When you think of the state of Colorado, what immediately comes to your mind? The fantastic and varied scenery? The resort towns of Vail and Aspen? Unlimited outdoor recreation? John Denver? Texas-style barbecue? The Denver Broncos? Wait... down home, finger-lickin' good, Texas-style barbecue in Colorado? In Durango? Yep, partner, you don't have to drive to the barbecue belt in central Texas to savor the sight, taste and smell of authentic Texas-style barbecue. All you have to do is to saddle up your favorite hoss and head over to Serious Texas Bar-B-Q, located at 3535 Main Ave. in Durango, Colorado. Yes, you're in Colorado, but your taste buds are in Texas...
Photo: Serious Texas Bar-B-Q, located at 3535 Main Ave. in Durango, Colorado, lives up to it's name.
Photo: Here's the rustic entrance to the best barbecue that I've sampled, west of Texas. The smokehouse is located immediately to the right of the entrance.
Serious Texas Bar-B-Q is owned by three gentlemen, who are transplants from the Texas barbecue country west of San Antonio, and these guys know how to cook barbecue, Texas-style, a true rarity in restaurants located outside of Texas. They have been making barbecue for many years, so they truly know how to make barbecue, in the down-home, Texas way.
You walk in the door and you immediately face the counter, with the menu posted about the counter, and friendly, smiling employees behind the counter. Here's a tip about choosing a barbecue joint: When you walk in and are greeted by a greeter, waitress or water, do a "180" and get out of dodge, as the restaurant doesn't serve real barbecue. No barbecue joint worth it's smoke employs greeters. Instead of greeters, they employ a usually unseen pitmaster, who builds the fire, keeps it going, smokes thee meat and makes the whole operation worthwhile. Serious Texas keeps drinks in large, galvanized tubs near the counter; one tub is filled with mainstream bottled beer, and the other is filled with bottled beer rarely found outside of Texas. That is another nice touch found in barbecue joints in Texas. Beware of any barbecue joint that doesn't have drinks in a cooler, or in a big ol' ice-filled tub. Another Texas touch is a rack where corn chips, potato chips, corn nuts and other "salty" things are displayed, standing upright near the counter. You simply grab a bag of what you desire, take it up to the counter, and it's charged with your order. Naturally, there's a soda fountain, and you pay at the counter for your cup, and you can help yourself to an unlimited amount of soda.
Photo: So as to leave no doubt in your mind, Serious Texas Bar-B-Q stacks their mesquite outside, to show all of the patrons that they do smoke their meat over mesquite
Photo: The menu is "serious" Texas too!
Photo: Sharlene orders our meal from the counter. Note the galvanized tub of beer, iced-down, to the right of the photo, an authentic touch of Texas. Just like in Texas, barbecued meat is also sold by the pound, and wrapped in butcher paper. Note the scales... a touch of Texas in Colorado.
Serious's menu features all of the items that you'd expect from a Texas bbq joint, including brisket (yeah baby!,) smoked sausage, turkey legs, pork, and everything else. Naturally, you can order beans, potato salad, cole slaw, corn bread, green beans and corn for side dishes. The drink menu consists of soft drinks and beer, what else do you need to drink when you're eating real Texas-style barbecue?
Sharlene and I both chose pulled pork, served on a giant hamburger bun, and since I was really hungry, I chose a "Texas Taco" on the side. Yes, I know that pulled-pork is native to Carolina-style barbecue, but it sounded good to us, and we were reassured that, unlike Carolina pulled-pork, which is smoked over hickory, Serious Texas's pork is smoked over real mesquite logs. We knew that was a true statement, as they have a rack with mesquite logs stacked outside the smokehouse. The sandwiches are topped with red, Texas-style barbecue sauce, but the sauce is also served on the side for dipping, a la Texas-style. Sharlene chose a soft drink from the soda fountain, and I chose a bottle of Shiner Bok beer, a brand rarely found outside of Texas. On the subject of the soda fountain, you pay for your cup, and all the soda you can drink if free.
Photo: The friendly counter staff with the menu proudly displayed above the counter, in true Texas style.
