Super Good BBQ Joints along I-80 from MI. to CO.?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by fpmich, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Wife and I are headed out to CO. via I-80 for vacation and a visit.

    Any suggestion on where to get best BBQ dinner at?  Anywhere from CO along I-80.

    Weird thread.... I know, I know.   But my smoker can't travel that far. with us.   Not to mention it makes the trip five times as long, waiting for warm up, cooking & cool down times. LOL  Maybe only 100 mile a day?  HA!

    Just need some good suggestions, if you have any.

    Directions, if off I-80, is appreciated!

    Side note....    Any members live near Ft. Collin's, CO?  We could meet somewhere and say hi maybe, if we have time.

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  2. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  4. solidbob

    solidbob Fire Starter

    I don't really have any suggestions for good bbq on the way but I lived in Fort Collins for six years (now NYC) and highly recommend visiting Moe's BBQ in downtown FTC. Ted the owner is a buddy of mine and Moe's is a great, small, friendly bbq joint that sometimes has live country music in their awesome backyard.
  5. Not sure of places on the way, but Big Hoss BBQ in Denver is the best I've had in CO next to Moe's.  So if you have time to head on down to Denver Their website is  I live half way between Denver and Colorado Springs. Would be nice to hook up but my schedule for work has me working just about everyday.  Have a safe drive.
  6. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic


    I will have to check with my wife on that app.  She is the only one who is smart enough to use a smart phone in this house. 

    My phone only makes... guess what?  PHONE CALLS!    It doesn't have a rotary dial though, darn it! 

    But it IS black!

    I will be making notes of the places you all are suggesting. 

    On note paper, of course, and with a #2 pencil.  Remember those?  They still work!    [​IMG]

    Wow, Solidbob.  

    Moving from CO to NYC must have been quite a stressful lifestyle change!

    I can't think of a single job, or amount of money to get me to move to NYC.  Been there. 

    Thankfully just in and out several times when I was still driving truck.

    I will be sure to hit Moe's BBQ.  I assume that is "Moe's Original Bar-B-Que" on College St?   I see one of the owners is named Ted.

    I will PM you for your name, so I can tell him who sent us there, and tell him hi for you.


    we will be going through Denver as we make side trips, to visit  various places (Mesa Verde and such).  Will keep Big Hoss BBQ in mind. but if it is "next best" to Moe's...well?  LOL  Just kidding.


    No offense, but I have a thing about avoiding and food eatery's that contain names like Roadhouse, Shack, Longhorn, Texas (among others).  They always seem to depend on what the name conjures up in your mind, to draw people in, rather than the quality of food and service.

    Many years ago these names meant something good.  That is why they have been copied so much by chains and other businesses. Simply as a draw card.  Give me a 8-12 table place named "Fred's good food & Que", and I'll always stop to try it, and am seldom disappointed.  The smaller places depend on local repeat traffic, so pay much more attention to quality of food, rather than a name.


    Thank for all the replies so far. 

    I really appreciate them!
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  7. purgatory

    purgatory Newbie

    Jethros in Altoona Iowa. Fast service, good food. Five locations in the Des Moines area. They have a sandwich called the Adam Emmenecker, thing is huge!
  8. purgatory

    purgatory Newbie

    I just thought of another one in Des Moines. Smokey D's BBQ. 2nd Ave exit off of I80, just north of Big Barn Harley Davidson. They have won many awards. Both of the places I have mentioned are right off of I80, very easy access to both.
  9. Purgatory, you are a week late with that advice. My daughter and I were in Ankeny last weekend for a soccer tournament. We drove by Smokey D's 6 or 8 times, and joked about stopping. I'm a little wary of trying a BBQ joint w/o knowing anything about it. I may have missed out.
  10. solidbob

    solidbob Fire Starter

    That is the right Moe's. It's a small chain, I think just one in Denver and one in Alabama. But Ted is the local owner. If you're not familiar with Fort Collins that area is known as Old Town and there's lots of great restaurants/bars and shops to walk around and check out. This is a great time of year to be in Colorado!
  11. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks everyone for great tips.  I really appreciate the tips! 

