There’s a new ghost in Boulder but it’s not what you might expect. Although locals are quite familiar with George, the ghostly apparition who hangs out at the historic Boulder Theater, this spirit takes the form of a newly opened barbecue eatery right next door.
The only apparitions at The Ghost BBQ + Spirits come from the white smoke wafting from tasty meats being slow-cooked over hickory wood. Located right off of the popular Pearl Street pedestrian mall, this newly opened restaurant is slowly gaining a reputation as the place to go for Texas-style barbecue.
Chef-owner Bob Sargent has been in the food business one way or another most of his life. Raised on a farm, Sargent worked as a chef in many locations and specialized in opening corporate cafeteria kitchens in and around Boulder as well as operating a successful catering company, Savory Cuisines. When a space became available next to the theater, he immediately got the idea of a Texas-style barbecue joint.
Since Sargent didn’t have any real experience with smoked meats, he decided to visit a friend in the Lone Star State and began his education. “I ate barbecue every day for an entire summer,” he says. After learning about rubs, sauces, temperatures, and cooking methods, he took the plunge and purchased a huge smoker for his catering kitchen. This kitchen is where everything is prepared before being transported to The Ghost.
The interior of the restaurant is strictly casual and funky and is divided between the bar and dining area. It’s outfitted with small tables, plastic chairs, a fireplace, and local artwork displayed on the brick walls. The place is hopping at lunch time and during cocktail hour, especially with locals, business people, and hungry patrons shopping on Pearl Street coming here for some tasty smoked meats.
After starting with small plates of beer cheese dip or smoked chicken wings, go for a sandwich such as its very popular brisket Rueben. For the full Monty of barbecue, try their plate of slow-cooked, fork tender brisket, chicken, or pork ribs or the combo plate with all of the above.
Sargent has learned a thing or two working in kitchens most of his life, especially how to make sure that all of his food is made to his exacting standards. Everything is prepared from scratch and includes his dry rubs and five types of Ghostly sauces including North Carolina Mustard, Sweet Kansas City Style, Peach Apricot Curry, Spicy Texas BBQ, and an ode to the spirits— Ghost Pepper Death Sauce.
Side dishes like the creamy savory slaw made from carrots, onions and cabbage; fondue-style four cheese mac and cheese; smoky barbecued beans made with molasses; and pulled pork, are all handmade each day from locally-sourced ingredients.
Visitors are quickly discovering that this little gem is the place to visit when the barbecue craving comes calling. Centrally located in Boulder’s trendy restaurant and shopping district, the Ghost BBQ + Spirits is a little slice of Texas in Colorado.
FTC Disclosure: This was a sponsored visit. Opinions herein belong to the author.