We were about to take my half-brother, who eats fish, but no other meat, to Ballard's beloved Walrus and Carpenter for oysters and trout, when the gorgeous, smoky smell wafting out of Bitterroot Barbecue abruptly led to a delicious change of plans.
One side of the table ordered the aptly named “Cowboy Killer”, a manly, meaty platter of one-half smoked chicken, pulled pork, brisket, ribs, three sides, AND an option of pork belly. So of course we added the pork belly. With each bite we tasted salt, smoke, spice, and sweet, as well as the juiciness of the meat. Bitterroot gets more points for a variety of sauces on hand to doctor your meat— my favorite, was the chipotle, (the hottest one) though the others enjoyed the mustardy sauce.
The other side of the table selfishly ordered an ENTIRE slab of baby back ribs. Spoiler alert: it was me. I was dreaming of a feast of meaty leftovers, and I made those dreams come true the next evening and the next. Ribs were tender and smokey, and a little extra sauce added punch.
My non-meat-eating brother, tried everything on the table, and deemed it damned tasty. We felt like a corrupting influence. Plus, after the "Cowboy Killer" I have no idea how he still fit into his skinny hipster pants.
Highlights: barbecued meat, creamy cheddar grits, collard greens, excellent bourbon selection, well-made cocktails. My hair smelled like smoked meat the next morning so I could relive the experience.
Disappointments: Maybe the fact that we were given a table for two, but there were three of us. The meat made up for this. No reservations, so prepare to wait.