I'm a little weird about leftovers. Though I take doggie bags home, I almost always end up discarding them, un(re)touched.
But when I scanned the menu at the Boulder Rib House, something told me these leftovers would be different. Maybe it was the volume of food offered, or my well-honed cognizance of the meticulous quality possessed by all great barbecue. Regardless, I promptly suspended my idiosyncrasy.
The original Rib House opened in Longmont in 2001, founded by Tracy and Merry Ann Webb, two natives of Kansas City—righteous roots to any 'cue enthusiast. The slightly braggy waitress confirmed that ribs are the house specialty—she took great pride in underlining the fact that every batch is slow-cooked for 12 hours. She then skeptically assessed my ability to polish off a sampler platter (five ribs, plus two more meats, three sides, and bread).
She was right. Although I'd purposely skipped breakfast, I gobbled only about half the sampler platter. While a $24.79 platter of food isn't exactly economical, nabbing two meaty meals for that price is a steal for any self-respecting carnivore.
Begin with the ribs. The term "fall-off-the-bone tender" is a clichéd staple of many a rib joint; in this case, it's spot on. You pick up a rib and the meat falls to the plate. The dry-rubbed, hickory-smoked delicacy is satisfying with or without sauce, which is served on the side. (I chose the tangy, tomato-based, medium-heat version, the second-mildest of the four offerings.)
The brisket—a barometer of quality for most barbecue connoisseurs—was just a tinge dry, but the smoked turkey was rich and flavorful. The sides included a pedestrian coleslaw; a creamy, cheesy corn bake casserole; and a spicy chipotle potato salad packing a crunchy, latent zing.
Back home, a day later, I couldn't wait to dig in. I wrapped the meats in tinfoil and warmed them in the oven for about 30 minutes—merely nuking the morsels would be unconscionably impatient—and my Zen approach was rewarded. The ribs and turkey maintained their savory flavor, and the brisket actually improved, its dryness now dissipated. Topped off with the slab of cinnamon-chocolate cake I had wrapped to go the previous day, I sat back for the second time, full of comfort food and contentment. The Rib House, 1801 13th St., Boulder, 303-442-7427; 1920 S. Coffman St., Longmont, 303-485-6988; www.theribhouse.com.