Guest Post: Darryl Morin on Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Brew, Estes Park, Colorado

I’m tickled to have a guest post from Darryl Morin, one of the finest people I know.  He’s smart, unfailingly pleasant, and without a mean or selfish bone in his body.  I met him at a LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) convention in Chicago (I think) about 10 or 12 years ago, and we’ve kept in touch since.  Darryl grew up in hardscrabble South Texas — Cotulla, I think — and has gone on to become President and CEO of an international company doing things with wireless technology that are way beyond me.  He gives generously of his time, even while running  a major business and spending lots of quality time with his wife and their two rapidly growing sons.  Apparently, he doesn’t sleep.

Darryl invited me out to Milwaukee to speak a while back and to help out with a fair redistricting plan for Milwaukee that would provide representation for Latinos, who are heavily concentrated in the south side of the city.  (Milwaukee, by the way, is the most heavily segregated city in the US.)   Things worked out and Jose Perez was elected from a redrawn ward on the south side.

Darryl and I discuss issues often, and meet when we can.  I have alway been impressed by his universal sense of fairness and his generosity of spirit.  Here are a couple of profiles of Darryl.

Darryl visited Smoking’ Dave’s BBQ and Brew on a family trip that included Rocky Mountain National Park (to which Estes Park is the gateway town).  As it happens, Nancy and I had eaten at Smoking’ Dave’s  some years ago when we visited the Park.  Something about the name must have attracted me.  My main memory is that we looked out the window and saw about a dozen elk saunter over to a small meadow next to the restaurant to graze, or to stare at us.  It was a nice welcome to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Here’s Darryl’s post —

Inspired by John Tanner, we embarked upon our road trip in the hope’s of finding some excellent barbecue along the way. We were disappointed when we learned that Tasty Bones Barbecue in Cheyenne Wyoming closed early on Sundays. Alas, my family and I dropped in to Smokin’ Daves BBQ & Brew in Estes Park, at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. I expected tourist grade food but to our surprise, it was excellent. We started with sweet barbecue wings (kids)

smokin daves wings

and shredded pork loaded potato skins.

smokin daves skins

I had the three meat platter with chicken, beef brisket and pork ribs. My sides were coleslaw and baked beans.

smokin daves plate chick

My wife had the beef brisket salad.

smokin daves plate meat salad

All meats were cooked to perfection. The brisket had a proper smoke ring from the hickory and cherry wood blend, was tender and with excellent flavor. No sauce was needed. The ribs were flavorful, tender but not overly, and had the right amount of smoke. The chicken was moist and flavorful. The coleslaw is mayo/vinegar based and complemented the meal well. A strong recommend.


I’m struck by the similarity between the way I order food and the way Darryl does; and by the much more measured approach of Nancy and Angela.

You really ought to go to Rocky Mountain National Park.   And take a trip out west with your children.  Nancy and I took the kids, then 8 and 11, on a five week trip around the country, and we didn’t have a bad hour.  Really.  Keys to success include a minivan or SUV with three banks of seats (to allow, now and then, separation of the children with an intervening parent in the middle); camping and staying in Park lodges with no television; and Cheetos, which ruin the upholstery but slake the thirst for mischief.


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