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.

Leg of Lamb with Peppers
Food Being Prepped
Cooking Demonstration
Tender Ribs and Baked Beans
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.

Different Bands Throughout the Day
Tender Beef Brisket
Serving the Large Crowds
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.

Ice-Cold Beer
Sausage and Brisket
Getting the Food Out
Looking Out Over the Festival
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.

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

Homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage

Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, we cook corned beef and cabbage. Usually, we will just buy corned beef from the local grocery store and slow cook it with potatoes and cabbage, but a couple of times we have made our own corned beef. The name corned beef comes from the large rock salt, also called corns of salt, that are used to brine the beef. It takes about 10 days to brine the beef brisket and give it that distinctive flavor, but otherwise it is pretty simple to do. Not only is it a great dinner, but using the leftover corned beef to make Rueben sandwiches afterwards is almost even better than the original meal.

Brining Liquid


  • 3 to 4 lb Beef Brisket
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 6 tbsp Pickling Spice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Black Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Dried Marjoram
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 8 cups Cold Water for the brine
  • 1/2 lb Potatoes (fingerling if possible)
  • 1/2 head of Green Cabbage
Slow Cook the Brisket, Potatoes, and Cabbage


In a large pot, combine the salt, sugar, 4 1/2 tablespoons pickling spice, peppercorns, marjoram, 2 bay leaves, and water. Heat on medium-high heat until the salt and sugar completely dissolves. Remove from the heat and let completely cool to room temperature. In a large brining bag or casserole dish, submerge the beef brisket and refrigerate for 8 to 10 days. We flipped the brisket daily in order to ensure that it brined evenly. When ready to cook, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse completely with cold water. Place the corned beef, fat side up, in a large Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the remaining pickling spices, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a simmer over medium heat on the stove and reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 3 hours. Add the potatoes and simmer for another 30 minutes. Add the cabbage and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.

Brine for 10 days
Finished Meal