Savor the Flavor

Burntout BBQ's sauces and rubs will have you craving the sweet, tangy taste long after the char cools.

Photo by Cassandra Stiltner

“Barbecue is not a season; it’s a way of life,” says Erik Kos, creator of Colorado’s Burnt- Out BBQ. With a mouth-watering array of rubs, glazes, and sauces (including the award-winning “Sweet Mama” sauce), BurntOut BBQ has us convinced we should keep the grill and smoker out all year long. Kos’s love for barbecue began under the direction of Dave Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s BBQ, who taught him how to smoke meats and identify the flavor profiles in sauces and rubs. After that, Kos was hooked.

How it began

Born out of the competitive barbecue circuit, BurntOut BBQ began in Minnesota. “I became a certified barbecue judge in 2008 and tinkered with meats and flavors until I felt ready to enter the competitions myself,” Kos says. “Those competitions were where BurntOut BBQ’s recipes were developed and honed. In 2011, we started working with a contract packager and brought our product line to market. That’s when the business started taking shape.”

What defines “Colorado barbecue”

“Colorado barbecue is a blend of different backgrounds, just like the state’s population. Our state is filled with transplants, and in terms of barbecue flavors, familiarity and preference will differ. I’d say the uniting factor we all agree on is that great barbecue always starts with great meat. Everything else may be subjective, but you can’t replace great meat.”

Going local

“We transitioned BurntOut BBQ to the Castle Rock area in 2014. Our products are mixed and packaged in Golden. In my opinion, a good barbecue sauce is all about the ingredients, and we locally source ours. We use Denver-based Elevation Organic Ketchup and Eldorado Natural Spring Water, to name two. Our product line consists of four barbecue sauces, a barbecue finishing glaze, and two dry rubs. Our goal is to identify with regional barbecue but not reinvent it. We pinpoint the sauce profiles we appreciate the most and put our own spin on them.”

“Colorado Proud”

“It feels great when retailers from out of state contact us to carry a Colorado Proud product in their stores. While Colorado may not be on the map in terms of barbecue, we’re making an impact through our partnerships and participation in events. We’re thrilled to represent our state in barbecue. Locally, you can find our products as far away as Durango.”

What’s next

“We’re in the process of creating new sauces in partnership with other brands,” says Kos, “and in the next few years, you could see BurntOut BBQ restaurants emerging throughout the Denver metro area.”

Burntout BBQ
Colorado-crafted barbecue products