It’s Christmas Eve, people! Merry merry, if this holiday is something you observe. Many (most?) of my friends are secular Jews, so my mother’s insistence upon wishing everyone she sees a “Merry Christmas!” has been getting on my nerves. Between that and the bb gun that she is keeping next to our door as part of her interminable war on the woodpeckers in our neighborhood, things are getting positively Palinesque around here. I told her that and she quickly responded that Santa could always rescind my subscription to the New Yorker, so I better watch my smart-mouthed ass.
B and I are not spending the holidays together, which has been weirder than I imagined. I’ve gotten used having him around, narrating my every annoying thought to his patient ears. I’m beginning to realize just how patient he is, especially with regards to my many obsessions (Italian cinema, Mexican food, watching people lance giant boils on the internet, etc.). For Christmas, he sent me a handsome hardcover copy of Frederico Fellini’s Book of Dreams, a gorgeous reproduction of Fellini’s amazing dream journals published by Rizzoli in conjunction with Jeu de Paume’s Fellini retrospective last year. It was something I had declared I wanted more than anything in the world and then promptly forgotten about, so it was a grand surprise. My parents have been mighty patient with their temporary custody all of these strange fixations of mine, but my mom finally declared that she couldn’t eat any more Mexican food or watch one more episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Fair enough.
One thing that both of my folks will get on board with any day of the week is my infatuation with Denver’s best barbecue joint, Brother’s BBQ (locations around town, but the original location is at 568 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80203). Starting with one location in 1998, two brothers originally from England (!) have built a veritable barbecue empire in our fair city, one that while known for some yummy food, certainly doesn’t know much about barbecue. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “what the hell do two BRITISH guys living in DENVER know about one of America’s greatest culinary traditions?!” Well, Chris and Nick O’Sullivan did their homework–traveling around the US and apprenticing at famous BBQ restaurants in various parts of the South. The result was a pretty fantastic understanding of various regional specialties, all served under one roof in a town where you couldn’t get good barbecue fifteen years ago.
Now look, I know I’m no Jeffrey Steingarten (swoon!) when it comes to barbecue. I hope to remedy this next year, and B seems pretty gung-ho about indulging my grand fantasy of a barbecue road trip of the American South (I’ve got to plan these sorts of things to keep y’all entertained when I leave Paris). But in the meantime, I do think that Brother’s BBQ does a pretty fantastic job. I especially love their Memphis-style pulled pork shoulder sandwich (served with two sides for $9.25). They’ve got that spicy, vinegary sauce down pat, and their meat is always perfectly slow-cooked for 15 hours (says the young grasshopper). I haven’t yet tried their signature sandwich, The Brother: a thin layer of smoked hot links, topped with pulled pork, coleslaw, tangy vinegar bbq sauce, fresh jalapeños (hi Denver!) and fried onions. But how could that not be delicious? My mouth is watering as I type.
Even better is their Thursday night rib special, where you can order up to a dozen St. Louis style dry-rubbed pork spare ribs or hickory-smoked beef ribs (sweet sauce, of course) at half price. This means that a slab of 12 pork ribs goes from being $21.99 to $10.99, and a slab of 10 beef ribs jumps from $23.99 to $11.99. Pair that with some bargain microbrew beers (god I love Colorado) and you’ve got yourself an evening and a half. Their sides are top notch, especially their spicy, tangy barbecued beans (with pork, of course) and their mashed, skin-on red potatoes with gravy. Perhaps perversely (though necessarily in super health-conscious bobo Denver), they also cater to the vegetarian market with bbq tofu (I know, I know, but remember, they are better, more ethical people than you and I, dear reader), salads, and a fierce mac and cheese.
The decor reminds me of that show starring that neo-Nazi that cheated on Sandra Bullock when she was having a really nice day. Yanno, fancy-motorcycle and collector license plate kitsch? It’s not my bag, per se, but it also goes a long way in getting the manliest men in the door. If the smell of smoked meat wafting through the parking lot wasn’t enough. Please go here, should you find yourself in the Mile High City. I know the real know-it-alls might have something to say on this subject (And please say it! Why doesn’t anyone ever comment except my favorite reader Hattie?!). I’ll remedy my lack of down-home barbecue knowledge in the coming years, but in the meantime, I’ll be chowing down at Brother’s.
Happy Holidays, dearest reader! You are my very favorite present, even if I can’t shove you under a tree.