The mountain west might not be the region that comes to mind when you think of barbecue fare—that is, unless you know where to look.
If you've spent any time at the Vail Farmers' Market & Art Show, you're probably familiar with Kirby Cosmo's, which serves up jumbo-sized, smoked turkey legs from their booth every Sunday. Make a point to stop into their restaurant right on Main Street in Minturn, though, where you can sample everything from pulled pork BBQ sandwiches and shrimp po'boys to the Cowboy Cup, a heaping, layered mix of baked beans, slaw, mc'n'cheese, pulled pork, and BBQ sauce (kirbycosmos.com, 970-827-9027).
While you're in Minturn, you can also head over to BC Backcountry Wings, which has 10 different flavors of wings (plus, 4 different heat levels ranging from green to double black diamond). Just don't skip dessert—two deep fried Twinkies smothered in whipped cream and strawberries (backcountrywings.com, 970-763-5621).
The valley's classic joint for all things BBQ, though? Moe's Original Bar B Que, which has two locations in Eagle (970-337-2277) and Lionshead Village (970-479-7888) and has southern roots with owners straight from Alabama—hence the 'Bama-style pulled pork that's anchored the menu for years. The deck at the Vail space is a must among happy hours fans who like to pair PBR tall boys with their brisket, and the eatery's big patio in Eagle location is a family favorite. (moesoriginalbbq.com).
Although, if you happen to be wandering Vail Village on a Sunday, our pick has to be the booth for Wildwood Smokehouse, an on-mountain dining favorite that sets up shop at the Vail Farmers' Market & Art Show every summer (Sundays through October 7, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) until their smokers head back up the hill for the winter season (vailfarmersmarket.com).