The old argument that "Portland doesn't have good barbecue" has been taken out back, put down, smoked for 12 hours, and served with some collard greens and cornbread. True, some of our places still can't seem to figure out how to slow-grill brisket, but many others have mastered the art of the smoker. Here are the 11 best spots to grab BBQ in Portland.
The pitmaster at this latest addition to the (somewhat) local barbecue scene went to Texas to learn his craft, but happily slings several styles of 'cue. Highlights include smoked wings with a sweet glaze, as well as ribs that fall of the bone. Also check out the exciting range of sauces, including an Asian-inspired option made with fish sauce that practically screams Portland-style barbecue.
Much like Storrs out in Newburg, you might not expect a drive to Lake Oswego to end in decent barbecue. But this place manages to deliver some seriously good down-home cookin’, especially when it comes to sides, which is where Pine Shed does the most damage to your middle.
OK, this one is bending the rules a bit -- The Coop actually serves rotisserie meats rather than traditional BBQ. But that doesn’t stop this hip, rustic Arbor Lodge space from serving tender brisket, pork, and chicken. When the meats are all slow-cooked for eight hours with a dry rub, then served with sides of smoky BBQ sauce, you won’t care much that it wasn’t cooked on a smoker. Go here for dinner for the full meat platters, or lunch for sandwiches, like the brisket Philly cheesesteak and pulled pork bánh mì sliders.
Sure, the platters at this food cart turned brick-and-mortar are fantastic ways to sample the menu, but don’t you want to try the best BBQ sandwiches in the city? The pork shoulder topped our list of best sandwiches in Portland, as befits the restaurant’s name, but there’s also the smoked fried chicken. Yes, it’s smoked, and fried. The lamb is the only thing that isn’t as memorable, but that doesn’t matter when everything else is as good as it is here.
Sellwood is an area that’s often overlooked by younger folk, and that means they’re missing out when it comes to Reverend’s BBQ. The Carolina-style chopped pork shoulder is a star here, and the deviled eggs with burnt-end brisket might be the best in town. But it’s the griddled polenta with creamed corn and tasso ham that is truly revelatory; that alone is worth the visit to this part of town.
In this unassuming little spot up on NW 21st (thus the name), BJ Smith is making some of the best barbecue in the city. If Smokehouse were the only good spot in town, it would still demolish any argument that we don’t have good barbecue. From the ribs to brisket to the various sauces and sides, Smokehouse will demonstrate to even the most discerning BBQ aficionados what our city is capable of.
Smokehouse Tavern is basically the same as its progenitor, Smokehouse 21, but that’s a very good thing. The ribs are the most tender you’ve ever had, the brisket burnt ends sell out regularly, and the collards are incredible. Get here after 9pm for one of the nine burgers for $9, made with the scraps of burnt ends. Add the best cocktail menu at any BBQ spot, designed by the inimitable Mike Shea of Rum Club, and it’s pretty hard to beat Smokehouse Tavern.
Why is it that the best BBQ always comes from food carts? The eponymous Matt continued that trend when he opened his truck in spring of 2015 after traveling the southern states, "researching" BBQ. Now, the cart puts out some of the best brisket and ribs in NE, and serves up unorthodox products, too, like brisket tacos. It’s the best of all worlds. Matt sells out of his meats most days, so get there early.
This food cart in sleepy Foster-Powell is named for a bird most known as a cartoon character, and has a large painting of Chief Wiggum on the side of it, none of which bodes well. Good thing the brisket, which dominates the menu here, is as great as it is. Slow-roasted for 12-14 hours and chopped up for sandwiches and platters, it’s the best (only) brisket east of Cesar Chavez. The food cart pod is rare in that it has a covered area that also serves beer, so give a generous pour of that BBQ sauce over a brisket sandwich and grab an IPA.
It’s located in a Shell station and not even in Oregon. Yes, Daddy D’s may be in Vancouver, WA, but it’s worth crossing the river to our northern neighbor for the meat smoked by Daddy D himself. It’s probably due to being a Louisiana native that his BBQ shines.
Rodney Muirhead gets up early every day to make sure his meat’s smoking at the right temperature, ensuring a consistent quality lacking in many other local barbecue establishments. His ribs and brisket are so close to perfect it’s no surprise that it’s a town favorite. Unfortunately this means it comes with many of the downfalls of similarly adored local restaurants. If you can stand waiting and busy service, you won’t be disappointed by the food.
