‘Over the moon’ for barbecue

Chancy J. Gatlin-Anderson
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 6/30/22

The fourth annual Denver BBQ Fest took place June 17-19 at Empower Field at Mile High, bringing together expert pitmasters, live bands and barbecue lovers from across the country. In addition to …

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‘Over the moon’ for barbecue


The fourth annual Denver BBQ Fest took place June 17-19 at Empower Field at Mile High, bringing together expert pitmasters, live bands and barbecue lovers from across the country. In addition to vendors, beer and boat loads of barbecue meat, the event featured a Run for the Ribs 5K race and the Rib Rumble, a contest to see who can eat the most ribs by weight in five minutes.

Denver BBQ Fest: By the numbers

30,000 — more than 30,000 pounds of meat was smoked for the 2022 Denver BBQ Fest.
35,000 — number of attendees that attended the Denver BBQ Fest throughout the three days of the event.
600 — number of people who volunteered at the Denver BBQ Fest. They represented more than 20 nonprofit organizations.
9 — number of bands that performed live during the three days of the Denver BBQ Fest.
17 — number of world renowned pitmasters that participated in the Denver BBQ Fest.
37 — number of live cooking demonstrations at the Denver BBQ Fest.

Promoting Rocky Mountain barbecue

The Rocky Mountain BBQ Association — the official barbecue organization for Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana — began in 2003 and became a registered nonprofit in 2004. The RMBBQA works to promote barbeque cooking and provide a space for education, competition and charitable community projects. During the 2021-2022 Marshall Fire, members worked together to provide food for victims. Learn more about the RMBBQA at rmbbqa.clubexpress.com.


Did you know?

The Frisco BBQ Challenge claims the title for the longest-running barbecue competition in the state. In June, the town held its 27th annual barbeque festival and Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned event.
According to the Kansas City Barbeque Society judging standards, a “fall-off-the-bone” rib is an overcooked rib. However, smoked chicken can still appear pink, even though it is thoroughly cooked.
There are eight common types of smokers and grills used for barbecue. They are: propane/gas, charcoal, offset smoker, pellet, electric, kamado, kettle and barrel/drum. Pellet smokers are quickly becoming the most popular for backyard cooks, but Jambo pit smokers and barrel/drum smokers are the most commonly used by serious competition cook teams.

The father of Denver barbecue

Denver barbecue legend “Daddy” Bruce Randolph, who lived from 1900-1994, began serving barbecue out of his son’s barbershop on East 34th Avenue in Denver in the early 1960s. His food became so loved by the Denver community that he began to regularly cater events for the Denver Broncos. Eventually, Randolph opened his own barbecue restaurant at 1629 E. 34th Ave. in north Denver. In 1967, Randolph began feeding people in need out of a food truck at City Park during Thanksgiving. By the 1980s, his Thanksgiving events would serve tens of thousands of people each year, and the tradition in some form continues today. In 1985, East 34th Avenue was renamed Bruce Randolph Avenue in honor of his humanitarianism. In 2002, the Bruce Randolph School, 3955 Steele St., was founded.
Information obtained online athistory.denverlibrary.org and brucerandolph.dpsk12.org.

Get your grub on!

Several towns in the Denver metro area, as well as the National Western Stock Show and the Colorado Rockies, have hosted barbeque festivals and competitions throughout the past two decades. Many have come and gone due to rising costs, and several halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are two upcoming barbecue events in the metro area taking place in the upcoming months:
• Colorado Rib Challenge at the Douglas County Fair & Rodeo: July 30 in Castle Rock. douglascountyfairandrodeo.com.
• Meat Scream BBQ: Oct. 22-23 in Westminster. meatscream.com.

About the author

I am a long-time barbeque fanatic. I’m a Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified Judge and have been judging backyard and professional contests for several years. I’ve judged contests in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Georgia and Alabama. I am a member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society as well as the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association. Born and raised in Georgia, I have a taste for sweet, smokey barbeque, but I have grown to love all regional barbeque during my time as a certified barbeque judge. To me, Colorado barbeque is the perfect fusion of the sweetness of the south, the Texas heat, the tangy vinegar taste of the Carolinas and the Midwest, and the bold, rich flavor of Kansas City.
Denver BBQ Fest, Rocky Mountain BBQ Association, barbecue


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