The ABCs of BBQ (Denver-Style)
Great Moments in Colorado BarbecueThe Oldest Barbecue 10,000 B.C. An archaeological excavation site outside of Fort Collins shows that some Ice Age dudes named "Folsom Men" roasted a bison.
First Reported Public Barbecue January 8, 1863 Colorado's Democratic Party held its political convention in Golden City, the then-capital of the Colorado territory. The party threw an event that the Weekly Commonwealth, a Denver newspaper, deemed "the first barbecue ever given in Colorado." On the menu: an ox and a pig.
The Biggest Businessman's Lunch September 6, 1882. Denver's business community decided to give a free barbecue to 4,000 hungry souls. Newspaper accounts of the day said that many of the diners were curiosity seekers who had no idea what a barbecue was. On the menu: ox, pigs, sheep, assorted vegetables, and watermelon.
The Largest Barbecue July 4, 1890 An estimated crowd of 50,000 to 60,000 jammed Lincoln Park to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone for the state Capitol. On the menu: 350 sheep, 312 cattle, 15,000 loaves of bread, 3,000 pounds of cheese, 10 barrels of pickles, and thousands of gallons of lemonade.
The Wildest Barbecue The 1898 Stock Show (January 27, 1898) In a bid to become the permanent home for the Stock Show, Denver threw a barbecue (and sold 5,000 advanced tickets)30,000 showed up. A food riot ensued with men fighting, women and children getting trampled, and the chef weeping at the devastation. Allegedly, Colorado's governor and Denver's mayor threw apples to keep people at bay.
The Most Exotic Barbecue Also the 1898 Stock Show (January 27, 1898) Trying to impress, Denver laid out a barbecue spread unlikely to be duplicated. On the menu: two buffalo, 10 cows, four elk, 30 sheep, two bears, 15 antelope, 200 possums, 10,000 pickles, 3,000 loaves of bread, 35 barrels of yams, a half-ton of cheese, 200 gallons of coffee, and 300 kegs of Zang Brewing Co. beer. No wonder a fight broke out.
Lamb Day in Fort Collins September 28, 1909 In what had to be the biggest commercial ever for Fort Collins' growing lamb industry, the city elders held a free lamb barbecue for 10,000. This "Lamb Day" was so successful that it became an annual tradition. On the menu: hundreds of pounds of lamb, 3,000 loaves of bread, and wagons loaded with cantaloupes, watermelons, and barrels of cider.
Daddy Bruce Gave it Away November 1964 Denver's patron saint of barbecue began his decades-long tradition of feeding the needy on Thanksgiving Day. At its peak during the 1980s, an estimated 100,000 people showed up for the free feed. On the menu: anything that Daddy Bruce had...along with a smile.