Hell’s Backbone Grill

Review by: Jess Dawson

We’ve been anticipating going to Hell’s Backbone Grill since we first read about it. Situated in the small 243-person town of Boulder, Utah, the restaurant and farm is pretty remote and without question the best dinner for miles. When paired with a trip to nearby Singing Canyon on the historic Burr Trail, is a can’t-miss stop.

A gorgeous, warm welcome

Walking up, the property is the first to stun. Huge Cottonwood trees provide shade over the dining patio, which is outdoor-only since the pandemic. Colorful flags and bistro lights are strung above the tables. A small farm stand just outside the entrance sells produce, eggs, homemade jams, pickles and more. 

We’re greeted with warmth and hospitality, and this shines through the entire meal. Beautiful cocktails start things off, and we have a very hard time choosing what not to get. So we end up with quite the lineup. 

Biscuits, fritters and salads – oh my!

First, a pile of Blue Ribbon Black Powder Biscuits with whipped sage butter. The biscuits are thick and dense, made with heavy cream, cold butter, black pepper and Redmond Real salt.

One of the favorites of the night is the Farm Zucchini Fritters, which are hot and crispy on a beautiful segmented plate. A creamy feta sauce and tangy, house-made farm radish relish cut the richness of the fritters. Another tasty, simple treat is the She Deviled Farm Eggs with a touch of spicy habanero and a squeeze of bright lime.

Next, two salads. The Award-Winning Backbone House Salad arrives as an homage to garden-fresh produce. There are beautiful farm lettuces, toasted pepitas, crunchy jicama, sweet dehydrated corn, and sliced local apples. On top, a drizzle of spicy-sweet agave-chile vinaigrette.

We also get the special Monumental Salad with baby carrots, green beans, sliced cucumbers and farm-roasted beets. Quartered farm eggs are perfectly jammy, and the Vidalia onion and chive dressing is creamy yet fresh. 

Dinner with a Southwest twist

Hell’s Backbone is known for The Dinner Jenchilada, so that’s next. It’s fresh Southwestern at its finest: We get one with organic chicken, and one with vegetables. There’s also spicy habanero corn cream sauce and cilantro-pepita green rice. The flavors and textures are incredibly inventive.

The Handmade Pappardelle is fresh and just past al dente, with creamy farm kale and basil. A slightly tangy sunseed pesto is — amazingly! — nut-free. 

The Boulder Beef Braise features slow-cooked, grass-fed beef that’s tender and flavorful beside farm-fresh vegetables, kale, tomatoes and a green chile polenta. There’s also a fresh Local Red Trout with Herbs, pan-seared with lemon and herb butter. A fragrant “parsley’d” jasmine rice acts as a fitting side with more of those tasty, perfectly-roasted farm vegetables.

Chimayo-kissed chocolate to finish

It’s shocking that we can eat more, but we do. The Orchard Crisp with local apples and pears under an oat-and-almond crust is delightful. But it’s the Chocolate Chile Cream Pot that steals the night. The creamy, rich chocolate custard is smooth and luscious, practically forcing everyone who tries it to close their eyes and savor its flavor. There is a “kiss” of Chimayo chile and beautiful, “just-whipped” cream. 

The evening is a success from start to finish, from the food and scenery to the wonderful waitstaff who are notoriously careful and considerate. Unsurprisingly, everything is chemical-free and local, and the menu changes often.

I imagine that no matter when you come, it’ll be the best dinner for miles.

What To Eat

Blue Ribbon Black Powder Biscuits

Farm Zucchini Fritters

She Deviled Farm Eggs

Award-Winning Backbone House Salad

Special Monumental Salad

The Dinner Jenchilada

Handmade Pappardelle

Boulder Beef Braise

Local Red Trout with Herbs

Orchard Crisp

Chocolate Chile Cream Pot


Hell’s Backbone Grill Recipes


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