Hunting Down The Best BBQ In Portland Oregon For 2022

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Written By John @ The Portlandist

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Despite Portland’s considerable distance from the country’s traditional BBQ hubs—Texas, Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis and the Carolinas—this category of cuisine is surprisingly well-represented in the Rose City. In recent years, Portland has witnessed the launch of dozens of food carts, casual cafés and even a handful of high-end establishments serving slow-smoked meats, indulgent side dishes and even vegan BBQ offerings. Next time you’re craving tender brisken, fall-off-the-bone ribs or tangy stewed greens, grab a hearty appetite and head to one of our picks for the best BBQ in Portland. 

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The Best BBQ in Portland Oregon

Below is our picks for the top 10 best BBQ in Portland Oregon. To snap directly to a specific location, please click the corresponding link in the list below.

  1. Podnah’s BBQ
  2. Reverend’s BBQ
  3. The People’s Pig
  4. Bark City BBQ
  5. Homegrown Smoker
  6. LawLess BBQ
  7. Wonderboy’s Smoke Stack
  8. Miss Delta Restaurant and Bar
  9. Matt’s BBQ
  10. Botto’s BBQ

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10. Podnah’s BBQ

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Named for his cherished grandfather, Podnah’s Pit is owner Rodney Muirhead’s labor of love. He began his career as a pit master working as part of a two-man traveling duo known as L.O.W. BBQ; after they sold the business, he worked at several other esteemed Portland dining institutions before realizing his dream of opening his own BBQ restaurant in 2006.  

The Texas native draws heavily on his Lone Star roots in his BBQ methods, although he has been known to prepare Carolina-style meats on occasion in response to customer requests. Muirhead fires up the BBQ pit daily at 5 a.m., smoking only enough meat for that day’s service—and when it’s gone, it’s gone. 

With that in mind, grab a friend or two and get to Podnah’s Pit early to indulge in the Pit Boss, a generous platter that includes a quarter-pound each of brisket and pulled pork, two pork ribs, one sausage link, cornbread and two side selections, with options like potato salad, coleslaw, Texas caviar, refried black beans, BBQ beans, collard greens and green chile mac and cheese. If you’re dining solo, consider a brisket sandwich or an order of Podnah’s tacos, which showcase the unmistakable flavor of Muirhead’s smoked brisket, carnitas or chicken and are served street-style on homemade corn tortillas.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-281-3700
1625 NE Killingsworth Street, Portland, Oregon 97211


9. Reverend’s BBQ

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Powered by the same team that helms Laurelhurst Market, this welcoming Sellwood establishment features a variety of BBQ styles as well as comfort food classics. Start your meal with an order of deviled eggs or hush puppies as you conquer the impossible choice of narrowing down your order. The St. Louis-style ribs are dry-rubbed, smoked and basted with tomato-based Ozark BBQ sauce and can be ordered as a whole or half-rack as well as part of a platter meal with one side at lunch and two at dinner. Other platter options include Carolina-style chopped pork shoulder, sliced beef brisket and even smoked tempeh for vegan diners; paired with a hearty side like creamy potato salad or griddled polenta with creamed corn and tasso ham, you’re guaranteed to leave with a blissfully full belly. 

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-327-8755
7712 SE 13th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97202


8.The People’s Pig

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From his early days manning a food cart to the establishment of a permanent location on North Williams Avenue in 2014, pit master Cliff Allen has perfected a simple but flawlessly-executed menu of meats and sides. After hours spent smoking over a bed of Oregon white oak, meats are sliced and sold in half- and full-pound portions, with selections running the gamut from traditional pork shoulder and St. Louis-style ribs to less-common offerings like leg of lamb and porchetta. The slate of creative sandwiches includes sliced smoked chicken thigh garnished with spicy mayo, jalapeño jelly and salad greens and served on a freshly-made sourdough roll; sandwiches come with one side, such collard greens stewed in pork broth with spicy vinegar or Allen’s “extra cheesy” mac and cheese. Be sure to add a wedge of cornbread to your order; served with wildflower honey, it’s a treat almost worthy of being called dessert. 

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-282-2800
3217 N Williams Avenue,, Portland, Oregon 97227


7. Bark City BBQ

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This friendly food cart is the realm of owner Michael Keskin, who originally hails from Virginia but credits his travels throughout the South with influencing his style as a pit master. His first BBQ experience as an adolescent in Washington, D.C. had such a profound impact on his palate that he recreated the flavors on his current menu; the DC Streets dish features a half-pound of Memphis dry-rubbed pork ribs layered on grilled white bread and drizzled with signature house BBQ sauce. 

Keskin slow-smokes his meats over locally-sourced Oregon oak, serving them as part of a tray, as a sandwich or by the pound. His Texas-style prime brisket is available sliced with a salt and pepper dry rub or chopped and doused in sauce, with the addition of pickled BBQ onions, Texas candied jalapenos and choice of two sides to fill out the tray. If you’re craving a variety of options, try the Pit Master Nap ($28), a gargantuan platter of ribs, chopped chicken, pulled pork, a sausage link and an optional quarter-pound of brisket for a relatively modest upcharge. On Wednesdays, you can sample the “Barky Burger,” a juicy patty made from a custom blend of smoked brisket and pork belly and topped with cheddar, pickles, lettuce, caramelized onion and Barky sauce, all precariously balanced inside a toasted bun. 

Side selections include BBQ beans, coleslaw, jalapeno mac and cheese with bacon, pickled avocadoes and potato salad. If you somehow manage to have room for dessert after the meat sweats subside, choose from the decadent banana pudding milkshake or the classic root beer float.

Email | Instagram | Web | (971)-258-4411
3582 SE Powell Boulevard, Portland, OR 97202


6. Homegrown Smoker

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This cheerful eatery caters primarily to a vegan audience, with creative offerings like the BBQ Soycurl Sando, a hearty pretzel bun packed with smoked soy curls glazed with house-made BBQ sauce and crowned with coleslaw and pickles. In addition to a handful of BBQ-influenced dishes, popular menu items include the Mac Daddy Chick’n Sando, a Mockingbird fried chick’n patty smothered with mac and cheese and chipotle mayo, and the Philthy Nocheesesteak, a hoagie roll stuffed with smoked beif seitan, grilled peppers and onions, mozzarella, cheddar, chipotle aioli, and nocheese sauce.

Pair your sandwich, burger or burrito with one of five side items—cole slaw, collard greens, mac and cheese, hush puppies and BBQ baked beans—and save some room for something from the impressive dessert menu, with several flavors of cheesecake as well as s’mores bars and brownie a la mode.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-686-1214
8638 N Lombard Street, Portland, Oregon 97203


5. Lawless BBQ

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Tucked into the beer garden at Little Beast Brewing, Lawless has amassed a considerable following in its relatively brief existence. Pit master Kevin Koch specializes in Kansas City-style BBQ, imparting a unique flavor to his juicy brisket, impossibly tender ribs and savory pulled pork with his house-made sauces.  

Each menu item has been carefully crafted down to the smallest detail, from the BBQ nachos (a heap of Juanita’s tortilla chips smothered in mac and cheese sauce, smoked pulled pork, KC Sweet BBQ sauce, bacon, green onion, Alabama sauce and a side of pickled jalapeños) to the pulled pork sandwich (a generous helping of 13-hour smoked pork shoulder, IPA pickles, vinegar slaw, KC Sweet BBQ sauce and Carolina Gold Mustard sauce on a butter-toasted brioche bun). Both sandwiches and meat plates are served with your choice of side item, all of which are prepared with equal care and creativity: BBQ beans with pulled pork, loaded potato salad, mac and cheese with toasted panko, vinegar slaw with candied pecans and southern-style collard greens. End your meal on a sweet note with Koch’s banana pudding, a decadent concoction of creamy vanilla pudding studded with bananas and topped with candied pecans, vanilla bean whipped cream and Nilla Wafers.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-208-2723
3412 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97202


4. Wonderboy’s Smoke Stack

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This high-spirited food cart features a palate-pleasing mix of smoked meats and high-quality side dishes, with everything prepared fresh on-location daily. Platter options include Belly Bites, a generous helping of pork belly chunks topped with your choice of house-made sauces, cornbread and two sides; highlights of the sandwich menu include the Pulled Porkland, a cheese-toasted bun topped with slow-smoked pork, honey mustard slaw, homemade pickled peppers and BBQ sauce. 

