Think about the last time you ate a hot dog. Where were you? In the car on a road trip? At a friends’ backyard barbecue? Maybe it was so long ago you were actually at a baseball game. In most of these scenarios the hot dog was probably the chosen food because it’s easy to make for a large number of people, it was your only option on a road trip or it was the classic choice at a sporting event. The point is, it likely was more of an afterthought and the hot dog itself probably didn’t have your full attention. You were more focused on driving, talking with your friends or watching the baseball game. Smokin’ Ace is here to change that. The new delivery-only restaurant specializes in handmade sausages and smoked meats, offering exceptional quality where mass-produced meats are misrepresented as artisanal.
Joshua and Emily Elliott — husband and wife duo and co-owners of Smokin’ Ace — are on a mission to make the best hot dog in Denver. Since the couple moved to Denver from New York over five years ago, they have worked at Guard & Grace, The Pig & The Sprout, FNG and Beast & Bottle, to name a few. “TAG was a great starting point for me to learn about the farms, Denver demographic and what was needed in the area. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to open a concept that wouldn’t work here,” said Joshua.
The couple’s original idea was to start a food truck, but after the pandemic halted all events they jumped at the opportunity to have a space in CloudKitchens. CloudKitchens houses over 50 individual commercial kitchens — also known as ghost kitchens — that are built for delivery concepts. CloudKitchens handles the logistics and fulfillment to make sure orders are delivered with more accuracy in less time so the chefs can focus on the most important part — the food.
Smokin’ Ace specializes in crafting fresh, handmade sausages with full transparency. “Hot dogs have a bad reputation,” said Joshua, “I want to be completely transparent with what’s going into them.” He only uses short rib meat in the hot dogs and high-quality beef belly and pork for the other sausages like the Jack and Chili Pork Brat ($14) and Suadero Sausage ($16).
Smokin’ Ace also offers decadent sandwiches including three different burgers — Ace’s Single Single ($11), Quemaculo ($12) and The Native ($13) — a beef cheek pastrami called The Transplant ($16) and a pulled chicken called The Bar-B ($11). You’ll also find bao buns ($13) and a smoked tofu wrap ($12) along with fresh sides like crazy rice, kale salad and market vegetables. If you prefer smoked meats, you can also get a half chicken, wings, and meat by the pound. The quality and freshness of the sausages are what set Smokin’ Ace apart from your typical hot dog or sausage — even if the label says it’s artisan. “There’s a lot of things that go into a sausage that allow it to hold its consistency. Our experience in crafting sausages set us apart from a big company,” said Joshua.
Since Smokin’ Ace doesn’t get foot traffic like a traditional brick and mortar, Emily and Joshua are relying on word of mouth and digital marketing through delivery apps to get the word out. “We are putting our hearts and souls into this,” said Emily. You’ll find Smokin’ Ace on Postmates, Doordash, UberEats, Grubhub and ChowNow.
Next time you’re craving a hot dog, skip the grocery store and order from Smokin’ Ace. The bold and flavorful sausages will have you yearning for the next one even before you’re done with the first.
Smokin’ Ace is open daily 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Order online via ChowNow.