by Michaela Fujita-Conrads | Photo © Tanner Poff

The southern states of America are known as the home of great BBQ. Enthusiasts drive miles to get the best brisket or ribs. However, great BBQ is not limited to those states. Throughout the Northwest, the BBQ business is flourishing.

IDAHO: In the beautiful city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a small food truck is home of some of the best BBQ in the state. At Drummin’ Up BBQ, friends and family line up to try their mouth-watering meals. One of their most popular dishes is the J Bomb Brisket Sandwich, a brisket combined with jalapenos and pepper jack cheese smothered in chipotle BBQ sauce and rested between two toasted potato buns (a fitting Idaho touch).

MONTANA: In the state of Montana, the BBQ business is also booming. For owner Taylor Henson, BBQ meals have been a part of his diet for as long as he can remember. He recalls the late night family dinners where his father would spend hours preparing the meals. He likes how it brings people together and wanted to bring that to rural Montana. At first, Follow Yer’ Nose BBQ was Henson selling pulled pork and ribs outside of the Wildflour Bakery in Emigrant, Montana. Eventually, his BBQ became so popular that Henson expanded to today’s restaurant. Customers are encouraged to bring their own knick-knacks and memorabilia and hang it as wall décor. This, Henson says, brings a more communal atmosphere to his restaurant. But people really come for the smoky BBQ, which uses local meats from southwestern Montana. On weekends, the vegans in your clan can even order a smoked Portobello.

OREGON: The love and popularity of BBQ is shared in Oregon as well. The small historic town of Albany is known for many things, including what is arguably the state’s best BBQ. What started off as a hobby, owners Nathan Pendley, Tanner Poff and Adam Cluver expanded into a successful business. At first, the three men used BBQ as a way for their family and friends to come together. Eventually, they decided to enter a competition for their cooking. The first competition they entered took home a 1st-place ribbon for their now award-winning brisket. Eventually, the competitions became so successful, they started the Oregon BBQ Company. The company grew from a food cart to a bright purple house with a drive through, known by locals as the “Purple People Feeder.” The company prides itself on their authentic BBQ. It’s so good, they sell out every day.

WASHINGTON: Traveling north to Washington, the Ranch House BBQ near Olympia has won numerous competitions around the world for authentic BBQ. Local Washingtonian and owner Amy Anderson is particularly known for her appearance on the Food Network where she competed at Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Upon her return, Anderson discovered a vacant ranch and immediately thought it would make the perfect BBQ spot. Thus began the Ranch House BBQ.

Each location across the Northwest successfully specializes in the authenticity of Southern BBQ in its own way. However, one thing they all agree on is the concept that BBQ brings everyone together. Each owner’s passion for BBQ first ignited through friends and family gathering together and eating great food.
“BBQ is such a great way to bond and form unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime with friends, family and loved ones you care about,” says Pendley from Oregon BBQ Company.