OK, I know this is the Texas BBQ Posse. But every now and then we discover the real deal outside of the Lone Star state and feel the need to tell you all about it. Such was the case when I visited Lonnie Ray’s BBQ in Harrisburg, Missouri, earlier this year.

Introducing Podnah’s Pit Barbecue in Portland, Oregon. Posse member Michael Ainsworth was vacationing in Portland recently and ended up at Podnah’s. Michael was the first Posse member to try Franklin BBQ, before the super long lines and signs announcing they were sold out of BBQ by noon. He knows great BBQ when he tastes it.

Michael sent a text from the dining room, proclaiming he had found brisket on the left coast that might be close to the same level as Franklin’s. I was skeptical, but then he sent the photos and explained the back story of Padnah’s.

Owner and pitmaster Rodney Muirhead is from Waxahachie, Texas. He opened Podnah’s in late 2006, but he’d already been smoking Texas style barbecue in Portland for almost four years on a pit-on-trailer, with hopes of opening his own place one day.

The story of naming the joint is explained on Podnah’s website: “To honor his Texas roots, he named it “Podnah’s Pit” after his grandfather’s nickname–“podnah” being Texan for partner. There’s a really simple explanation for Rodney’s success: he don’t mess with Texas. While many things have changed since Rodney started barbecuing back in 2003, there’s one thing that will always stay the same–relying on the barbecue methods of the Lone Star state.”

This is a serious Texas BBQ operation. Like Franklin BBQ, they have been recognized by Bon Appetit magazine as a great BBQ joint, no small fete. Podnah’s makes these promises to their customers:

“For Rodney and the rest of the pit crew this means:

—Getting up at 5:00 every morning to fire up the pit.
—Using honest oak hardwood in the firebox.
—Using high quality, natural meats.
—Preparing the food fresh daily.
—Never precooking the meat. It’s all slow smoked right there in the pit.
—Only cooking as much meat as the smoker will comfortably hold, and that’s about 200 pounds a day.
—When the meat’s gone, it’s gone. Until tomorrow at lunch time that is.
—They love making honest, slow-smoked, Texas style barbecue for their patrons.
—And they love their patrons too. So much so that they even make Carolina style pulled-pork for them.”

Podnah’s Pit Barbecue, 1625 NE Killingsworth, Portland, OR, 503-281-3700. Hours: Breakfast: Sat-Sun 9am-1pm, Lunch: Mon-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat-Sun Noon-5pm, Dinner: Mon-Sun 5pm-10pm.

Photos by Michael Ainsworth

Leave a comment



Anonymous

6 years ago

Having eaten at both, I can say that Podnah's is not on the same level as Franklin. Don't get me wrong, it's good BBQ with nice flavor and smoke, but not nearly as tender as Franklin.

Anonymous

6 years ago

Interesting. He used to cook everything on a Klose, but that last pic looks suspiciously like a Southern Pride, which we all know makes meh bbq.

extramsg

6 years ago

You and your stupid Southern Pride-ism. You can't even spot one. He uses an Ole Hickory now, I believe it's this model:

http://www.olehickorypits.com/PitModels/Model%20EL-ES.aspx

He wasn't using a Klose prior. They had built their own pit prior that had a grate over the woodbox for doing steaks, etc, and had both a barrel and vertical pit for smoking, if I remember right. Before that it was a barrel pit, which I believe they had also built themselves. When they moved it indoors in their new place, I assume they had to get something legal for using under a hood.

Two comments and both idiotic. The latter thinks that the smoker makes the BBQ rather than the pitmaster. The former thinks that tenderness is some sort of a-temporal character of a BBQ joint's BBQ — or even something difficult to obtain. Hell, I've gone to Blacks, Kreuz, and Smitty's twice each on the same day and gotten six very different orders of brisket. All were good to great, but no two the same.

Anonymous

6 years ago

Exactly. Previous smokers were all custom…it's the meat not the smoker, duh.

Anonymous

6 years ago

Extramsg: You must have some serious skin tied up in a Southern Pride "oven". You might own shares of stock in Southern Pride to even consider a machine could replace an authentic BBQ wood fired smoker & a real pit master that has skill, technique, timing, intuition – you know that cooks by touch & feel that is mastered through time and experience on a wood burning pit, not a machined oven that burns a few logs. Oyler's and Bewley's are "real" wood burning BBQ smokers that run on wood – not gas or electricity for their fuel sources.

Southern Pride, Ole Hickory, Cook Shack – they are all more or less the same technology – automated gas or electric fired "ovens" that are only capable of burning 1-3 wood logs during their "cook session" according to their owner's manual. They were invented as a shortcut approach to own a BBQ business, to copy a real BBQ pit smoker, to reduce labor costs, increase restaurant profits and increase production.

Extramsg – it's very obvious if one pays attention watching the pit masters at like the places in Central Texas you have visited. Of course these Southern Pride like "ovens" do have their time and place when quality is not as crucial. The smoker is only one part of producing good BBQ. One must posses the learned skills of a pit master. The application of good rubs is an art all by itself and without this, it really would not matter what kind of smoker one has. But to use rubs and marinates to compensate for a gas/electric fired "oven" cannot hardly make up for the real flavors, bark and texture imparted from a real wood burning BBQ smoker ….

Anonymous

6 years ago

Hello All,
Rodney from Podnah's Barbecue here. I would like to clear one thing up about my smoker. Yes it does have a gas connection and we use it start the fire in the morning at 5am. When the fire is lit the gas goes off and stays off the rest of the day. When we moved locations we didn't have the outdoor space we used to and the pit had to go inside the building. I needed something safer than the homemade pits I had been using for the previous 4 years. They do occasionally catch on fire. The reason I chose an Ole Hickory is because they have a firebox big enough to keep a real fire in. It is not the recommended way to do it according to the company but it works for me.
I won't get into the argument of whether my BBQ is as good as others but I do want to be clear that the meat on my smoker never sees a gas assisted fire.
Thanks
Rodney

Marshall Cooper

6 years ago

Rodney, I am really glad to hear that you are using wood in your pit and not cooking with gas! You too must know wood produces the best BBQ! Those that use gas to cook their BBQ & their patrons need to realize odors, chemicals & residuals are probably contaminating the meats when exposed to 10-20 hours in a gas burning BBQ "oven", even though it might use a wood log or two for flavor! Those heat exchangers in the BBQ ovens do crack and rust which causes raw gas to blow out on the meats!

Bigmista

6 years ago

You are all welcome to visit Bigmista's Barbecue when you come to California but I will be cooking with an all-star crew down in Galveston on March 17th. I will have two Houston Livestock & Rodeo Champions, The Hold 'em & hit 'em Grand Champion, an American Royal Rib Champion and a Jack Daniels Chicken Champion all on hand to help raise money for St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church. The Texas BBQ Posse wouldn't want to miss that!




Austin Top 5 plus Snow's
Texas BBQ Posse eBook CTA 336x280

Most Shared Posts

Copyright 2017 © All Rights Reserved