Food & Drink

10 Barbecue Places Worth Trying in Seattle

Jack's BBQ, Lil Red Takeout and Catering, and More
August 24, 2021
The Central District's popular Wood Shop BBQ smokes its meat with hickory from the Ozark Mountains and Post Oak wood from Texas. (Wood Shop BBQ)

In May, Seattle became a hot topic of discussion on Twitter after a Tripadvisor map declaring it one of the top ten cities for barbecue in the US was met with more than a little skepticism. Even if you, along with many others, conclude that the data was skewed, you can still enjoy the selection of smoked meats that the city offers. To help you do just that, we've compiled this list of barbecue joints worth your time, from the local gem Lil Red Takeout and Catering (which recently landed on a list of the top 20 Black-owned barbecue spots in the country) to the Central Texas-style favorite Jack's BBQ. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

The Barbeque Pit
Loyal customers at this longtime Central District favorite rave about the ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, rib tips, chicken, and brisket, as well as the warmth and friendliness of longtime owner and pitmaster Edward "Pookie" Whitfield. Back in 2011, The Stranger's Brendan Kiley wrote, "The pulled everything at the Barbeque Pit (pork, chicken, beef) is cooked soft enough for a baby, and Pookie seems to favor a patina of sweetness—an initial brown-sugar tang with a wellspring of spice that rises behind it." 
Central District
Pickup, delivery

Bitterroot BBQ
This Ballard barbecue joint sources all of its meat from local butchers and uses locally grown applewood for smoking. Load up your tray with classic choices like pulled pork, mac and cheese, cast-iron cornbread, cheddar grits, and coleslaw, and make sure to save room for a housemade ice cream sandwich for dessert.
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Brileys BBQ
This laidback, unassuming neighborhood spot is worth the trek to Lake Forest Park for its affordable cherrywood-smoked barbecue. The restaurant has applied its signature style of "Northwest barbecue" to baby back ribs, pit beef, sliced brisket, and other meaty delights.
Lake Forest Park
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Emma's BBQ
Head to this Hillman City gem for heartily portioned barbecue, including ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and beef hot links. The menu also includes comforting sides, scratch-made strawberry and blackberry lemonade, and sweet potato pie.
Hillman City
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Jack's BBQ
Former Microsoft employee and barbecue nerd Jack Timmons learned the trade at the BBQ Summer Camp co-hosted by Texas A&M's Meat Sciences department and has made pilgrimages to Louis Mueller's, Snow's, Cooper's, and other legendary Texas barbecue temples. Many devotees cite Jack's as the most authentic Central Texas-style barbecue in the Seattle area. Timmons is also planning to open a Tex-Mex spinoff called Jackalope in the former El Sombrero space in Columbia City sometime after Labor Day.
Downtown, SoDo, South Lake Union, Algona
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Jones Barbeque
Popular favorites at this West Seattle spot include the giant ribs smoked with Northwestern cedar, spicy collard greens, and sweet potato pie. The sweet-and-fiery Arkansas/Texas–influenced sauce is excellent—many barbecue enthusiasts say it’s the best in town.
West Seattle
Pickup, delivery

Lady Jaye
At this West Seattle cocktail bar and smokehouse brought to you by a team who previously spent time at Radiator Whiskey and White Swan Public House, a gigantic applewood smoker (affectionately dubbed "Cletus") churns out mountains of succulent smoked meat. Indulge in slow-roasted brisket, or opt for the pork belly "porkstrami" or smoked turkey, which gets piled into hearty sandwiches. Drinks include craft cocktails, beer, wine, and hard seltzer.
West Seattle
Pickup, dine-in

Lil Red Takeout and Catering
This local gem earned a spot on a list of the top 20 Black-owned barbecue spots in the nation, compiled by James Beard Award-winning author and barbecue expert Adrian Miller in his new book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue(Considering that Miller sampled barbecue at over 200 restaurants across the country to research his book, this is no faint praise.) The restaurant is run by husband-and-wife team Erasto “Red” Jackson, who specializes in soul food and a style of barbecue that incorporates influences from Texas, Memphis, and Kansas City, and Lelieth Jackson, who is of Jamaican descent and the mastermind behind the restaurant's Jamaican dishes. Fans love the ribs, the mac and cheese, the jerk chicken, the brisket, the rum cake, and the banana pudding. 
Columbia City
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Pecos Pit and Pike's Pit
Local standby Pecos Pit was launched by Ron and Debra Wise in 1980. Red Robin cofounder Gerry Kingen took over the business in 2010 and has plans to grow the franchise into a full-fledged barbecue empire. In 2015, the brand launched the well-loved spinoff Pike's Pit located in (where else?) Pike Place Market. Both spots are particularly well-known for their gloriously sloppy sandwiches made with alder-smoked beef and pork.
West Seattle, Sodo, Pike Place Market
Pickup, delivery

Wood Shop BBQ
Founded by a Kansan and a Texan, this Central District barbecue joint and food truck, which was once featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, offers meat by the pound (all smoked with solid hickory from the Ozark Mountains and Post Oak wood from Texas), tasty sides, and an impressive whiskey selection. 
Central District
Pickup, delivery