    Sure beats just guessing, while driving around hoping to find a good one, or depending on Yelp for reviews.  People on this forum are great!

    I've picked two "for sure" stops, and one "maybe".

    The "1ST for sure one" is Moe's BBQ in old town because we'll be there anyway for a couple of days. 

    The "2ND for sure one" is Smokey D's BBQ in Des Moines.  Either on the way to, or coming from CO.  We'll eat there.

    Big Hoss in Denver is on the maybe list, but I bet there's a pretty good chance of us hitting it going or coming.

    If I can get 2-3 "Que meals" in two weeks, I'm good.  <grin>  

    Sure wish I had of known about this forum when I was still driving truck.

    Thanks again for your help.

    I will post on how we liked it or not.  But I betting on "liked it".  I know you guys wouldn't steer us wrong!

    Stay tuned around the 18th to 20th of Sept for our reviews.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  12. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fpmich , Hello.

    Unless it has changed , No . I drove Coast - to - Coast for several years (about 30yrs.  ago ) and no good BBQ anywhere , best bet  is hit a truck stop that advertises it and see how many customers they have parked , then give it a try [​IMG]!

    Grab a small Weber and P/U Steaks and Chops and Burgers , not like a Butt or Brisky , but good!!! [​IMG]  I did many a cook in Rest stops , sometimes we were approached by a Meat hauler and given some good Steaks if we would do one for him  [​IMG]. How they got the meat [​IMG]  and don't care , always good T-bone or Sirloin [​IMG].

    Have fun an you wanderings , maybe things have changed ,but still look for the amount of business they have... [​IMG].

    Travel safe and . . .
  13. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I hear ya,  old schoolbbq, and I know what you mean.

    There had to be some, but not accessible when driving a rig.  That used to frustrate me so much.  Always same old crappy truck stop food.  I carried a Coleman plug in cooler and carries as many home cook dinners as I could.  But of course, I still had to eat at Flying J or TA and etc.  LOL

    My other passion for eating is seafood.  But do you think I could move a sleeper rig w/53' trailer into a small coastal restaurant in Boston?

    Heck, in Boston I could hardly maneuver the rig into the places I was delivering or picking up.  LOL       So close, yet so far.

    There was place in Ohio at Beaver-dam (I-75 & US-30).  They used to set up a trailer smoker on the side of the road near the truck stops there.

    I had some ribs there twice, and it was pretty durned good!  Seemed they only set up on Wed., and of course, I was always pretty much through any day "BUT Wed".  LOL

    And as to vehicle's in the lot?  I never eat at anyplace that has a lot of parking between 5 and 7 PM.   There's a reason for that.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  14. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Well, we stayed longer than planned.  Just couldn't leave.  Such a beautiful area!

    We went to see CO. but surprisingly, we spent most of our time in UT.  Visited the Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings,  Visited the Arches National Park.

    AND THEN spent visiting the several areas of the Canyon Lands.  My favorite of all.  So Awesome!  A mini Grand Canyon, with lots of red rock with white interspersed, and even some black rock cliffs. 

    We say a TON of ancient Petroglyphs!  

    Gave us chills to be seeing and trying to interpret, what ancient man chipped into stone faces thousand years ago.  That is why we spent an extra week.  We just couldn't tear our selves away.

    We did enjoy CO, and drove the Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park.  Sweating when leaving Ft. Collins, CO, and had snow pellets at the top of drive.  90* to 35* in just an hour or so.  Wow!  And those narrow road switchbacks close to cliffs!  No guard rails.  YIKES! 

    6" from road to empty air!


    Now on to reviews of two BBQ joints.

    Moe's was a very big disappointment.  Extremely so! 

