About KT’s

Our Story

 

How we got started1 KT’s stands for Kirk and Tricia (Jamison). We are modeled after Pecos Pit BBQ in Seattle, where we’re from. Guided by this inspiration, we took a trip to Memphis to eat BBQ three or four times a day for a week, to really learn what real BBQ is like. Over the summer of 1991 we wrote a business plan and raised $50,000. In the fall of that year we moved to Boulder in our Landcruiser with our two dogs—towing everything we owned in a 5’x8′ U-Haul trailer and making our first address the bank of the St. Vrain river near Lyons. We found the old blue house at 63rd and Arapahoe to rent for the restaurant, and opened January 3rd, 1992 (Kirk’s 28th birthday). 

OldKTsSignBWFor the first three years of business it was just Kirk and Tricia, working 10 to 16 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week. On our first day of business we served about 20 people, had $100 in sales—and these first customers still come in often. In July 1992 the Boulder Daily Camera ran a large, full-color article on KT’s BBQ, and overnight our business went crazy with lines out the door everyday. We were often coming back to the restaurant at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. to unload, prep and reload more meat in the smokers. It was exhausting but thrilling. 
Building RelationshipsOur business was thriving not only because of rich, satisfying food, but also thanks to the relationships Tricia and I were building with our guests as we learned their names and sat down to eat with them. Since we started out from scratch in Boulder, our customers became our friends. Building relationships with our customers is something we still strive to do and a desire we instill in the people who work here. (All of KT’s value combo baskets—Mike’s, Joe’s and Amy’s—and the June Bowl are named in honor of customers, and Jack’s Salad is named for our partner Melanie’s son.) All of our customers and friends helped KT’s continue to grow, and in 1995 we hired our first employee, Russell Lester, then just 14 years old, though he stayed on board with us until he went to college. 
Opening new storesIn 1995 we hired Melanie Thibodeau as manager and shortly thereafter we opened our second restaurant in Boulder. That same year we had our first child – Laura Ann, who now works at our Broomfield store! In 1996 we moved the original KT’s location to 75th and Arapahoe, and in September 2000 we opened our third location, this one in Broomfield. During that time we had our second child, Caralynn Maureen who now works at our Boulder restaurant and our third child Claire Mackinnon who is not quite old enough to work for us YET. In 2008 we opened our Denver location on Colorado Blvd. We also had a fourth child, Grace Katherine, in 2004. Melanie also has stayed with us through the years and has two children of her own. We now have over 30 employees, many who have been with us for more than 10 years. 

KTsFarmetteBWKT’s has been catering since 1998, when we were selected as a caterer for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field.  Today, with our trailer-mounted BBQ, multiple delivery vans and dedicated year-round staff, KT’s caters events from parties of 20 to 1,500 people, from business lunches to casual weddings.  No matter the event size or occasion, KT’s Catering brings bona fide BBQ goodness, fun, genuine hospitality and plenty of it!

Anna

 

Future plansIt’s more than 20 years now since we started KT’s, and as our business has evolved, so have our goals. We’re still committed to real good BBQ and getting to know our customers. We also keep in sight our aspirations of maintaining a financially and operationally sound, morally strong business. A business built to last. Towards this goal—and to ensure she stays with us and receives the rewards of her efforts—we made Melanie a partner in our company in 2001. The adventure continues and we’re glad you’re along. 

BBQ 101

Regional Styles:

Kentucky – Hickory smoked BBQ pork, lamb and mutton.

North Carolina – Pork shoulder is king, hickory smoked until fall-apart-tender. Vinegar, mustard and pepper sauce — no tomatoes, after all they’re a fruit.

Memphis – Hickory smoked pork shoulder and dry rubbed pork ribs. Peppery, vinegar and tomato based sauces.

Kansas City – Wet rib capitol. Most popular style of BBQ sauce in the U.S.– sweet, tangy, thick.

Texas – Mesquite and oak smoked beef brisket and sausages. Sauce is ketchupy and sweet.

Boulder County  – The best of Memphis and Texas styles: Hickory smoked pork shoulder, brisket, hot links and dry rubbed ribs. KT’s is the definitive producer in the region.

 

BBQ Glossary

PIT:

THE PLACE WHERE THE FIRE AND THE MEAT … MEET.

OFFSET FIREBOX:

PLACE TO BUILD THE FIRE THAT IS NEXT TO AND BELOW THE GRILL, TO KEEP THE MEAT FROM DIRECT HEAT.

MEAT:

WHAT REAL BBQ IS MADE OF AND IS ALL ABOUT. THUS, BBQ TOFU IS AN OXYMORON AS WELL AS AN AFFRONT TO MANKIND.

MARINADES & BRINES:

FLAVORIZING WET STUFF YOU SOAK THE MEAT IN BEFORE IT HITS THE GRILL.

RUBS:

BLENDS OF DRY SPICES AND SEASONINGS YOU RUB ON THE MEAT BEFORE YOU GRILL IT.

MOPS & SOPS:

WET FLAVORINGS APPLIED WHILE THE MEAT COOKS.

BBQ SAUCE

WHAT MOST PEOPLE (ERRONEOUSLY) THINK OF AS THE DEFINING ELEMENT OF BBQ AND THE OBJECT OF ENDLESS MALE CHEST THUMPING, BRAGGING AND THE GAME OF “YOU’LL NEVER GUESS MY SECRET INGREDIENT.”

SHAKE

DRY SEASONINGS THAT ARE SHAKEN ONTO THE MEAT IN LIEU OF BBQ SAUCE.

WETS OR DRYS

DESCRIPTION OF PEOPLE WHO LIKE THEIR RIBS COOKED AND SERVED WITH SAUCE—“WETS”—OR DRY RUBBED AND SERVED WITHOUT SAUCE—“DRYS.”

HOT GUTS / LINKS / SPIKES

SPICY SMOKED SAUSAGE.

BABY BACK RIBS

THE LITTLE (BABY) RIBS FOUND NEXT TO THE SPINE OF THE HOG.

SPARE RIBS

THE LONG MEATY RIBS THAT COME FROM THE BELLY OF THE HOG.

BURNT ENDS / MR. BROWN

THE CRUNCHY, CARAMELY, SLIGHTLY BURNT OUTER CRUST OF THE MEAT.

SNOOTS

A ST. LOUIS THING: GRILLED OR DEEP FRIED HOG CHEEKS. LIKE FRIED PORK RINDS. NOW DOESN’T THAT SOUND GOOD?

CABRITO

BBQ GOAT. NEED WE SAY MORE?

BARBACOA

TEX-MEX BBQ. SKINNED (AND CLEANED) COW’S HEAD WRAPPED IN FOIL AND BURIED IN A PIT FOR A LONG, SLOW COOK. CHEEKS, TONGUE, BRAINS AND EYES ARE ALL ON THE MENU. (NOT AVAILABLE AT KT’S. LUCKY FOR YOU.)