Montana may not be known for world-class barbecue, but that doesn’t mean Grant and Hannah Carter, who met in Big Sky Country in college, don’t know their ’cue. Boy, do they! Their slim restaurant—housed in Ballard’s old Acme Rubber Stamp building, its interior stripped back to expose old brick walls, with reclaimed barn wood—serves the best plate of ribs I’ve had in Seattle. Rubbed and lightly sauced, with that telltale pull of the meat from bone, and a deep, pink, smoky layer, the tender pork is just right ($16/$26). The chicken is great, the brisket is tender and meaty, and the sides don’t slack, especially the rich and porky baked beans ($3) and the bright, crunchy slaw ($3).
One surprise: how excellent the burger is, cooked to a juicy pink middle, served on a Tall Grass Bakery pretzel roll with sautéed onions, bacon and melting blue cheese ($12): It’s superb. Sit in front with the kids or share a tall bar table in back, where the pro bartenders will help you pick a proper whiskey for your palate. If you’ve long endured the so-so barbecue that’s prevalent in Seattle, this place will have you grinning.
Lunch and dinner daily. Ballard, 5239 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.588.1577; bitterrootbbq.com $