28 Jun Frisco, A Rocky Mountain Barbeque Challenge
Frisco is only about a two-hour drive from Denver, moving westward along I-70, deeper into the Rocky Mountains. Frisco became popular for mountain men trappers during 1810-1840’s. It evolved into a town with mining in 1870’s and by 1882, businesses, hotels, and saloons were booming. Today skiers dominate the winter and outdoor mountain sports take over in the summer. It’s easy to see when you are in a bike town because you’ll start spotting bike racks straddling on top and at the back end of vehicles. A large bicycle catalog, listing all local biking events and retail shops was waiting in our hotel room.
Alas, we weren’t there for the biking, I had to put that aside. Our assignment was to cover the annual Frisco Colorado Barbecue Challenge. This would be year #22, so something must be going right! Grand mountains, some topped with snow and a crystal clear blue sky promised a beautiful day for the vendors and visitors. About 80 stalls of food lined both sides of Frisco’s downtown main street.
Barbecue people really love what they do and they sure have a good time cooking away. Rockin’ music was blaring through speakers. Colorful flags and creatively decorated booths added to the festivities.The BBQ chefs are quite the characters and are so PROUD of their food. If you can catch the attention of a chef, between serving long lines of customers, they could go on and on about their cooking methods, what makes a delicious BBQ sauce and a great smoker.
Many of the smokers (barbecue grills) are hand-made by their owners. The chefs are so insanely precise about grilling the perfect barbecue, which is why a lot of them will travel many miles for a good cook-off challenge. Ron and I had samples of pork, chicken and brisket, along with barbecue beans, all drenched in various home made secret sauces.
A cool refreshing change of food was at the Higgles Ice Cream booth. Anna, a true artisan ice cream maker, is a lovely lady with teeth as white as her coconut ice cream. You always know when someone is passionate about their product because they are so happy sharing about their own personal story. Anna learned her craft at the Penn State Dairy Sciences. Her ingredients are locally sourced from the Colorado area. No preservatives are used. An average ice cream may contain 12-14% butterfat but Higgles has 16% which holds the flavor better. Even their sprinkles are unique in that organic flavoring gives them vibrant colors.
The line to her booth got long really fast but not before she scooped up Breck Brickle for me and Cheery Sorbet for Ron. She proudly held up the ice cream cones and graciously gave us a moment for Ron to shoot this cute photo . One of her mottoes is: “Taking you slightly out of your comfort zone and into a little adventurous place”. So appropriate!
I believe there are two ways to feel very “American”:
1.Live for awhile, in a foreign country. You will experience the contrast.
2.Attend a fun barbecue festival in a small American town!