Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Next Evolution Barbecue

Greetings, Readers!

I write to you after surviving the onslaught of food and beer that I was subjected to in the great state of Colorado.

But I am not complaining. What I did find out firsthand this past weekend is that not only does Colorado have numerous fantastic craft breweries, but their food is also worth the trip.

While I did not find any sandwiches I would say were specifically from Colorado, I did find two excellent places that I would revisit in the future.

The first stop, which came after a day of driving through the Colorado countryside and visiting three breweries (New Belgium, Odell, and Grimm Brothers), was Smokin' Daves BBQ and Taphouse in Estes Park.

After an exhausting day of sampling 12+ beers at each stop, we all took our time with the menu and relaxed in the atmosphere of this barbecue joint in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. A  I had a hard time deciding between all of the great options, but our waiter easily put the issue to rest.

"So what would you recommend? The Texas Beef Brisket sandwich or the Pitmaster?" I asked, and without hesitation he responded:

"The Pitmaster. It's got three meats." As if the choice was self evident.

Well, good enough for me.

The Pitmaster comes on a fresh hoagie roll and is packed with Carolina Pulled Pork, Texas Beef Brisket and Elgin Cheddar Jalapeno sausage. It's just as intense as it sounds.

Despite the three different meats, the barbecue sauce, and the tangy barbecue mustard I added to it, each bite showed off the three different meat flavors. The overall sensation was filled with tangy, spicy and smoky notes with the savory combinations of the brisket and pulled pork and the kick of the jalapeno sausage.

The roll was a standard hoagie roll that held together well until the end, but it wasn't entirely a noticeable part of the sandwich, not because the roll is bad, but because the barbecue was so good. It was a collection of balanced flavors, textures and smells.

It's also a pretty hefty sandwich, one large enough to help cure a hangover, though you'll probably be taking some home in the end for your next hangover. Now, if you're not huge on barbecue, this may not be the sandwich for you, as it is truly the next stage in the evolution of barbecue excellence.

But then again, if you're hanging out in Colorado for the weekend, why not go for gold?

Our first sandwich excursion in Colorado turned out to be an incredible success, and I think all of us would agree it was a great way to wrap a day of exploring Colorado's beers, but could next week's entry from Boulder top this delicious barbecue offering?

Until next week...

The Pitmaster
**** 1/2 Stars
Smokin' Daves BBQ and Taphouse
820 Moraine Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517

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