Barbecue is a touchy subject. Fanatics find a style—Kansas City, Memphis, North Carolina, what have you—that suits them and then they look no further. The message is “Don’t mess with my ’cue.” But let’s be honest: Food is meant to be explored, expanded, and riffed upon.

Oinks! BBQ, off of Kearney Street and East Colfax Avenue, is all about innovation. The six-week-old shop offers chicken, pork, brisket, and ribs (even tofu!) that are slow-smoked and served ready for a dousing in one of the house-made sauces: Texas, Carolina Mustard, Vinegar, or 9 Volt Hot. Here, no one will think twice if you (for shame!) squirt both the sweet Texas and the tangy Carolina on the same bite of tender, smoky brisket.

Even more of a departure: Oinks’ meats are antibiotic-free and sustainable whenever possible, and a handful of side dishes aim to be a teensy bit healthier. Along with the usual lineup of fried okra and baked beans, better-for-you options such as spicy green-bean salad exist. The side is nice and fresh, but if you’re eating barbecue, we’re guessing you’re not counting calories.

Which is good because you don’t want to miss the creamy sweet-potato-and-bacon salad. Oinks’ take on classic potato salad has huge chucks of sweet potato, meaty bites of bacon, and is blessedly light on mayonnaise.

Oinks may not be traditional, but we appreciate that the eatery doesn’t take itself too seriously—all the while dishing up barbecue worth crossing town for.

6110 E. Colfax Ave., 303-355-7900

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.