Colorado Tour de Barbecue – Kirby Cosmo’s Ribs – Best in CO

The Sunday Vail Farmers’ Market is a garden of earthly delights.  Next trip I’ll plan on staying for two Sundays because you can’t eat everything you need to eat.  After eating pork and brisket sandwiches and ribs at Wildwood, and after a lobster roll for dessert, I almost didn’t stop at Kirby Cosmos’ stand.   But I stopped to look at it and the siren song of someone saying, “Roll Tide” pulled me in.

kirby stand

The proprietor (I don’t know if it was Cosmo himself) graduated from Alabama in 1991.  He was on the swim team and still looks like a swimmer, but then most people in Colorado look like swimmers compared to the rest of us who look more … well-rounded.   There was another guy in line from Robertsdale, Alabama, and he apparently had been in Colorado for a while.

Full as I was, I tried some pork and ribs.

The ribs were the best on Colorado.  He could sell those ribs in Alabama.  Maybe not Tuscaloosa, but in Alabama.

A good part of the reason is that they were cooked, or at least finished, over direct heat from a real wood fire rather than in a box or an offset grill.  On my 10:00 am scouting trip I had seen a  pile of freshly-burning logs in a big old grill.  I thought they probably would be grilling – cooking hamburgers and the like — since it was far too late to start cooking over an open pit for lunch.  I should have asked rather than made assumptions.  (Good life lesson – always to talk to someone who’s firing up a grill.)

kirby grill

Apparently, however, they had been cooking the meat for many hours off-site and then finished it on the grill.  The direct heat worked wonders on the ribs, giving them a great char.  They were flavorful and moist with good texture.  The pork also was quite good.

Kirby Cosmo has a place in Minturn, just down the road from Vail.

kirby bar

You should stop by there.  There’s an outdoor seating area for summer days and the prices are definitely not Vail prices.

Update:  I stopped by the Cosmo’s stand the next year.  The ribs weren’t very good: tough.  I plan to go back this year and see what’s up — maybe go to his place in Minturn.


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