Second Helpings

Yazoo Barbecue Company

I'm fairly sure that if you were to make a list of all the songs least likely to be heard in a Deep South barbecue shack, "Dead Man's Party," by Oingo Boingo, would be damn close to the top of the list. And yet that's just what was playing over the house sound system when I paid a visit to Yazoo Barbecue Company's suburban outpost last week. Oingo friggin' Boingo, no lie. It was loud, too, and I loved it — but then, I am a child of the '80s and have a weakness for any band whose music was featured in the classic 1986 fish-out-of-water buddy comedy Back to School (an excellent film, by the way, and the only movie in which Kurt Vonnegut ever appeared). And you know, the barbecue wasn't half bad, either.

I had ribs, of course, a full rack of twelve that were big and fat, deeply smoky and best eaten dry. The ribs came with baked beans (always sweet, always a pleasant distraction) and potato salad that was good, even if not as good as the potato salad served at Cora Faye's (see review). And when I decided that a dozen ribs plus sides wouldn't quite fill me up, I added a shredded-pork sandwich, because at the original Yazoo, at 2150 Broadway, the pork shoulder has always been the best bet for flavor, for texture and for showcasing the skills of the pit men.

Owner Don Hines opened this second location about a year ago, and while he may have given up some of the urban grit that makes the downtown shack so charming, he didn't skimp a bit when it came to serving up his very distinctive, slow-smoked, Deep South 'cue. You can actually see one of the huge Southern Pride smokers if you poke your nose in the kitchen and lean around the counter where the various sauces are displayed. And even if the dining room here is as big as the entire original Yazoo operation and the walls are paneled in clean, corrugated tin, everything is still served on Styrofoam picnic plates and eaten with plastic silverware — which, in this fella's opinion, is the only way that real barbecue ought ever to be served.

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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan