Food & Drink

The Best BBQ in Denver for Takeout & Delivery

The ultimate comfort food.

hank's
Courtesy of Hank's

“There’s no good BBQ here” is a phrase that used to be pretty common in the Mile High. Despite our history filled with cowboys cooking over fires, somehow Denver had never really embraced this particular art. Then people started moving here in large numbers, including from BBQ meccas like Austin. Combine that with the restaurant renaissance the city has seen in the last devacade and, boom. Suddenly there are a lot of really great places to get a smoked meat fix. For proof, just bring your appetite to any of these delicious BBQ joints, all of which are open now for takeout and delivery so you don’t have to add “slow-smoking meats” to your list of new quarantine skills.

owlbear
Courtesy of Owlbear

Owlbear

Rino
Back in 2015, Karl Fallenius (who spent time working under Aaron Franklin at Austin’s famed Franklin’s) started serving barbecue out of a food truck at Finn’s Manor and quickly gained a cult following. In 2017, that outpost closed and news of a permanent spot nearby on Larimer circulated among his smoked meat-seeking followers. In 2019, more than two years later, Owlbear finally really, truly made its comeback and brought its best-brisket-in-town back to the masses. Meats are smoked for hours in two converted propane tanks then sold by the ½ lb or in sandwich form. Owner Karl Fallenius briefly closed down this popular spot during the stay-at-home order but is now once again open Friday-Sunday with more days to be added to the schedule soon.
Order online for pickup

AJ's Pit Bar-B-Q
Courtesy of AJ's Pit Bar-B-Q

AJ’s Pit Bar-B-Q

Overland
From square cut, thin tavern-style Chicago pies served at Grabowski’s to Budlong’s Nashville hot chicken, restaurateur Jared Leonard has brought a lot of flavor to the Mile High. At his BBQ joint across from the Evans light rail station, meats are smoked central-Texas style over whole logs of Texas post oak. Brisket is the star, but don’t sleep on the jalapeno cheddar sausage and the pastrami when it’s available.
Order online for curbside pickup or get delivery via DoorDash

Hank’s Texas Barbecue

Hale
Chris Nicki had big culinary shoes to fill when he opened up Hank’s (named after his dachshund) in the space Solera occupied on Colfax for 16 years. But over a year later, the neighborhood has embraced Hank’s thanks to its Texas-style barbecue. The brisket is the go-to for a proper Hank’s introduction, but the regular menu also featured smoked meats loaded onto tacos and some creative sandwich options like The Squealer with a River Bear Meats hot link, house made pimento cheese, slaw, and chicharrones. The menu is currently limited, so contact them for the day’s offerings.
Call 720-277-3225 to order for pickup

Smōk BBQ
Courtesy of Smōk

Smōk

RiNo
Located inside The Source Hotel, Smōk sits within sight of Acorn where Chef Bill Espiricueta worked for six year before opening his BBQ joint in 2018. Espiricueta is from Texas and learned about the art of barbecue in Kansas City, so it’s not surprising that his offerings span regional influences. Along with all the meats by the pound (including a less common one -- salmon), you can also find tacos, nachos, and salads loaded with smoky goodness. Toss in an order of smoked jalapeno poppers and just try to not crave this spot on the daily.
Order online for curbside pickup or get delivery via DoorDash

Warm sausage and BBQ sauce-drizzled brisket
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist

Globe Hall

Globeville
This spot’s best known as one of Denver’s beloved small music venues. The state may be empty for now, but they’ve got their smokers running. Specials change weekly, so look out for favorites like pulled pork and smoked chicken paired with delectable sides (if they’ve got their three-cheese mac & cheese, order at least two). You can also score boozy add-ons like batched old fashioned and six packs of PBR.
Order online for pickup on Fridays and Saturdays

BBQ meat with corn bread muffin
Molly Martin/Thrillist

Roaming Buffalo BBQ

Rosedale & Golden
If you think there's no such thing as Colorado-style BBQ, you haven't been to Roaming Buffalo. Texas-raised Coy Webb along with his Colorado native wife Rachael are defining the state’s regional mark on the cuisine daily. The menu is filled with Southwestern flair, from house-made green chile potato chips and cilantro lime slaw to Colorado lamb shank and bison short ribs. Their original location near DU and a new spot in Golden are both open for pickup. Pro tip: On Saturdays and Sundays you can get their “sammie” made with a mix of beef and pork smothered in BBQ sauce and served on a hamburger bun for just $3.
Call to order pickup: 303-722-2226 for Denver and 303-794-9696 for Golden

Jabo's Bar-Be-Q

Greenwood Village
This spot is located in a South Denver strip mall, so it's easy to overlook, but then you'd be missing out on owner Dwight "Jabo" Lawson’s hickory-smoked offerings and 20+ sauce varieties. We know, purists think sauce belongs on the side (or not on the table at all), but Jabo’s sauces are a treat on their own. They run the gamut, from choices like smoky mango and pecan to mustard-based, all of which can be mixed if you're feeling adventurous and come in mild, medium, and hot varieties depending on your spice preference. Choose wisely then throw your sauce on the super-sized pulled pork sandwich -- and absolutely opt for Carolina-style which comes complete with slaw on top. And don’t miss out on the magic that is Jabo's Utah Sconut, a donut-like treat smothered in honey butter. 
Call 303-799-4432 to order takeout

Brisket burger packed with cole slaw
Molly Martin/Thrillist

Sugarfire Smokehouse

Westminster
This St. Louis-born spot decided to head west and open its first location in Colorado. They've got all the standards -- brisket, pulled pork, ribs, jalapeno cheddar sausage, and even smoked turkey, but what you're really here for are the ever-changing specials. One day you might find a burger patty piled on top of potatoes, topped with bacon, a fried egg, pepper jack cheese, and smothered in chorizo chile (they called this one the Tadder Tot). And the next, bacon-wrapped pork belly sliders on a soft bun with tomato jam and grilled onions (aka the Baconology). Sides get the same treatment, ranging from gumbo and salmon hash cakes to beer cheese soup and horseradish cauliflower. They’ve also got new family packs and bulk sides to-go.
Order online for pickup

Shredded BBQ meat drizzled with BBQ sauce
Ruth Tobias/Thrillist

Ragin' Hog

Five Points
This place serves up Southern-style BBQ and expertly smoked meat from co-owner and pit master Colleen Vantuyl. She hails from Alabama, and you can taste the South in every bite of items like the smoked pork, hot links, and collard greens. The meat's flavor stands up on its own and is served dry, but Ragin' Hog also offers five different sauces that cover the flavor spectrum of traditional BBQ regions. So whether you like it sweet, spicy, or somewhere in between, you'll be happy.
Order online for pickup

GQue BBQ

Westminster & Park Meadows
Originally from Missouri, owner Jason Ganahl knows his BBQ. And before opening this joint, he took to the competitive barbecue circuit where the GQue team dominated many national and regional events. Now, you can get a taste of his slow-smoked eats anytime. The menu has all the classic meaty choices you could want all available by the pound, ¼ pound, or sandwich style. It's best to try a sample of them all so you can find your favorites, but don't skip the smoked wings with GQue's signature dry rub with a side of pit-smoked beans.
Order online for pickup or get delivery via DoorDash

Wayne’s Smoke Shack

Superior
Hop in the car early for this one. Wayne's opens at 11am, and it's not unusual for them to sell out and close up early. Why? Their authentic Texas-style BBQ is made with care, and local ingredients including meat from area ranchers. This place is gimmick free. It's all about that smoky flavor taking the lead. And it will lead you straight to a serious case of meat sweats as you gorge on brisket, pork ribs, beef sausage, and more. Smoked catfish and salmon also make appearances along with scratch-made sides like creamy mac and cheese, and slow-cooked green beans. Just remember to save room for a scoop of peach cobbler for dessert.
Order in person for a lunch fix, or email wayne@waynessmokeshack.com to place an order over $100

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Molly Martin is a freelance writer in Denver, Colorado who craves burnt ends on the regular. See what else she's eating around town @mollydbu on Twitter and Instagram.