Am home in Oregon for a couple weeks. I'm particularly excited about this visit as my buddy Hock also happens to be in-state, doing a temporary cheffing stint in Portland, and via his numerous visits to Thailand, I've become good friends with Andy, chef/owner of Portland restaurants Pok Pok, Whiskey Soda Lounge and Ping.
One of my first meals in at home was at Podnah's, a Texas-style barbecue joint in NE Portland where Hock was doing his stage:
I grew up in the US, but haven't really been much of anywhere outside of the west coast, and my understanding of barbecue -- like that of many Americans -- began and ended at backyard-style grilled meats. Southern- and Texas-style barbecue is a different beast altogether, and involves smoking -- not grilling -- meats over a low temperature for several hours. It was this unique technique that Hock came to Oregon learn.
The kind folks at Podnah's put together a something of a sampler platter spanning their best barbecue (pictured at the top of this post): pork ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket. Apparently the pork ribs are a highlight, but I preferred the slight fattiness of the beef brisket. The pulled pork, served on slices of white bread, was also very good, and like all the meats, had a flavour and texture more in common with smoked than grilled food. The meats were accompanied by some tasty in-house made sauces, ranging from a smokey/spicy chili-based sauce to a tart vinegar-based one that I really enjoyed.
I particularly enjoyed the sides, which included a crunchy potato salad, baked beans, excellent savoury cornbread and possibly my favourite dish of the meal, something called Frito chili pie:
a spicy, bean-free chili served over Fritos corn chips and topped with cheese and thin slices of onion.
It was all a bit meat overload for me, but I really enjoyed the meal, particularly the communal serving style, which I thought had much in common with Asian-style dining.
Podnah's Pit Barbecue 1469 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR (503) 281-3700