When people in Texas and the Deep South refer to “gas station food,” they often don’t mean Little Debbie’s and hot dogs that have been nuclear-powered from space. In certain localities, gas stations provide the greatest food in town, including delectable barbecue, tacos, chilli, and fried chicken. Don’t let Daddy D’s Shell station location fool you; pitmaster Donnie Vercher’s low-and-slow-smoked pork prepared in the manner of Louisiana is the best the Northwest has to offer. Furthermore, the quantities are far larger than at some of Portland’s more well-known restaurants. The choice between brisket, chicken, or ribs is difficult. The 3-meat combination is an excellent value.
The Smokin’ Oak Pit
Following the launch of The Smokin’ Oak Pit in 2017, Vancouver residents no longer had to go over the Columbia River to Northeast Portland to savour tender, smokey Texas-style brisket. The brisket is the star of the show here, but the daily specials may also include speciality favourites like pork belly, beef rib, and smoked meatloaf. On site diners over 21 can enjoy the amply stocked full bar, younger folks and families with kids have their own dining section.
Vegan barbecue was popularised in Portland by the upbeat, colourful café that offers imitation meats such smoked tempeh ribs with hush puppies, barbecue beans, and “macnocheese.” The vegan barbecue plate is usually a sure thing, but regulars often choose sandwiches or burritos with macnocheese and smoky soy curls. It is available for dine-in, takeaway, and delivery from Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Podnah’s Pit BBQ
When Podnah’s was established in 2006 by Rodney Muirhead, he raised the profile of Portland’s barbecue sector. It remains a well-liked location for smoked meats more than ten years later, with the Pitboss Platter serving as the greatest illustration. The monster platter includes brisket prepared in the Texas manner, pulled pork prepared in the Carolina style, ribs, a sausage link, two sides, and cornbread. Podnah’s is open from Wednesday through Sunday for takeaway, delivery, and outdoor dining.
Do you really believe there is place for one more meat smoker in the congested barbecue corridor between North Interstate and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard? Wonderboy offers their smoked meats in a traditional meat-plus-sides format, or incorporated into loaded BBQ nachos, tacos, or a wild “mac and meat” featuring queso, pickled peppers, and green onions with choice of smoked meat. Similar to home-made sauces, house-made sauces include tart raspberry and mango pineapple sauces. With sporadic openings on Tuesday or Wednesday, Wonderboy’s is normally open Thursday through Monday. The Killingsworth Station pod has a small amount of seats where you may eat takeout or barbeque.
The bright green Verajames truck, which has recently moved from East Portland to its new location next to Stoopidburger on NE 42nd, is a hidden gem soul food spot that serves favourites like collard greens and fried catfish. The succulent, charred ribs and wickedly juicy grilled chicken are favourites among barbecue enthusiasts. There is a little amount of outdoor seating, and it is available Tuesday through Saturday from Noon to 8 p.m. for takeaway and delivery.
Kee’s #Loaded Kitchen
Kee’s #Loaded Kitchen is not, strictly, a barbecue-only food cart. But on the frequent occasions smoked brisket or pulled pork graces Kee’s dinner plates, it’s far too good not to include on this list, forging a mighty combo of expert smoking and downright magical sauce-work. Chef Kiuna Nelson is not kidding when it comes to “loaded,” these plates are stacked — so come hungry. Be advised that this popular destination can sell out early, particularly on nice-weather days. # Kee’s is typically open Thursdays through Sundays, but check the instagram account for the particulars.
Pitmaster Matt Vicedomini made his landscape-altering entrance to Portland’s barbecue scene, smoking Texas-style, pink-ringed brisket, marbled with fat and fall-apart tender. He currently runs a business out of the Prost Marketplace on Mississippi, has a site in Beaverton, and has dabbled in selling Thai cuisine and BBQ tacos. All Texas-style meats, including brisket, turkey, pork belly, jalapeño sausage, and beef ribs, are available in half- or full-pound servings and may only be ordered in advance. Alongside these meats are Matt’s signature sauces, like the tangy peach mustard and spicy-sweet cherry chipotle. Seven days a week, Matt’s BBQ is available for takeaway, delivery, and outdoor eating at the pod.
Miss Delta Restaurant and Bar
Although there are many places to eat in North Mississippi, this quaint Southern establishment serves a variety of southern favourites including po’boys, catfish sandwiches, gumbo, and barbecue that is notably smokey. The Miss Delta Meats, a $34 pick-three of pulled pork, baby back ribs, andouille sausage, blackened chicken, or brisket, is the best value option here. This is big, oak-smoked flavor with a barbecue sauce that hits tangy with lingering pepper notes. Miss Delta is accessible for dine-in, delivery, and takeaway from Thursday through Monday.
Southern Kitchen PDX
Southern Kitchen offers Georgia-style Southern comfort cuisine right on Mississippi Street’s southern end. The menu here includes much more than just barbecue, but the incredibly saucy spare ribs merit the trip on their own. The sides and other alternatives, particularly the golden hush puppies and crispy-fried fish, go naturally well with the ribs. Open from Wednesday through Sunday for delivery and takeaway, as well as for dining at the cart pod’s covered tables.
The People’s Pig
Cliff Allen started serving barbecue in this town from a cart before moving into the permanent location on North Williams in 2014. Here, smoked chicken and pig are the main attractions, along with uncommon dishes like porchetta and leg of lamb. The sauce is sweet and mostly made of tomatoes. There is seating both inside and outside, and the décor is an interesting mix of rustic and 1940s diner. The Pig is accessible for dine-in, takeaway, and delivery from Thursday through Sunday.
Pitmaster Kevin Koch opened Lawless BBQ as a kind of ghost kitchen before relocating into the Little Beast Beer Garden in October 2021. Koch learned how to produce the Kansas City-style barbecue of his youth by practising on himself. His Kansas City-style barbecue sauces are served there with delicious ribs, flavorful brisket, and the restaurant’s famous pulled pork. Lawless may shine the brightly in its sides, however. Koch spent a lot of time and effort refining each side because he was certain that foods like slaw, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad could compete with meatier main courses. The results speak for themselves. Every day of the week, Lawless serves meat for takeaway and outdoor dining on Little Beast’s large patio.
After relocating from a food cart in Northwest Portland, Botto’s BBQ is currently operating at the old Pok Pok Wing location on SE Milwaukie Ave with its “salt, pepper, and smoke” philosophy. The cheesy brisket hash is a must, even if the juicily tender brisket and ooey mac & cheese are the primary draws here. Additionally smoked over white wood at Botto’s are turkey, kielbasa, and carnitas chile verde. It is accessible for takeaway and outdoor eating from Wednesday through Sunday.
Bark City BBQ
Bark City BBQ, which has just moved to the food carts at John’s Marketplace on SE Powell, is somewhat reminiscent of Carolina-style barbecues and uses a lot of South Carolina mustard sauce and North Carolina vinegar-based sauce. But its Oregon-oak-smoked meats bring local flavor into favor, from slabs of tender brisket with bright pink smoke rings to saucy chopped pork. There is seating available at the Taps and Garden Bar, and it is open from Wednesday through Sunday for takeaway and delivery.
Wolf’s Head Smokehouse
While Beaverton’s diverse cart pod BG’s Food Cartel is home to not one, but two great barbecue carts, we like Wolf’s Head for its variety of stellar sauces and meticulous smoking technique. Jason Wittek and Roy Doty, two expert pitmasters, serve burned ends, brisket, ribs, chopped pork and sausage, and blend barbecue techniques from Texas and the Carolinas. With its variety of burgers, sandwiches, and even a brisket burrito loaded with mac & cheese, Wolf’s Head stands out. BG’s has seating, and it is now available for walk-up orders from Wednesday through Sunday.
From the team behind Laurelhurst Market, this family-friendly Sellwood restaurant brings Carolina-style chopped pork shoulder alongside barbecue favorites like St. Louis-style ribs and smoked brisket from Brandt Beef. The underrated success is the silky, creamy grilled polenta with creamed corn and tasso ham, while it also fries chicken and veers into Creole territory with andouille sausages, hush puppies, and chicken and sausage gumbo. Smoked tempeh sandwiches, meatless sides, and salads are available for vegetarians. Daily dining options at Reverend’s include indoor and outdoor seating on the terrace, takeaway, and delivery.
This kid-friendly Sellwood restaurant serves Carolina-style chopped pork shoulder in addition to barbecue classics like St. Louis-style ribs and smoked brisket from Brandt Beef. It comes from the same team as Laurelhurst Market. The smooth, creamy grilled polenta with creamed corn and tasso ham is an underrated delight, but it also fries chicken and ventures into Creole cuisine with andouille sausages, hush puppies, and chicken and sausage gumbo. Smoked tempeh sandwiches, salads, and sides without meat are available for vegetarians. Daily dine-in, patio, takeaway, and delivery options are available at Reverend’s from noon to 9 p.m.