Bite of Spokane: Betty Jean’s BBQ is worth the wait

Delicious entrees, yummy sides, sweet tea to die for

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

The prices are not the greatest for the amount of food you are getting, but Betty Jean’s really shines in quality over quantity.

For WSU students, summer is officially here. For many, that means going back home or taking a vacation. 

While I may be staying in Pullman over the summer, Spokane is only a short drive away, providing endless opportunities to explore restaurants I have not tried. One of the standouts that surprised me was Betty Jean’s BBQ, located near Lincoln Heights Shopping Center.

I like to think that I am picky about proper BBQ, something that is easy to do because Washington is not known for their BBQ. That is why I was so excited by a new BBQ joint opening not too far from where I grew up – and one that has been recommended to me by multiple people. 

Having tried the food and sitting in the restaurant, I can earnestly say that the hype was real and the food was absolutely delicious. Pulled pork sandwich, seasoned corn, fries and sweet tea rounded out a great meal that made me eager to try other things on the menu. 

It would be doing an injustice to you readers, however, if I only talk about the food. While important, the food does not make the entire restaurant experience.

One of the first things that struck me was that Betty Jean’s was out of most of their sides. This was not a huge deal, and I will give them the benefit of the doubt because they are recently popular and freshly opened.

Still, I would be lying if I was not disappointed by the lack of hush puppies. 

The other roadblock that keeps me from fully endorsing Betty Jean’s was the wait time. Despite there only being a small line, it took longer than I imagined to order, and the food did not get to our table until nearly a half-hour later.

Suffice to say, if you are looking for a fast-food BBQ place, either order for pickup or look somewhere else. 

The prices at Betty Jean’s were not horrible although they certainly can be a barrier for people wanting to come back. The Rock Mount, the pulled pork sandwich that I ordered, sits at $15 and comes with two choices of sides. Throw in a jug of sweet tea, and the cost starts to add up. 

Taste seems like a priority for Betty Jean’s, and it showed in every part of my meal. The restaurant was surprisingly quiet from the sound of everyone enjoying their food. 

The pulled pork sandwich was a perfect picture of Carolina-style BBQ flavorful and the only disappointment is when you finish the last bite. The sides did not slouch either, and the macaroni cheese and the seasoned corn were tasty. 

If the prices were any cheaper, I would have gone right back up to the counter to order it again.

And the sweet tea. Oh. My.

Let me tell you one of my greatest frustrations as someone who loves sweet tea. Many restaurants in the Pacific Northwest will give you some unsweetened black tea and a sugar packet and tell you to work it out.  

That is not real sweet tea, no matter what anyone tells you. 

Sweet tea also has a huge sliding scale, with some being too sweet and others just being black tea without any sweetener at all. Everyone has their preference, but in my humble opinion, a great sweet tea falls somewhere in the middle.

If I could replace my blood with Betty Jean’s sweet tea, then I would die happy. 

We ordered a jug of sweet tea – 32 ounces of sweet goodness – and it was not nearly enough. The sweetness of the tea was just enough to complement its strong flavor. While amazing on its own, the sweet tea really tied the meal together. 

Overall, Betty Jean’s was a great eating experience that lacked a cheap and timely dining experience. I hope that these problems will be ironed out as the restaurant continues to grow, and I look forward to trying out more of the menu.

If you find yourself in Spokane over the summer, make your way down to Betty Jean’s to have some good BBQ in the Pacific Northwest.

Get eating, Cougs!