchasing some of these items on our next trip up north. Other options we've tried and loved on previous trips include the White Cheddar Buc-ee's Nug-ees, the Gummi Butterflies and the sprinkle Cookie Dough Bites.
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