Though the list of side dishes is limited to potato salad, coleslaw, mac and cheese and chips, each one is meticulously crafted, with surprising attention to detail. The mac and cheese is a decadent blend of cavatappi noodles and cheddar cheese queso, crowned with cheese crumbles and a sprinkling of green onions; the chips are freshly-cut from real potatoes and flash-fried on the cart, then served with the cart’s signature queso. 

The care the Wonderboy’s team takes in preparing its dishes is obvious, making for a dining experience that transcends typical food cart fare. 

Email | Instagram | Web | (971)-363-7956
5916 N Greeley Avenue, Portland OR 97217


3. Miss Delta Restaurant and Bar

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Nestled in the heart of the historic Mississippi District, Miss Delta’s menu is a comprehensive roll call of classic Southern dishes, with BBQ front and center. Slow-smoked over oak wood, the restaurant’s brisket, burnt ends, pulled pork, ribs, chicken breasts and thighs and andouille sausage are sold in quarter-pound increments or part of a platter with two sides (collard greens, mashers, cheese grits, mac and cheese, red beans and rice and coleslaw) and cornbread. If you’re feeding a crowd, order one of Delta’s meal deals; the “Meat Sweats” feast features a mixed green salad, ribs, brisket, pulled pork, sausage, mac and cheese, coleslaw and banana pudding.

In addition to BBQ, Miss Delta’s serves gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp and grits, po’ boys, fried chicken, catfish, fried okra, chicken and waffles and dozens of other staples straight from the Deep South.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-287-7629
3950 N Mississippi Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97227


2. Matt’s BBQ

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In 2015, pit master Matt Vicedomini began slinging his signature Texas-style BBQ from a humble food cart, quickly becoming a Portland legend whose empire has since expanded into tacos and Thai food (as well as a BBQ outpost in Beaverton). However, the BBQ food cart in the Prost Marketplace pod remains his crown jewel, where he slow-smokes meats daily over oak wood and frequently sells out of his most popular items well before the posted closing time. 

Most meats are sold in half-pound servings, including tender pulled pork, smoked turkey basted in melted butter, double-smoked pork belly tossed in mustard and brown sugar and a mix of lean and fatty brisket served sliced or chopped. All are served Southern-style on a tray with butcher paper, paired with pickles and warm sauce for dipping. A pair of sandwich options—chopped brisket and NC-style pulled pork—are also available, perfect for partnering with a side of potato salad, cole slaw, queso mac and cheese or pinto beans. If you happen to stop by on Saturday or Sunday, you can sample one of Matt’s weekend specials: armadillo eggs (jalapeno poppers wrapped in sausage meat and then smoked) or double-smoked, sweet and spicy brisket burnt ends—that is, if you get there early enough to beat the crowd.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-504-0870
4233 N Mississippi Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97217


1. Botto’s BBQ

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After achieving success as a Northwest Portland food cart, Botto’s BBQ put down brick-and-mortar roots on SE Milwaukie Avenue, taking over the space formerly occupied by Pok Wing. The eatery smokes its meats in small batches daily, so if you’re craving something specific, consider taking advantage of the next-day online pre-order option—otherwise, it’s possible they may sell out of your desired menu item before you arrive. 

Botto’s menu is a simple mix-and-match style array of various meats, sauces and sides; select from brisket, pulled pork, ribs, turkey and sausage and then decide if you prefer a tray of two or three meats served with two sides or a sandwich with one side. The creamy mac and cheese is a local favorite, but potato salad, cole slaw and pork and beans are all worthy competitors. The trio of sauce options includes tamarind, a rich sweet-and-sour blend that pairs well with turkey and pork; a savory Texas sauce that perfectly complements the beef brisket; and white sauce that combines the tang of vinegar with the spice of smoked habanero and a dash of creamy mayo to temper the heat. 

In addition to its daily menu, Botto’s offers a rotating roster of specials: prime rib served as a French dip sandwich on Wednesdays, brisket pastrami on Thursdays, beef ribs on Fridays, pork belly burnt ends on Saturdays and brisket burnt ends on Sundays. Keep an eye on their Instagram feed for surprise daily specials and sporadic menu additions like the indulgent BBQ Parfait, a heaping helping of mac and cheese layered with crispy onions and your choice of meat.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-206-6936
3120 SE Milwaukie Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97202


Our Final Thoughts: The Best BBQ in Portland Oregon

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