Food & Drink

15 Barbecue Places Worth Trying in Portland

Bark City, Holy Trinity, and More
May 18, 2021
Holy Trinity Barbecue's name refers to the sacred trio of pork ribs, brisket, and sausage. (Molly MacAlpine)

As the weather warms up, and picnics become more common, few foods are more ideal for an al fresco meal than barbecue. We've compiled this list of Portland joints worth your time, from the Texas-style Holy Trinity Barbecue to the clever vegan Homegrown Smoker. Grab some takeout and head to your favorite park or beach for a memorable moveable feast. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

Bark City BBQ
The Portland Mercury's Andrea Damewood writes, "Virginia native Michael Keskin’s Bark City BBQ features a pig in its logo, but you can order any meat on the menu and walk away happy. I’m not usually one for pulled pork, but Keskin’s is juicy without being too greasy and dodges the overly salty flavor typical of the medium. Smoked turkey is juicy with a snap of cracked pepper over the top and perfect when dipped in the housemade white Alabama barbecue sauce. And don’t sleep on the pickled avocados, which cut the rich meat and are unlike any other way you’ve had Millennials’ Favorite Fruit™."
Southeast
Pickup or delivery

Botto's BBQ
Andrea Damewood writes, "Botto’s opened in 2016 to much acclaim, especially for its brisket and ribs, done up in the Austin, Texas-style that owner Darren Bottinelli loves. It closed when Bottinelli went to the minimum-security Sheridan Federal Correctional Institute, convicted of stealing $3 million from his former healthcare funds management company. Botto’s reopened this year, and the barbecue remains as good as I remember, especially the lean brisket cuts with a kick of housemade sauce. The smoked turkey and a side of broccoli and cauliflower casserole were both a bit sogged down with grease, but it’s nothing a side of pickled veggies couldn’t cure."
Southeast
Pickup, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating

Daddy D's Southern Style BBQ
This barbecue joint with a location housed inside a Shell gas station in Vancouver and another outpost in Woodland has gained a loyal following for its heartily portioned pulled pork, beef brisket, barbecue chicken, and ribs. Louisiana-born owner and third-generation grillmaster Donnie Vercher learned the craft of barbecue from his father and is now passing the tradition on to his son. Be sure to save room for dessert—Vercher's family recipe sweet potato pie and 7-Up pound cake are equally mouthwatering.
Vancouver, Woodland
Pickup or delivery

Dinner Bell Barbecue
Tucked away inside the Flying Tortoise food cart pod, this cart earns rave reviews for its affordable prices, large portions, and high quality. Round out your meal with some cheesy grits and collard greens. 
Northeast
Pickup or outdoor seating

Eem
This wildly popular Thai barbecue spot, run by Shipwreck owner Eric Nelson, Langbaan and Hat Yai owner Earl Ninsom, and Matt's BBQ owner Matt Vicedomini, has enjoyed plenty of praise from local media. As Andrea Damewood writes, "Eem is the restaurant equivalent of Lizzo: infectious, critically and commercially acclaimed, and addictive AF. You cannot go wrong in ordering, from the hot fried cauliflower to the divine brisket in white curry to the fried rice with burnt ends. And both the cocktails and mocktails are some of the best in town—my favorite piña colada, made with coffee and salt to keep it from being too cloying, is on the menu again." 
Northeast
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating

Holy Trinity Barbecue
Andrea Damewood writes, "Texas-native ’cue master Kyle Rensmeyer hawks the 'Texas trinity' referenced in his business’ name: pork ribs, brisket, and sausage. Located in the parking lot of the former Original Taco House next to all-star newcomer cart Jojo, Rensmeyer has been selling out of his excellent selections nearly every day. My money is on the ribs, which are totally worth messing up your fingertips while sitting at a picnic table that’s nowhere near any running water. I dig the cheesy grits, but the wise move would be to bring a friend and order jojos, fried chicken, AND barbecue—and then have 911 on speed dial."
Southeast
Pickup or delivery

