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Parked Between Rich and Spicy 

There's a new barbecue sheriff in town

Broken Top BBQ has ruined my summer. Or, more precisely: The addition of the food cart, Broken Top BBQ along NW Colorado, threatens to ruin my perfect bikini body. I mean, true story, eating a strawberry and spinach salad for a lunch simply is not as satisfying when I know that mounds of brisket and swim pools worth of homemade spicy barbecue sauce are just three blocks from our offices.

And the cornbread! Oh, the buttermilk cornbread. Like pudding! Not crumbly, dry chunks, but rich and moist. But, oh, right, the main event: The barbecue.

Owner T.J. McNabb recently relocated from Portland, where he operated Barbecue the Blues, and is operating from the same custom-designed food truck. While working as a journeyman cook, he has picked up tricks of the trade, learning spicing techniques working under the head chef of Cafe Soriah, a high-end Mediterranean restaurant in Eugene, and cooking techniques by studying French cuisine in Europe. He has applied these gourmet techniques to his passion, barbecue, and hopes to open a brick and mortar restaurant with a full southern-style menu, specializing in pulled brisket, chili con carne and southern gumbo. All that sounds great, as long as he opens a store near our offices.

The meat on the ribs quite literally falls off the bone. A five-hour smoke and a specialty dry rub top the meat, and a choice of rich Dixie (a red chili) or Sonoran (habanero) sauces. Ribs are available in quarter ($11), half ($22) and full ($33) racks.

It is pig-in-slop-heaven at Broken Top Barbecue, and the ribs come with two sides: The mac-and-cheese is dull and skipable, but the cole slaw is crisp and fresh.

A "lighter" lunch is available with the choice of three main sandwiches, and usually a special sandwich. The Chicken Pickin' ($7) was meat shredded into juicy bite-sized chunks and, like an overstuffed envelope, spilling over the sides of the bun and into the red-and-white checkered cardboard lunch tray—truly traditional barbecue. Slathered in home-made thick and spicy sauce, the seasoning is rich and savory, a tart tomato topping amplified to 11. The special beef brisket sandwich ($8) had a delicate slow burn in the sauce, and was served on Wonder Bread-soft buns—a decadently sloppy sandwich.

With all the combinations of sauces and meats and pineapple slaw and BBQ bean sides, there quite literally are enough new combinations for every lunch of summertime. Damn you, Broken Top BBQ!

Noon - 3 pm, 5 - 8 pm, Mon-Sat.

Check the website, though, as the truck travels to breweries and festivals.

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