After working for the Richards family, original owners of Colorado Smokehouse, for six of the eatery’s 11 years, Tatjana “TJ” Tyndall bought the business from them in March 2020, just as the pandemic hit. “It’s the best risk I’ve ever taken,” she says, noting she kept all the recipes, adding only smoked wings recently.

The last year’s been tough, not just because of COVID (meaning only drive-thru and delivery service still, though there are on-site picnic tables), but due to a burglary and some incidents of impatient customers being verbally abusive to staff. Tyndall and team have prevailed though, usually selling out of meats by 7 p.m. on weekend nights despite smoking to full capacity (brisket alone takes 13 hours).

Everything’s mesquite smoked, but rubs and sauces vary to pay homage to a multitude of ’Q styles, from KC to Texas and beyond. Try for example the aptly named, forwardly tangy and back-end-burning Awesome Sauce, an employee-created item that mixes the house sweet, spicy and Carolina vinegar sauces.

We enjoy it with a chopped brisket plate, the meat tender and well-handled, as it is on the charred and fat-capped (more naturally flavorful) burnt ends, which we get as a sandwich. Fans of sweet cornbread will love this rendition, with extra honey butter (tasting like horchata with a cinnamon edge) making it dessert sweet.

Food & Drink Editor

Matthew Schniper is the Food and Drink Editor at the Colorado Springs Indy. He began freelancing with the Indy in mid-2004 and joined full-time in early 2006, contributing arts, food, environmental and feature writing.