The ABCs of BBQ (Denver-Style)
This Birmingham, Alabama-based chain came on the Denver barbecue scene in 2006, and they've made their mark by serving up genuine Southern-style barbecue. This shop is named for Jim and Nick Pihakis, a father-and-son team who typified how Greek immigrants to the South have embraced all things barbecue.
Order up Pulled pork, spareribs, the sausage and pimiento cheese appetizerand cheese biscuits so good they could be classified as a controlled substance.
Bones to pick: Long waits during peak times.
24153 E. Prospect Ave. (Southlands shopping center), Aurora, 720-274-5300, and 8264 E. 49th Ave. (Northfield shopping center), 303-371-1566, www.jimnnicks.com
Kirk and Tricia Jamison were so inspired by the legendary Pecos Pit BBQ in their hometown of Seattle that they modeled their own barbecue joint after it. And thus, KT's BBQ first opened in Boulder in 1992. Now the eatery, which dishes out Memphis-style barbecue, has two locations in the Boulder area, one in Broomfield, and a Denver eatery in the works.
Order up Meaty baked beans, incredible coleslaw with a great balance of vinegar, crunchiness, and creaminess, and the "June Bowl"a layered salad of barbecued meat, barbecue sauce, and a barbecue side such as coleslaw
Bones to pick We didn't get much flavor from the chicken and pulled pork.
Multiple locations, www.ktsbbq.com
No, this isn't a misprintParadise BBQ is a fresh-from-the-smoker brand of barbecue that can be found at select Whole Foods. While shopping one day, we were pleasantly surprised by the smoky perfume of applewood and made a beeline to the counter. What we tasted surprised us even more: Flavorful cuts of meat pulled and chopped right before our eyes. (Note: Only these Whole Foods have smokehouses on site, so plan accordingly.)
Order up Flavorful pulled pork (make sure you get the outside "bark" where the seasoning lies), excellent beef brisket, and tender chicken
Bones to pick The sausage was a garlic sausage (not the hot links variety normally associated with barbecue), the smoked turkey was cold, and we didn't get much seasoning on the baby back ribs or the spareribs.
Whole Foods Market, 7400 E. Hampden Ave., 303-488-2000, and 444 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood, 303-935-5000, www.wholefoodsmarket.com
We credit the recent wave of Denver's barbecue proliferation to Chris and Nick O'Sullivan, the British-born siblings who, a decade ago, set up their first shop close to George Washington High School. Brothers BBQ has been making loot ever since, but the goods have grown inconsistentsometimes it's good, and other times it's just OK. Even so, we'll give the boys a shout out, with the hopes that they get their groove back. If you do go, the savory pork shoulder sandwich and the meaty baked beans are dependable.
Multiple locations, www.brothers-bbq.com
Since 1978, Mack and Daisy Shead have served up righteous 'cue in their combo barbecue-Southern food spot in Five Points. We frequent M&D's for the side dishes (don't miss the cornmeal-battered fried green tomatoes) and the unforgettable peach cobbler as much as we do for the barbecue. Yet, these days, consistency seems to be an issue; opt for the pork spareribs, a safe bet and standout.
2000 E. 28th Ave., 303-296-1760, www.mdsfoodproducts.com