If barbecue is the rigid, tradition-steeped Catholic school of the meat universe, then burgers hail from that hip utopian magnet school where stoners, gamer geeks, and even the foreign exchange students are cool in their own right. A good burger can be a masterpiece of housemade wizardry adorned with a heap of oddball ingredients or served as a $3 insurance policy against tomorrow morning’s hangover. It doesn’t even have to involve beef. The constant: a perfectly cooked patty, purposeful toppings, and a glorious sense of gratification—bordering on heartburn—when it’s finished. Seattle, with its love of food trucks and myriad culinary influences, applies that same creativity and inclusive spirit to the humble hot dog, too.
And yeah, we’ve heard those gripes about how Seattle has no barbecue culture. And yet, our (arduous, grueling) research lead us to some locals shaking up the barbecue scene, plus plenty of worthy joints around town that recreate the low and slow practices and regional saucing styles of barbecue meccas like Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, and the Carolinas. Grab some napkins (lots of napkins) and get acquainted with these local meat masters.