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Dining Review: Colorado Smokehouse tiny in size, big in smoked meaty taste

March 23, 2017 Updated: March 26, 2017 at 2:01 pm
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Colorado Smokehouse Barbecue Wednesday March 15, 2017. Photo by Jeff Kearney.

The distinct scent of smoked meats was missing the day I visited Colorado Smokehouse in Fountain.

The two smokers weren't in operation, so there were no wafts of meats slowly cooking over hardwood. The distinct fragrance usually serves as a tempting prelude to a barbecue meal. I imagine, when in use, the smokers create streams of grill aromas up and down nearby U.S. 87.

Colorado Smokehouse isn't much of a sit-down restaurant. The diminutive eatery boasts only six barstools and five picnic tables outside. It could easily be called Colorado Smoketinyhouse. Its (corn)bread and butter lie in takeout orders.

Colorado Smokehouse has a larger facility at 4737 N. Academy Blvd. more suited for dining-in.

Colorado Smokehouse Barbecue "Barbecue Ribs with Beans" Wednesday March 15, 2017. Photo by Jeff Kearney.  

The menu features brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken, links and burnt ends. The latter aren't all that common, but they should be since they're available on every whole beef brisket. They're cut from the points of the meat into cubes, tossed with barbecue sauce and then placed back into the smoker. The result is something slightly shy of caramelized jerky - only thicker.

Some of the ends ($10.65) in our order were dry, others were chewy with the slightest taste of sauce still evident in the char. When included as part of a two-meat combination plate ($14.95) with pulled pork they offer contrasting but complementary textures, although the pork was dry.

On the other hand, the brisket was tender with the right amount of infused smokiness. Six sauces are offered to augment the meats: sweet, spicy southwest, chipotle, Kansas City, Carolina vinegar and Georgia mustard. We tried the sweet, which the menu identifies as the Smokehouse's most popular, and the Kansas City. The tomato-based sauce was too acidic, especially compared to the brown sugary sweet sauce, which worked well on all the meats we sampled.

Along with the brisket we had ribs. These have a charred coating and the meat practically falls off the bone. Some were more fatty than I like, but those pork bites with more substance were juicy, especially with the sweet sauce that's served on the side. The order included four good-size ribs.

Colorado Smokehouse Barbecue "Pulled Pork Sandwich with Collard Greens" Wednesday March 15, 2017. Photo by Jeff Kearney.  

Orders are placed at the counter, where the staff was friendly and helpful in answering questions. I was disappointed to learn that the potato salad is not made in-house, although the cornbread is. Other sides include coleslaw, collard greens, macaroni and cheese and barbecue beans. Food is promptly served whether for dining in or taking out.

The two-meat meals come with a choice of two sides. The sweet and savory beans contained pieces of pulled meat. The cornbread is served with honey butter that had a cloying sweetness. I usually like honey butter, but after the first taste it was easy to ignore. The cornbread wasn't particularly noteworthy. Perhaps that's why it's served with the gooey butter.

The serving portions are substantial and we still took quite a bit of food home with us. Our Styrofoam containers each included a limp dill pickle.

Colorado Smokehouse also serves peach and blackberry cobblers ($4.45). Half ($15.45) and full pans ($26.95) are also available. Sandwiches are also on the menu featuring all of the above mentioned meats. All but the ribs are sold by the pound.

I'm sure when the smokers are in use that the aromas are enticing and Colorado Smokehouse projects a larger impression. I might have to return, just to make sure.

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