When Kristian Matthews was roaming the halls of Mississippi State University, he bumped into someone he’d never met before, but looked familiar. It was his cousin, Kierre Dawkins.
Turns out, Matthews and Dawkins had grown up less than an hour away from each other without knowing it. Their chance meeting in college quickly turned into hangouts and, since they were good Mississippi boys, a lot of barbeque sessions. Soon, the cousins found themselves cooking and selling food to tailgaters at MSU football games, whipping up sauces to go along with their ribs and hot links.
After graduating, Matthews moved to Denver in 2014, keen on joining the city’s marijuana industry, but he rapidly realized that budtending gigs weren’t his preferred route into legal pot. Instead, in 2017 he persuaded his employer, Denver dispensary Diego Pellicer, to let him open a barbeque stand outside of the store at Federal Boulevard and West Alameda Avenue. That’s when he called Dawkins, by now a veteran of commercial kitchens, who moved to Colorado to help man the barbeque stand, Saucy’s Southern BBQ & Cuisine.
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In a city better known for fried bull gonads and sandwiches that helped kill Elvis than it is for barbeque, the stand became a celebration of places where ribs are more than just dinner. “You’ll find good barbeque at the gas station in Mississippi. It’s just different out there,” Dawkins explains. “We like to use grills in Mississippi barbeque. We don’t really smoke our meats, or use as much vinegar as they do in Carolina. Everywhere thinks they do it best, and, obviously, so do we.”
It didn’t take long for cousins Kristian Matthews (right) and Kierre Dawkins to hit the grill after meeting in college.