Enjoying Food and Beer at the Denver BBQ Festival

We spent the weekend in Denver where we went to the 2nd annual Denver BBQ Festival. With 11 different pit masters, live music, cooking demonstrations, beer and drinks, as well as games for the family, it was definitely a fun time. Entrance is free and you can purchase items that you want or you can purchase a VIP pass that allows you to eat and drink all that you want. We chose to get the VIP pass so that we could try as many different barbeque options as possible. There were pit masters from all over the country including Kansas City, St. Louis, New York, Nashville, Texas, and Colorado.

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Leg of Lamb with Peppers
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Food Being Prepped
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Cooking Demonstration
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Tender Ribs and Baked Beans
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Pulled Pork and a Loaded Potato Salad

If you are a fan of barbecued food, this event is certainly for you. With choices that include leg of lamb, ribs, chicken, brisket, pork belly, whole hog, pork chops, and lamb ribs, there are options for every type of food lover. It wasn’t just about the meat, though, as there were side dishes that include baked beans, potato salad, carrot and raisin salad, bloody Mary salad, and, of course, coleslaw. To be clear, although we tasted just about everything that there was, we certainly did not sit down and eat full portions from each of the food stations. Even with just tasting small samples from each of the pit masters, we still had more than enough food to make us full.

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Different Bands Throughout the Day
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Tender Beef Brisket
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Serving the Large Crowds
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Mini-Taco
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Chicken Wing and Coleslaw

We think that beer pairs really well with barbeque, but there were many options available to drink. From mixed drinks made with Jack Daniel’s whiskey and Tito’s vodka to make margaritas, as well as non-alcoholic drinks, no one was going thirsty. It was a hot day, so an ice-cold beer certainly hit the spot and we chose to have a Colorado Lager from Odell’s Brewery. The festival took place in the parking lot of Mile High Stadium and it was certainly a very popular event.

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Ice-Cold Beer
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Sausage and Brisket
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Getting the Food Out
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Looking Out Over the Festival
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Ribs with a Dry Rub and a Sauce

It is hard to choose a favorite with all of the different dishes that we tried, but there was a beef brisket from Pappy’s Smokehouse that was so tender that it fell apart. The leg of lamb from Sugar Fire Smokehouse was also wonderful. The pork belly from Joe’s KC BBQ was one of the first things that we tasted and also one of our favorites. And finally, the ribs from Peg Leg Porker BBQ were definitely worth eating again and again. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t enjoy everything that we tried, including those from Salt Lick BBQ, GQue BBQ, The Shed, Ubon’s BBQ, Memphis BBQ, and Jean-Paul Bougeois.

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Lamb Ribs and Carrots and Raisins
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People Lining Up
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Chicken and Bloody Mary Salad
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Salmon, Slaw, and Guacamole
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Pork Belly and Pork Rinds

We will definitely put this on our calendar for next year. There isn’t a better way to spend a summer afternoon than eating delicious barbeque, drinking a beer, listening to music, and getting grilling advice from the experts. The Denver BBQ Festival is certainly an event that is fun for the whole family.

Roasted Rack of Lamb

Lamb is something that you’ll find on a lot of menus throughout Europe, but for some reason it isn’t that common in the United States. When you do find it, it is often very expensive and the portions are small. Not everyone enjoys lamb since it can taste a little gamey, but we like the flavor. In our opinion, it needs to be cooked to no more than medium-rare, otherwise it can get a little tough. Rack of lamb can be an elegant meal and we asked the butcher to “French cut” the bones, which is simply removing the meat and fat from the bone tips. Some people like mint jelly with lamb, but we prefer to simply roast it with herbs like rosemary and thyme. This recipe is for two, but one of the nice things about rack of lamb is that the recipe can easily adjusted by adding more ribs (chops).

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Roasted Rack of Lamb

INGREDIENTS

  •  2 to 3 lbs of Rack of Lamb (about 4 to 5 ribs or chops)
  •  4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  •  1 1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary
  •  1 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  •  1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste
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Herb Butter Coated Rack of Lamb

INSTRUCTIONS

Trim some of the fat off of the rack of lamb, leaving about a quarter inch of fat. Combine room temperature butter with the rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Slather the fat cap of the lamb with the butter mixture. The butter just adds some additional fat to help keep the lamb tender and adds additional flavor. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Heat an oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with a non-stick coating spray. If you have French cut the lamb, wrap the bone tips with aluminum foil to keep them from burning in the oven. Place the lamb in the oven and roast it for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 300 degrees and continue to roast the lamb for an additional 20 to 30 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees. Let the lamb rest for 15 to 20 minutes and then cut the rack into individual chops and serve, usually two chops per person.

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Removing from the Oven
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Medium-Rare Lamb Chops

 

Spicy Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Hot

There are certain places that you travel to where the use of spices is quite abundant. Needless to say, with rare exceptions all food has some sort of spices in it, even if it is just salt and pepper. Some places, though, go way beyond a few common ingredients and use a wide variety of spices in them. We really enjoy eating foods that have a variety of spices and have a sense of being exotic. Clearly it isn’t for everyone and we also enjoy foods that are spicy in the sense of heat as well. Since we try to recreate dishes from places that we travel, here are a few of the spicy dishes that we have previously prepared, in no particular order.

  1. Asian Roasted Duck – Not as complicated as it sounds and truly delicious.

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    Asian Duck
  2. Spicy Chicken Curry – Definitional a traditional favorite.

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    Spicy Chicken Curry
  3. Indian Butter Chicken – Cooking it in a slow-cooker makes it tender and flavorful.

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    Indian Butter Chicken
  4. Tandoori Chicken – An exotic reminder of our trip to India.

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    Tandoori Chicken and Fried Eggplant
  5. Spaghetti Arrabbiata – One of our favorite meals from, of all places, Frankfurt.

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    Our Version of Spaghetti Arrabbiata
  6. Lamb Biryani – Well worth the effort and we decided to give it a little bit of heat.

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    Lamb Biryani over Basmati Rice
  7. Moroccan Chicken – Cooked in a tajine, it is a one pot meal that is perfect for two.

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    Moroccan Chicken in a Tajine