Ballard, ready yourself for a new barbecue restaurant. One with lots of sauce of both the literal and boozy variety. Owners Grant and Hannah Carter say Bitterroot BBQ will open the first week of December at 5239 Ballard Ave NW. Grant Carter will serve as pit master while Hannah will manage front-of-house matters. The couple met at college in Montana, and have cooked in and managed restaurants in Chicago and LA. Their establishment’s name comes from Montana’s Bitterroot River, where the couple used to fly fish.
Bitterroot’s barbecue is a classic affair; the menu includes ribs, brisket, a whole-smoked chicken and pulled pork. Rather than commit to one regional variation of this meaty art, the meat will be dry rubbed, says Hannah Carter. “There’s no sauce applied ‘til it’s on the table.” The table, thankfully, will be stocked with four different sauces: a sweeter, classic style; a spicy version with an ancho chile base; a vinegar sauce; and a mustard sauce. Let’s make things even more exciting: sandwiches will be served on pretzel buns, custom made for Bitterroot at nearby Tall Grass Bakery.
Back in July, Seattle Weekly food critic and barbecue enthusiast Hanna Raskin wrote that Carter will use apple wood, as well as some alder wood in the pit. The smoker, says Hannah Carter, is “a big, beautiful thing” custom-built by Ole Hickory Pits in Missouri. Should a giant plate of sauce-slathered meat not be enough for you, the menu of seasonal sides includes braised greens, glazed carrots, baked beans or a cornbread casserole.
And then there’s the bar. The focus, says Hannah Carter is U.S.-made “beer and browns,” meaning whiskeys, bourbons, and a whiskey-based cocktail list. There’s a full bar as well, and fresh brewed iced tea and sweet tea. All of these fine foods and beverages can be yours day or night; Bitterroot will be open for lunch every day, and serve food until 1am. Keep an eye on the restaurant’s Facebook page for updates. Those targeted opening dates can be nebulous suckers.