    Sorry Rob.  I'm guessing it has gone downhill since you lived there.

    We were there a couple of hours before closing.  They were out of Ribs & Briskets, and didn't have burnt ends.  We ordered 1/2 BBQ chicken each, and then was told by the cook, that they only had 1 & 1/2 of chicken left too.  That doesn't leave much BBQ at a BBQ joint does it?  LOL But there were 3 small ribs left that he would put on plate to make up.  We were hungry so accepted the reduced offerings.

    Chicken was not cooked through.  Standing blood near joints.  Not just pink.  Standing blood.  Could not pull joint apart. 

    Had to cut, and even then, tough.  Even though it was underdone, the meat was still dry. (we tried some of the outer, non-bloody edges).

    Chicken was very pale in and out, skin included, and had very little smoke flavor.  You had to hunt for it.  Very bad overall.

    Wife had some  pulled pork as well, and it was so dry neither of could swallow it.

    The 3 ribs?  Smoke ring on only one side.  Huh?  No flavor, other than what you would expect from bare naked roast pork. 

    Corn bread very under cooked.  Tasty, but mushy doughy inside.  My side of Black Eyed Peas, amounted to about 1 ounce from a can.

    We took both our unfinished meals up to counter to show them why we couldn't eat them.  First the green spiked haired girl at counter, argued that it was fine, then the cook came out and he argued the same thing.  Neither one apologized or offered our money back, or even a discount.

    We left, and went to another restaurant to eat, which wasn't BBQ.  LOL

    Oh yes,  Another thing... there were only about 4 other customers in the place oldschoolbbq.   HA!

    Not faulting you for recommending Moe's Rob.   It just isn't the same, as when you lived out there I guess.   I know that has to make you sad.

    They seemed to have franchised, as they are everywhere out there now, and the quality, and attention to service, has gone way down. I am often sad to see one of my favorite spots go downhill or close.

    Now that we are back in Michigan, Ted, the owner, did email us 3 days after my wife posted a comment on our experience, on their web page, and offered our money back, or a coupon for another dinner.  However, her post has never appeared on their website reviews.

    Smokey D's by far, is the best BBQ I've ever had!

    Now this is one fine BBQ place!  If you ever get the chance, stop in.  You won't be disappointed!

    We stopped on our way out and ate.  Awesome stuff! 

    Brisket just a tad dry, but not bad.  Flavor and smoke ring great. Ring on all sides which tells me the do their flats separate from the points they use for burnt ends.  That would also explain the little dryness.  But they had GREAT flavor, and was tender!   Ribs were awesome!  (Again, ring on all sides, just like at home).  A little bit heavy on rub, but not too much.

    Burnt ends were out of this world!  My wife's favorite there!  Only had chicken wings, so couldn't compare to Moe's on that.

    Ribs were perfect!  We stopped there on the way out and 3 weeks later, on our way back home. 

    Quality stayed the same, and service was excellent!

    I'm not one to demand a completion bite, but these had it both times!  Flavor was great too!  They could stand to add a little more kick to their  hottest sauce though.  (Didn't even sweat up my bald head.)  <grin>

    Their sides were made on site,  better than homemade, and not small portioned either.

    If they opened near me, I would sell my smoker!

      Yeah, that good!

    Completion Trophy's and plaques all over the place at D's.

    I bet they win more money in completion per year than Mose's does at the restaurant in a year.  LOL

    The consistently in foods, 2 weeks apart visits, impressed me.   Exactly the same quality!

    As a side note, we also hit Smokey D's about an hour or so before closing on our way back home.  They were out of nothing, and everything was great.

    A truly, well run restaurant with an owner who is hands on checking on things.  We actually saw the owner when he took his Manger (I presume) into his office to talk.  Recognized him from the website pic, 

    Yes, he is that big.  LOL


    We never made to the one in Denver.  It was always either very early in morning or very late at night when we were though there.

    Thanks again for your help.  We appreciate it very much.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014

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