Late last fall, Jeff Cornelius took a leap into the restaurant world with Globe Hall, a casual and friendly spot that is reminiscent of Texas bars. There is live music, a divey vibe, and fabulous smoked meats cooked in a mammoth smoker named Betty. In honor of Barbecue Week, Eater asked this meat man to share the story of his restaurant in a Q&A. Here it is:
What's the short elevator description of your restaurant? Globe Hall is a barbecue joint, dive bar, and music hall in the Globeville neighborhood - near the Coliseum and the National Western Complex. It's been a saloon since the early 1890s - probably the longest surviving one in Globeville. The music hall is an old Croatian/Slovenian meeting lodge that was built in 1903. I bought it from the original fraternal lodge - it's never changed hands before.
What motivated you to open it? I wanted to open a place like the small town barbecue joints and honkeytonks I remember from my college days in Austin, Texas. Bikers, hippies, cowboys, frat boys, young, old, single, married, kids, grandmas and grandpas - everyone got along at these places. The combination of good barbecue, cold beer, and live music seems to bring out the best in people and it was palpable in those places. That's what I wanted to create with Globe Hall and I think I have. I'm there every night and I see everyone enjoying themselves - laughing, dancing, making new friends at the bar. I think its extremely important that we have places we can go and leave our divisions at the door and celebrate the things we all love - good food, good music and a cold drink are a great place to start.
Why this location? The property was for sale and I fell in love with it. Its only 5 minutes from downtown, 5 minutes from the stock show, all the development is headed our way and you can't build over a hundred years of history into a new building, so its pretty unique.
Will there ever be a second one? There can only be one Globe Hall - it's in Globeville and was originally named St. Jacob's Lodge Hall. It's all I'm focused on at the moment.
What's your philosophy on barbecue? For me, three ingredients make great barbecue. 1. The food is cooked with passion and caring. 2. Wood is the only fuel used to cook the meat. 3. The food is ultimately shared among a group of people, be that friends, family or guests in your establishment.
What about sides? We offer three classic sides and like to keep the menu simple: potato salad, coleslaw, and ranch beans. We put a lot of thought into the development of the sides. For the potato salad and coleslaw, I didn't want them to be a mayonnaise-y mess. We went for crisp and clean flavor profiles to compliment the richness of the proteins.
How did you choose your smoker? I met Daniel Vaughn, who is the Barbecue Editor for Texas Monthly magazine, at the National Barbecue Association meeting in 2014. He's probably eaten at more barbecue joints in Texas than anyone in history, has a great palate for the central Texas-style I wanted to cook and spends his time interviewing owners and pitmasters, so he knows how they prepare their food. After narrowing my search to the top three commercial smokers on the market, he told me the only one that would reproduce the central TX flavor I wanted was the Oyler 1300, made by J&R Manufacturing in Mesquite, TX. Main reason - its 100% wood-fired.
What kind of wood do you use? We use oak - a mix of red and white. Oak is most commonly used in Texas and the wood definitely affects the taste of the finished product, so that's what I wanted to use. Oak imparts a great flavor across beef, pork, and poultry as well, so we can cook all of it using the same wood. Fruit woods are great for poultry and pork, but they burn up fast and don't give the beef the flavor I like.
What do you aim for as your finished product? All of our finished meats highlight their respective meat profiles, enhanced by a lot of natural smoke flavor.
What is the best thing you serve? We get compliments on all of our meats, but the favorite seems to be our pork ribs. People say they are the meatiest and most flavorful they've ever had.