Family Adventures · Iowa Food · West Central Iowa

From BBQ Smoke to Yellow Smoke & Beyond in Denison

One of the most famous cows in all of Iowa and we couldn’t wait to see it again.

Denison, IA: Crawford County

There’s plenty of Western Iowa for everyone and the region has a lot of reasons to head there day after day. One very amazing weekend has a special meaning to the locals of Denison, Iowa and an absolute army of visitors and locals that are there to do one thing. Have a great time and eat a lot of BBQ. Okay, that’s two things. Guess what….There’s more than two ways to enjoy Crawford County on this annual napkin needy weekend. Here’s the Team Goodvin return to Denison for Tri City BBQ Fest!

Des Moines, Sioux City and Omaha….Let’s come together and smoke thousands of pounds of meat and be merry. That should be etched somewhere for eternity, but until that happens we just need to make a trip every year to places that specialize in this credo. Let’s start with breakfast first!

The biscuits and gravy part of the day is the most important part of any morning.

Cronk’s has become one of our favorite restaurant’s, on The Iowa Gallivant, and this is the second time it’s landed in our travel blog for 2018. And on this day we may have had the finest biscuits and gravy in the state. That’s the pose of a young man that is about to to dive fork first into homemade biscuits and peppery sausage gravy!

Uptown Denison was the main destination and there was no stopping us. It’s Tri City weekend, that’s why! Plenty of competitors and vendors serving up some of the most delicious BBQ and so much more. That’s right, folks….They specialize in the world of smoke, but you’re getting a world of culinary creations as well.

Cajun meatballs! Philly style brisket sandwiches! Carne asada tacos! Loaded baked potatoes and load smoked mac and cheese! Fresh kettle corn! Crispy and scorching hot egg rolls with crab rangoons…..Are you hungry yet or what? These are all amazing and should be experienced along with the powerhouses in the BBQ family.

Ribs, brisket, ribs, turkey legs, pulled pork, chicken, ribs and our favorite…ribs! Did I mention that my family likes ribs? It’s all here at Tri City BBQ Fest and plenty of it. You can chow on the best of the smoked and support your favorite industry as much as you want here and lucky for us there’s a very popular Peoples Choice Award. Pork lovers line up to judge ribs and vote for their favorite. This can be very difficult to pick and it’s worth every messy finger, face and occasional lap.

Sure you come for the BBQ, but there’s plenty of ways to keep you and the whole family entertained. The local shops, restaurants and bars are open for business and all of uptown is packed with a whole weekend of fun. Bounce your way through slides and obstacle course while channeling your inner rodeo days and give the mechanical bull a whirl. Actually, it’ll give you whirl. There’s a fantastic auto show, live bands and plenty of beers getting poured from the tent. And please support the little petting zoo because it takes a lot of guts for those little critters to hang out all weekend at BBQ festival. On that note, lets go to the lake!

*Our stay at Yellow Smoke Park was complimentary. The opinions expressed are of our own. Now, let’s get back to gallivanting!

Yellow Smoke County Park was home base for us and a beautiful one! We settled into our cabin overlooking the lake and spent the evening soaking in the Crawford County majesty. Bunk beds, full beds, couch, kitchen, dining area and a flat screen TV to watch the football game. And guess what…..The local pizza places deliver to the campground! We really know how to rough it when need to.

Early morning came and that meant it was time for a workout around Yellow Smoke’s trails. One of the most amazing sunrises our family has seen greeted us at dawn. The morning fog coming off the lake mixed with the sunlight bouncing through the treeline and created a golden hue on the water. Perhaps this is why it’s called Yellow Smoke Park. We always have reasons to travel places and the BBQ was the main one, but it’s moments like these, at Yellow Smoke, when you realize the “why” in your road trip.

That type of pure happiness is one that only places like Denison, Iowa and a cabin on a hill can produce. Family, BBQ and rural America…What else could I possibly want in this world. Tacos. I want tacos too.

Do. Not. Leave. Denison. Without. Eating. TACOS! Even if you’re still full from all that BBQ, and you will be. However, the many authentic taquerias and restaurants are serving up these gifts to mankind all year long here. Denison is by far and away one of the best towns in Iowa for authentic Mexican food and that is all I need to hear. I think it’s time for another taco tour!

I don’t know what Charlie (Green Bay fan) was laughing at but I’m sure it was from a genius Dad joke I blurted out right before the picture was taken. Thank you so much Denison! What another incredible weekend you provided for us. Click here to see our post from our summer trip to Denison. And click here to see one of the most beautiful bed & breakfast’s in the Midwest right here in Denison. We’ll see you again, Crawford County!

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