Reader Survey 2012: Best Restaurant in Portland #18 Podnah’s Pit

Podnah's Prime Rib

Podnah’s Prime Rib

To some people, the sides that are served with barbecue are almost as important as the meat. Barbecue is heavily regionalized: just look at the differences between cornbread recipes from different areas of the country. Order a plate and you’ll get a choice of two sides; the selection makes me feel like I’m back at a potluck on the ranch. Of course the main event is the meat.

Most of the meats are central Texas barbecue style.  The ribs are dry rubbed instead of being slathered with sauce as some people might expect. There is a good balance of mellow bark, meat and fat on the bones. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, “bark” is the flavorful crust that forms when meat is smoked for a long period. A slightly spicy vinegar sauce, a yellow mustard-vinegar sauce, and a sweeter, thicker BBQ sauce, is served on the side. Rodney says they are Brian’s recipes from the original LOW restaurant which inspired Podnah’s.

Podnahs BBQ Portland Ribs


Though it isn’t Texas BBQ, Rodney added pulled pork to placate folks from other areas. It is thickly torn – moist and full of smokey, piggy flavor. The meat is tossed with a spicy vinegar sauce, giving it a bit of a kick.

Podnah’s brisket doesn’t disappoint. The beef is cooked to the point where the edges have a light, crispy, smoky bark. There is just the right amount of fat, which melts into the meat, giving it flavor without being overwhelming. This is the best brisket I’ve had outside of Texas.

The ribs come to the table juicy and hot, again with an excellent bark. Rodney knows how to bring out a good balance of smoke flavor without going too far. As with the brisket, there is enough fat to give them moisture, but not enough to make you worry whether your cardiologist is working late that night.

It’s difficult to go wrong at Podnah’s. Order things that pull distant memories from the recesses of your mind; you’ll be happy. A full review, along with my memories of Texas, can be found here.

  • Address: 1625 NE Killingsworth St., Portland OR 97211  Map
  • Phone: (503) 281-3700
  • Website:
  • Hours: Breakfast Sat & Sun 9am-1pm. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:am-5pm Sat & Sun 12pm-5pm. Dinner Sun-Thur 5pm-9pm, Fri & Sat 5pm-10pm
  • Happy Hour: n/a
  • Reservation Policy: n/a
  • Noise Level: moderate
  • Price: low/moderate
  • Social: Twitter

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. says

    Don’t we share some Texas roots …or am I mistaken ? This place is the real deal ; but I can remember going to Kreitz Market in Lockhart in 1954 ! The only thing is… Podnah’s is too pretty! I want stinky ol’ smoky walls , cases of Lone Star , Grand Prize ,and Pearl beer stacked against the wall . Behind the counter is a sweaty guy wielding a huge butcher knife , whacking away on a chunk of oak of questionable age – dripping with juices from Texas Hot links , brisket and ribs!. RP

  2. Jake says

    “than go back to friggin tejas”

    Ahh, nice to see that the typical Portland response to even the most slightly negative opinion is alive and well.

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