Homegrown Smoker
Barbecue isn't just for carnivores: This vegan barbecue spot has attracted attention for its robust plant-based takes on comforting Southern classics, such as smoked tempeh ribs, barbecue soy curls, and creamy "macnocheese."
North
Pickup, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating

Lawless Barbecue
This takeout and delivery-only kitchen slings slow hardwood-smoked, Kansas City-style barbecue. The menu includes hearty comfort food such as Frito chili pie, smoked and fried wings, burgers, brisket banh mi sandwiches, panko mac and cheese, carnitas tacos, ribs, and banana pudding.
Southeast
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating

Matt's BBQ and Matt's BBQ Tacos
Andrea Damewood writes, "When native Long Islander Matt Vicedomini opened his Texas-style barbecue cart in a weird empty lot off Northeast MLK in 2015, the game changed. The brisket is a *chef’s kiss* of sweet tenderness and a bark that would make an oak jealous. Now located next to Prost on North Mississippi, make sure you get there early, as Matt’s usually sells out." She's also a huge fan of the business's sibling cart Matt's BBQ Tacos: "Is it wrong that my favorite thing about this all-day smoked meat taco joint with lines down the block are the flour tortillas? Made with lard, they’re soft, supple, and absolutely perfect. But it certainly doesn’t hurt that the smoked meats within claim Matt’s pedigree, made all the better with the addition of eggs, potato, and cheese at breakfast. The migas, with eggs, pico de gallo, cheese, guac, and tortilla chips are available all day, and for a good reason. Go early and often: These babies tend to sell out pretty quick, especially with that national media spotlight."
North, Southeast
Pickup, delivery, or limited indoor seating

P & S Premium Smokehouse
This self-styled "family reunion-style barbecue" truck behind Uwajimaya in Beaverton takes its inspiration from the meaty feasts at owners Patrick and Siri Freeman's childhood family gatherings. Grab a combo with offerings like St. Louis ribs, beef brisket, chicken, smoked sausage, and hot links, or opt for a sandwich, like the signature "The Gooch" (chopped beef brisket, pulled pork, hot links, pork belly, coleslaw, and a "secret drizzle").
Beaverton
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating

The People's Pig
Cliff Allen's food truck-turned-restaurant serves up all the usual barbecue suspects, including pork shoulder, beef brisket, and St. Louis ribs, in addition to porchetta, smoked lamb, and a killer smoked and fried chicken sandwich, topped with spicy mayo, jalapeño jelly, and fresh salad greens.
Northeast
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating

Podnah's Pit BBQ
Patrons flock to Rodney Muirhead's Texas-style barbecue haven for its array of Oregon wood-smoked meats. If you really mean business, go for "The Pitboss," which feeds two to three people and includes brisket, pulled pork, two pork ribs, one sausage link, cornbread, and a choice of two sides. The restaurant also tucks brisket, carnitas, and smoked chicken verde into tacos, using tortillas made in-house with Three Sisters Nixtamal.
Northeast
Pickup, delivery, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating

Reverend's BBQ
This Sellwood smokehouse offers St. Louis ribs, Carolina-style chopped pork shoulder, and sliced beef brisket as well as fried chicken. For vegans and vegetarians, there's also smoked tempeh. The popular "Good Reverend" sandwich comes stuffed with burnt brisket ends, pimento cheese, house pickles, crisp iceberg, mayo, and fried onions.
Southeast
Pickup, delivery, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating

Road Runner BBQ
A painted likeness of The Simpson's Chief Wiggum is the unofficial mascot presiding over this Texas-style barbecue cart, which was launched by Texas transplant and retired meat cutter Jim Hart in 2012 and taken over by his daughter Tammy after he passed away in 2017. Fans line up for the mesquite-smoked meats accompanied by classic sides like mac and cheese and coleslaw.
Southeast
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating

Wolf's Head Smokehouse
In addition to brisket, Carolina-style chopped pork, Kansas-style pork belly burnt ends, pastrami, and Memphis-style pork spare ribs served with a variety of housemade sauces, this Beaverton cart also offers burritos packed with brisket burnt ends and mac and cheese. There's also a solid smash burger on the menu.
Beaverton
Pickup, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating