A food essay about the Best BBQ in Montana The Notorious PIG in Missoula, Montana by James Bonner

Uncovering Montana's Best BBQ: Notorious P.I.G. Review, Menu, and Experience!

A good bit of my early life was spent in Texas, known for—and among other things—its barbeque. When you become familiar with a thing living in a particular place, it’s common to believe that “this lifestyle,” “this idea,” or “this food,” is shared, maybe not by everyone but by most. It never occurred to me, once familiar with BBQ, that there might be some states that wouldn’t quite get it. I never would have imagined that Montana, of all states, struggles with good barbecue.

I Lived in Montana for two years before I realized I hadn’t even seen a BBQ joint. I would have to go way back into my distant past to retrace my steps through Missoula, Montana before I thought I might find myself living here, when I spent a few days exploring Missoula before and after a Ray LaMontagne concert I flew out there to attend. And then I happened upon the Notorious P.I.G., which, to my surprise, compares to Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas.

Immediately upon walking through those doors, you’re hit with the unmistakable aroma of smoky goodness wafting throughout the joint. There are two locations, one in the thick of downtown Missoula and the second across the street from Larchmont Golf Course in southwest Missoula. The downtown location is a restaurant, aside from the food, there’s nothing particularly spectacular about the ambiance. The southwest location, however, is in an old Jiffy Lube, and although a bit out-of-the-way it's worth the detour.

The menu at Notorious P.I.G. reads like a love letter to all things BBQ, for me, that’s refreshing because—despite the Notorious P.I.G.’s name—most BBQ joints have a menu so heavy with pork that my options become remarkably limited. I don’t eat pork. The restaurant's menu is a welcomed smattering of Turkey, Beef Brisket, Burnt Ends, Tri-Tip Sirloin, and chicken, a menu truly worthy of barbeque. And Notorious P.I.G. takes things up a notch with their creative spins on classic BBQ dishes. And did I mention the homemade sauces? Whether you're a fan of tangy vinegar-based or rich and smoky, they've got you covered.

            The Notorious P.I.G. is not only the best barbeque I’ve had in Montana, but rivals that of the best I’ve had anywhere. Round up your crew, hop in the car, and head to the Notorious P.I.G. for a barbecue experience that will have you singing its praises from the Missoula mountain tops. It is unquestionably a BBQ experience to remember. 

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