Classic ribs and a pulled pork sandwich served at Botto’s Barbecue. The restaurant has a nostalgic 80’s feel, and the food does not disappoint. Photo Via Joseph Howitt
There’s no doubt that Portland is a foodie paradise, serving a thriving culinary scene that caters to all tastes and preferences. When it comes to barbecue, however, there are some spots that shine above the rest. Barbecue has long been a very popular and important staple in American Southern cuisine, and is one of the best meals for a bright Portland summer. While there is no shortage of amazing restaurants in Portland, nothing beats a great brisket sandwich and baked beans. Here are some of the best barbecue spots in Portland:
Botto’s Barbecue, located on 3120 SE Milwaukie Ave, was introduced only a couple years ago, and is already very popular amongst food reviewers and barbecue enthusiasts in the city. Botto’s serves a classic Texas-style menu, and offers many different options for sides and dessert. The brisket and ribs combo is one of the best there is in Portland, and almost any meat can be offered on a sandwich as well. “The meat was perfectly tender, and the sauce had a great balance between sweet and spicy. However [the] mac and cheese was very rich, and kind of hard to eat a large serving of,” says Franklin culinary student of four years, Taz Kern (12). Each batch of smoked meats is prepared early in the morning, and sells out fairly quickly, as is the case with most barbecue spots. Botto’s Barbecue is relatively cheap compared to the prices of most other barbecue places. So if you’re looking for a quick, high quality lunch, Botto’s Barbecue is the place to go.
Podnah’s Pit BBQ
Next up is the classic Podnah’s Pit BBQ, located on Killingsworth in North Portland. Opened in 2006, Podnah’s has always been very popular in the Portland food scene. “Even though they were all out of the ribs, the brisket and mac and cheese were the best I have tried yet,” states Finn Hanrahan (12). Podnah’s offers a wide array of classic barbecue items, and is known throughout the West Coast for their brisket. The only downside to Podnah’s menu is the fact that the restaurant runs out of select items very quickly. As our party arrived at around 6, many popular meats were already long gone. We ended up ordering a half pound of brisket, two hot links, the barbecued chicken wings (my personal favorite), mac and cheese, baked beans and coleslaw. The prices were a little higher than expected, but very worth the experience; I would definitely recommend a trip to Podnah’s.
Matt’s BBQ Tacos
Matt’s BBQ Tacos, which is a food cart located only blocks away from Franklin High School, is one of my favorite barbecue spots in the whole city. Offering a classic Tex-Mex menu of barbecued items, Matt’s is widely known for its tacos and sides, which are definitely very worth the popularity. The only downside to Matt’s is the price. After winning 2019 Portland’s Food Cart of the Year, Matt’s BBQ got the attention that it deserved, and opened up two locations, located on Alberta St, and SE 50th Ave. Popular menu items include tacos stuffed with classic barbecue meat, like brisket and pork belly, many different sides and homemade pickled vegetables and guacamole. “Matt’s is like one of my favorite places to eat in Portland, I don’t even care that I spend 20 dollars there every time,” states Finn Hanrahan. “The brisket taco is definitely recommended,” he shares.
To wrap up the must-try spots, you will have to take a journey to Sellwood and eat at Reverend’s BBQ, which is one of the biggest places for tourists and Portlanders alike. Opened in 2014, Reverend’s has been serving Sellwood inhabitants with high quality barbecue in a rustic environment. My personal favorite item from Reverend’s is the chicken, either barbecued or fried. The potato salad and baked beans come in a fantastic side-combo to compliment any dinner item, and the sauces offered at every table are sublime. If you are looking for an original barbecue taste, it is impossible to go wrong with Reverend’s.
Portland has some excellent barbecue spots, with something to suit every taste. Whether you’re in the mood for Texas-style brisket or Memphis-style ribs, you won’t be disappointed with these top picks. So grab a bib and get ready to indulge in some of the best barbecue around.