This place does a few things, but you really only need to know about one: pulled pork. Slightly smoky but incredibly moist, especially if you add one of the tangy sauces. Not only is the dish tasty, but the refined nature of this Downtown cart also demonstrates the simplistic attention to detail that has led many of its peers to brick-and-mortars.
1. Storrs Smokehouse310 E 1st St, Newberg
2. Pine Shed Ribs17730 Pilkington Rd, Lake Oswego
3. The Coop6214 N Interstate Ave, Portland
4. The People's Pig3217 N. Williams Ave, Portland
5. Reverend’s BBQ7712 SE 13th Ave, Portland
6. Smokehouse 21413 NW 21st, Portland
7. Smokehouse Tavern1401 SE Morrison St, Portland
8. Matt's BBQ4709 NE M L King Blvd, Portland
9. Road Runner BBQ5205 SE Foster Rd, Portland
10. Daddy D's Southern Style BBQ7204 NE Fourth Plain Blvd, Vancouver
11. Podnah's Pit BBQ1625 NE Killingsworth St, Portland
12. A Little Bit Of SmokeSw 9th & Alder food cart pod, Portland
This resto is making Newberg more than a place to stop for gas on the way to wine country with great Texas-style brisket, as well as ribs that put all those in Portland to shame. We think that Storrs Smokehouse serves up the best barbecue in Portland, therefore you need to add this place to your Portland food bucket list.
You may roll your eyes at the thought of driving out to Lake Oswego for decent barbecue, but hear us out. This place serves up some fantastic down-home barbecue, and they make some of the best side dishes you can eat in Portland. Let's be honest, side dishes are where it's at.
It may seemed far fetched to go to a restaurant off the highway that specialized in rotisserie meats to get great barbecue, but the food at The Coop needs to be eaten to be believed. Their delicious, slow-cooked meats and full meat platters will have you thinking you've gone to barbecue heaven.
Housed inside a weathered shack in Eliot, The People's Pig serves near-sinful barbecue, including a next-level smoked fried chicken sandwich that requires you wear anything but white. The crispy-skinned chicken thighs are smoked to perfection and coated in a house-made jalapeño jelly that you'll want to lick every last dollop of and jar for yourself. While this hefty creation is the star (did we mention it's served on charred sourdough?), there are plenty of pig-centric options too, like baby back ribs and pork shoulder. Meat isn't everything here though, considering the cast-iron cornbread trickled with honey will visit your dreams for nights to come.
The team behind Laurelhurst Market brings you this BBQ joint in Sellwood, offering an array of draft cocktails. Featuring the usual assortment of smoked meats and typical Southern sides, you’ll find some of their more creative dishes on the sandwich side of things. Their best bite very well may be the buttermilk-soaked fried chicken.
Famous for its succulent smoked meats of all kinds ranging from cow to lamb, served with your choice of sauce and sides like mac and cheese or pickled veggies. We think that Smokehouse 21 serves up some of the best barbecue dishes in Portland, and we highly recommend that you stop by and check them out.
Expect sloppy barbecue you know and love from Smokehouse 21. It's not a bad place to catch a Blazer game either. According to locals, Smokehouse Tavern serves up some of the best barbecue in Portland, and we can't help but agree.
This new food truck on the scene serves up barbecue, Texas style; picture heaping smoked ribs, tangy colesaw, and savory plates of brisket. Matt usually sells out fast, so hoof it next time you're nearby his truck.
It’s a cart in a sleepy pod fairly deep into Southeast, but they've got great sliced brisket and spice BBQ. As far as locals are concerned, Road Runner BBQ is the only place to go if you want phenomenal barbecue in Portland. You need to get here and try their menu as soon as possible!
Yes, Daddy D's may not be in Portland (or even in Oregon), but it is still one of the best places to get BBQ in the Portland area. The Louisiana-style barbecue here is worth crossing the river for, and not barbecue spot in the city compares to Daddy D's.
Podnah's Pit's a smoked meat temple in Portland with BBQ styles emulating Carolina and Texas. According to locals, there is no finer barbecue fare in Portland than the dishes served up a Podnah's, and we can't help but agree. Their ribs and brisket are as close to perfect as barbecue can be.
The pulled pork at this place is great. Slightly smoky but incredibly moist, add one of their tangy sauces (mustard or vinegar based) and die happy. We can't get enough of the barbecue here at A Little Bit of Smoke, and we would go so far as to say that they serve the best barbecue in Portland.