More great 'cue in the Rockies

Rocky Mountain day trips and vacations

DURANGO, CO
Serious Texas Bar-B-Q. Texas transplants Cook and Joy Swanson know their way around a smoker, turning out tender beef brisket and hotter-than-a-Houston-summer sausage links. But the must-have meat at this temple of Texas 'cue is the impossibly moist smoked pork loin ― best when paired with the fruity, fiery cherry-chipotle salsa. $. 3535 N. Main Ave.; 970/ 247-2240.

LAS VEGAS
Memphis Championship Barbecue. This big, stylish barbecue joint is crammed with Memphis memorabilia and happy patrons wolfing down solid renditions of chicken, baby back ribs, and pork shoulder. $$. 2250 E. Warm Springs Rd.; 702/ 260-6909 (visit www.memphis-bbq.com for three other Las Vegas- area locations).

SALT LAKE CITY
Mama's Southern Plantation Restaurant. A portrait of the late "Mama," Rosemary Redmon Cosby ― Pentacostal preacher and mighty fine cook ― smiles over the bright white, pink, and blue dining room where daughter Rosalind Cazares and her husband, Mark, offer delectable smoked barbecue ribs and chicken, tender catfish, and to-die-for sides, such as cheesy corn pudding. $$. 1394 S. West Temple St.; 801/ 485-6715.

SALT LAKE CITY
SugarHouse Barbeque Company. Upscale look and down-home food in a family-owned haven for "dem bones" ― Memphis-style. Go for spice-rubbed ribs, chicken, and beef brisket, slow-smoked over hickory and cherry wood and served with four original housemade sauces. Sublime Greek oven-roasted potatoes are winners too. $$. 2207 South 700 East; 801/463-4800.

STRASBURG, CO
Chuck's Bunkhouse BBQ. Exceptional Texas-style spareribs, assertively spiced sausage coins, and whisper-tender pulled pork are served in a rustic, woody bunkhouse sporting three large communal tables conducive to conversation. The "Ranch House" sides ― chorizo stuffing studded with garlic, cheesy skin-on potatoes, and tangy coleslaw ― are heavenly. $; closed Mon-Tue. 1352 N. Monroe St.; 303/622-6814.

Rocky Mountain day trips and vacations