Help this award-winning restaurant add some color to their menu.
I recently attended a press event tasting at a new award-winning BBQ restaurant just north of Denver, Colorado.
GQue Championship BBQ is owned and operated by Jason Ganahl, who fuels the fire of every great recipe and idea at this unique fast-casual brick and mortar. Before we sat down to eat, Ganahl declared to the table of journalists that we were about to experience the very best barbeque we’ll ever eat. Tall order, considering many of us have been food editors and writers for years. I noted a few raised eyebrows from the crowd around me, but kept my mind—and stomach—open.
But Ganahl is used to the pressure. His many years manning the smoker, grill and BBQ at the country’s most competitive BBQ contests have given him reason to boast. Along with team members of GQue BBQ, Jason was awarded the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association’s Team of the Year Award, as well as winning Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion and 3rd overall in 69 percent of the contests he has entered over his lifetime. Coming from his native state of Missouri and traveling and living in the south, Ganahl, who is now a Colorado resident, has a goal of putting Denver, Colorado on the BBQ map. I’d say he’s already doing that.
Hold the sauce
Ganahl took great care to explain his technique for coaxing out the best in every dish he sent to our table, starting with his smoked chicken wings and ending with his personal favorite brisket burnt ends. In addition to the meat (we tried them all: pork, brisket, ribs, turkey, wings and jalapeno cheddar sausage), we also sampled some of the delicious side dishes served up at GQue. The homemade kettle chips, mac & cheese, garlic mashed potatoes and apple slaw were all made fresh and deliciously fantastic, but my personal favorite was the pit smoked beans which are prepared in a huge vat directly below the smoking ribs, soaking up delicious BBQ flavor as they cook. Hands down, they are the best baked beans I’ve ever tasted.
I was also impressed that Ganahl encouraged all of us to taste the barbequed meats sans sauce. “Good barbeque doesn’t need sauce,” he said. Though there were three bottles of homemade barbeque sauce at our table, I followed Ganahl’s directions and dug in without adding a drop. I must say, this championship BBQer knows what he’s talking about. The meats were juicy, tender and so flavorful, even without the sauce. A standout for me was the pulled pork—it was peppery and smoky and exuded flavor from within.
Keep it fresh
Ganahl has a policy—it’s stated right on the front door—that the food at GQue is available daily from 11 a.m. until it’s gone. Smoked and barbequed fresh daily, the food at GQue is real, fresh and slowly cooked. If you have your heart set on trying something, Ganahl suggests you shouldn't wait until 8 p.m. to show up at his restaurant—because it might be (and often is) gone by then. Ganahl, who doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing his love and techniques for award-winning barbeque offers in-restaurant classes, one-on-one training and even shares tips via his GQue BBQ youtube channel.
Let's put some more veggies on the GQue plate
While this certainly isn’t a spot you’d take your vegan or vegetarian friends, Ganahl said he’s a huge lover of vegetables. In fact, while we were enjoying samples of pork ribs and tenderloin brisket, Ganahl asked me if the Delicious Living readers could brainstorm some ideas to help him round out the food groups at GQue BBQ. Is there a certain vegetable or vegetable recipe, he asked, that we would like to see on his menu? I told him I'd ask you.
So here’s your chance to add some color to the barbeque spread:
Which vegetable should Ganahl consider adding to his menu this summer?
I have a feeling he would really knock it out of the park with some slow-cooked collard greens, sauteed garlicky spinach or seasoned roasted broccoli. Leave your ideas for veggie side dishes in the comments and I’ll be sure they make their way to Ganahl.
In return for your suggestion, you’ll be entered in a contest to win a bottle of Ganahl’s award-winning rub that goes on every meat he serves. But hurry: the winner will be chosen July 1. Photos: Adam Larkey Photography