Denver is lucky to have its quite personal soul food scholar, Adrian Miller. And when he’s not crisscrossing the nation researching the background of Black food and tradition, there’s a good probability you are going to obtain him tucking into a plate of barbecue.
Miller, a James Beard Award-profitable foodstuff writer, historian, and lawyer, was born and lifted in Denver, so he’s eaten his reasonable share of barbecue at dining places throughout Colorado. His latest book is all about the lengthy-standing cooking system, way too. This spring, he released Black Smoke: African Us residents and the United States of Barbecue, which tells the story of our nation’s Black pit masters and restaurateurs.
In honor of Nationwide Barbecue Month this May well, we questioned Miller to share his favourite Centennial State barbecue spots—but just before we get to the record, there are a couple matters you must know about his flavor-screening credentials and method to evaluating new-to-him eating places.
Miller has been taking in barbecue because he was a child. Escalating up, his family cooked pork spareribs, hen, and hotlink sausages on holiday seasons and weekends all through the summer season. His very to start with position was at an Aurora barbecue joint that later burned down (a destiny, he noted, that is all much too common for dining places that deal mostly with smoke and fireplace) he’s also a qualified barbecue choose.
These times, when Miller visits a barbecue cafe for the 1st time, he practically usually orders the pork spareribs initial, if they’re on the menu. Then, he commonly tries the pulled pork and it’s possible some brisket. Miller typically builds his own sampler platters at dining places that market their smoked meats by the pound “I’m a spareribs guy, so which is my touchstone,” he claims. “I glimpse at how they’re designed, how they taste. To me, which is normally a indication of great matters to occur.”
He’s a enthusiast of Kansas Metropolis-design and style and North Carolina-model sauces, but he really attempts to stick to the respective cook’s guide when it comes to sauce. “I just consider of sauce like a chef pairing, they’re declaring, ‘This is what goes with this,’ and I check out to love the whole seamless practical experience alternatively of obtaining them separated,” he states.
Miller, who normally eats barbecue roughly as soon as a week—twice a week for the duration of the pandemic, to support assistance little businesses—is a enthusiast of potato salad and coleslaw for sides, but notes that he doesn’t like coleslaw with raisins in it. “To me, the sides are secondary—they’re definitely complementary, but I’m additional centered on the meat and the sauce,” he says.
One particular dish he has not however observed in Colorado? Great smoked hen. “I’m however in look for of a great smoked rooster,” he states. “I just simply cannot think of one that’s quickly memorable. I have not discovered what I’m on the lookout for.”
And now, with out even more ado, here are Miller’s preferred destinations to eat barbecue all-around the state—and what he likes to buy at just about every a single.
Areas in Westminster, Lone Tree, and at Mile Significant Stadium
What Miller orders: “I just like their smoked wings and their ribs are truly excellent,” he suggests.
5410 E. Colfax Ave.
What Miller orders: Hotlink sausages and Frito pie. “You can insert brisket to [the Frito pie],” he claims.
2826 Larimer St.
What Miller orders: Brisket and pulled pork. “The attention-grabbing detail about their pulled pork is its North Carolina type, which is abnormal. I did not count on that,” he claims. “I also really like their burgers. They do burger evenings periodically and they’re genuinely excellent.”
2387 S. Downing St. 17121 S. Golden Rd. C100, Golden
What Miller orders: Bison ribs and pulled lamb. “Bison ribs are lean and have a a little bit gamey taste, but they’re extra reminiscent of beef than pork,” he suggests. “On the weekends, they have barbecue ‘sammies’ and they’re pretty delicious, far too.”
315 South 31st St., Colorado Springs
What Miller orders: Prime rib and pork spareribs.
4000 Tennyson St.
What Miller orders: Pork spareribs and pork stomach. “Man, they have so much great stuff there,” he states.
Places in Durango, Loveland, Fort Collins
What Miller orders: Brisket and Elgin Texas sausage, as well as a sampling of their seasonal sauces. “It’s a definitely particular sausage that’s distinct to central Texas,” he states. “In central Texas, it’s generally called ‘hot guts.’ Picture a sausage that’s coarsely ground but it practically feels like it is loose.”
3330 Brighton Blvd. (inside the Resource Industry Hall & Resort) new places coming to Denver and Fort Collins quickly
What Miller orders: “I like their burnt finishes and their smoked jalapeño-cheddar sausage,” he says. “And anytime they do their fish unique, that’s seriously superior.”
406 Center Dr., Excellent
What Miller orders: Brisket and smoked catfish.