DENVER: The second annual Denver Barbeque Festival was held at Broncos Stadium at Mile High over the Father’s Day weekend, June 14-16. The festival featured some of the country’s top pitmasters and attracted thousands of BBQ aficionados hungry for a taste of the best in smoked meats.
Lines formed early among the various BBQ vendors from 7 states, some of whom traveled 1,000 miles to attend. The meaty stats are impressive, serving up 8,000 pounds of ribs, 5,000 pounds of brisket, 3,000 pounds of chicken as well as mounds of potato salad and beans.
Admission was free, and visitors could buy an all-you-can-eat pit pass that included close up access to the pit as well as complimentary cocktails and beverages.
A variety of other vendors offered everything from cocktails to ice cream to merchandise. Live music by bands such as The Rick Lewis Project and My Blue Sky kept the atmosphere fun. Hot sauce goes well with barbeque and mini Tabasco bottles were everywhere.
Bar-B-Que – a Texas Hill Country favorite
Salt Lick BBQ from Driftwood, Texas, offered some mouth-watering samples of their award-winning brisket. “You want to cook this low and slow,” said CEO Miriam Wilson.
Salt Lick has been a Texas Hill Country favorite since 1967 and at the Denver show, they served 3,000 people on Saturday. At the Texas location, they cook up family-style meals.
“You can have all the brisket, all the ribs, and all the sausage, potato salad, coleslaw, and pickles for $26.95 per person.”
Any barbeque fan would probably be familiar with Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, which was also represented at the festival. Owner Joe Stehney said this was their first time attending the Denver festival and was cooking up some pork belly burnt ends, a slight variation from the traditional ones made from brisket.
“We take a pork belly, cut it into two-inch cubes, season it well, smoke it for two hours, braise it for an hour and then drop it in the deep fryer.”
This creates a little square that is both crispy and gooey. People waited in a long queue to try these little BBQ morsels, topping them with some savory sauces.
At least eleven pitmasters attended the show including Pappy’s Smokehouse from St. Louis, Ubon’s BBQ in Yazoo City, Mississippi, GQUE Championship BBQ in Westminster, Colorado, and Jean-Paul Bourgeois, formerly of Blue Smoke in New York City.
Bourgeois prepared a fork-tender pork chop with a sweet white sauce and a lamb rib that was one of the showstoppers. Joe Harris from Elizabeth, Colorado, a first-time attendee says, “The food was fabulous” but his favorite was the lamb rib. “It wasn’t overbearing with the lamb taste. I loved the cut of the meat and the sauce that he put on it.”
Event planners hope for a bigger and better festival next year in 2020. For more information, visit their website at DenverBBQFest.