Photo: A peek into their dining room, as viewed from the outside patio, which allows for wonderful dining under the Durango skies.
In Texas-style, you order your meal from the counter, and then pull your beer from the tub, or if you're eating potato chips, grab a bag from the rack, and wait for your meal. When your meal arrives and you've figured out all of the extras that you want, then it's payback time. In our case, from the time of our ordering until when our meal was ready, the time was less than 5 minutes. Naturally, your food is placed on a plastic tray, you seat yourself, pick your table of preference, and carry your tray to the table. That's the way it is done in barbecue joints located in the great state of Texas, and that's the way it's done at Serious Texas Bar-B-Q in Durango.
Since it was a pleasant, warm evening, we chose to eat at a picnic-style table outside, under a roof, but open to the setting sun and the evening breeze, as we like the outdoors. However if you chose to dine inside, they have tables in their dining room. The decor of the dining room is pure Texas, graffiti, consisting of mascots and flags from various Texas colleges, neon signs, frames photos of Texas, and a lot more. Also the self-serve soda fountain is located in the dining room, and they have a small souvenir area where they sell t-shirts, photos and bottles of their made-in-house barbecue sauce. Not to mention the mounted mule deer head, wearing the red bandanna and the "generation-x" sunglasses. Ambience? Real Texas country music, played at just the right sound level, so you could hear the music, yet carry on a pleasant conversation. I noted they played selections from classic Texas artists such as Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, and Waylon Jennings, plus many newer country acts, such as Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and Shania Twain.
Photo: I sneak around the corner, and snap a "behind the scene" look at the staff in the kitchen. We arrived in early evening, so the restaurant was very busy.
Photo: After you pick up your food from the counter, you can hit the dining room, which is informal, to say the least. If you've ordered a soda, it's an all-you-can-drink soda, and your refills are on the house, in the friendly dining room.
The food, in case you're interested? Let's just say that this is the best Texas-style barbecue that I have experienced outside the state of Texas. Yes, it's good, very, very, very good. Biting into one of their pulled-pork sandwiches is like biting into a slice of heaven. Of course the meat is smoked, and you can taste the mesquite smoke, but it's not bitter nor overpowering, but subtitle and, well, just right. Naturally, the meat is juicy and tender, and it just melts in your mouth. The red, Texas-style barbecue sauce is tangy but sweet, and really compliments the delicious smoky taste of the pulled pork.
What is a Texas Taco? Well, it's a huge flour tortilla, grilled, yes there are grill marks, and the ingredients consist of diced potato's, diced peppers, corn and sliced onions. It's a pure, vegetarian meal in itself. Although not a vegetarian, I lean toward vegetarian dishes in order to keep my weight in check. So between the pulled pork sandwich and the Texas Taco, I was stuffed beyond stuffed. However, it was a good "stuff," as I went away fat, dumb, happy and totally satisfied, Texas-style.
Photo: I ordered a pulled-pork sandwich, with a Texas Taco on the side. Such a gigantic meal, but since I was on vacation, it was time to spurge. Delicious!
Photo: Kitchen staff at Serious Texas, work to prepare orders, as customers are outside and to the right of the photo.
Sharlene and I both agreed that this is the best barbecue that we've had outside of Texas. Many restaurants make the claim of serving "Texas-style" barbecue, but few deliver the promise. Serious Texas Bar-B-Q not only proudly makes the claim of serving authentic Texas barbecue, but they deliver it, up close and personal, Texas-style, in the western Colorado town of Durango. Honesty, when eat their food, you'd think that you'd died and gone to Texas.
Photo: The decor is pure Texas, featuring neon signs, ceiling fans, photos, flags, a corrugated steel wall; all of which would make a transplanted Texan homesick.
Photo: The mounted deer with "generation-x" sunglasses and Texas bandana, placed next to a mounted rack of antlers from a deceased mule deer. How many mounted heads to you find dressed up like this outside of Texas?
When you're visiting Durango, Colorado, and you long for the taste Texas, a stop at Serious Texas Bar-B-Q should be on your things-to-do-list. Trust me, you won't regret it.
Serious Texas Bar-B-Q
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