Occupy Podnah's! (Tasting the local BBQ in Portland)
posted May 19, 2012 8:04 PM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sat June 23 at 5:00 PM, Podnah's Pit
1625 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, OR, USA (Map & Directions)
Is anyone up for a meetup at a BBQ joint? Specifically Podnah's Pit?
I have set it for Saturday, June 23rd so we can have heavenly smoked prime-rib. And plenty of other things, too.

Once we have an attendees list, I will call for a reservation.
posted by nickthetourist to Meetup (84 comments total)

posted by Greg_Ace at 9:22 PM on May 19, 2012

I suggest Saturday the 23rd.
posted by nickthetourist at 7:24 AM on May 20, 2012

Ooooooooooooh....... wow.
posted by spherical_perceptions at 12:10 PM on May 20, 2012

The 16th would also be good.
posted by nickthetourist at 3:42 PM on May 20, 2012

The 16th would not be good.
posted by mimo at 4:42 PM on May 20, 2012

Too bad - if we'd done it on the 16th, we could've had an "Ignore Flag Day" BBQ dinner.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:09 PM on May 20, 2012

Too bad - if we'd done it on the 16th, we could've had an "Ignore Flag Day" BBQ dinner.

That sounds like the sort of event used to weed out the commies.
posted by nickthetourist at 5:18 PM on May 20, 2012

Do commies like BBQ?
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:04 PM on May 20, 2012

Do commies like BBQ?

They'd probably come to tell us how terrible we are for taking so long to cook the meat. But then, they've never had slow smoked prime rib, so what the hell do they know?
posted by nickthetourist at 6:43 PM on May 20, 2012

Their loss is our gain. U!S!A!! U!S!A!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:43 PM on May 20, 2012

I tried to go to Podnah's a couple weekends ago; it seems they get verrrrry busy on weekends. In case that matters.
posted by redsparkler at 11:52 PM on May 20, 2012

Flag Day is the 14th, though...
posted by curious nu at 11:09 AM on May 21, 2012

Never mind, I was mistaken, the 16th is fine, except that it appears that weekends in general may be a problem.
posted by mimo at 11:28 AM on May 21, 2012

A problem for you personally, mimo, or for getting a table during the weekend rush?

If it's the second - do they take reservations? Failing that, maybe a volunteer or two could get to the restaurant early-ish and get our name on the waiting list?
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:01 PM on May 21, 2012

Generally, based on resparkler's comment. Although, it really is all about me.
posted by mimo at 12:13 PM on May 21, 2012

I've been to Podnahs twice in the last week, and didn't have trouble getting a seat. I think you just have to be careful to pick off-times. If this turns out to be a large group, that could add a little difficulty too- but they do have space for a larger group. I don't know if they do reservations. They also have some outside seating, which hasn't been in use either time I've been there (on Sunday it was raining- although the outside tables seemed to be mostly under cover, so I wouldn't entirely rule that out).

I could make the 23rd, but not the 16th. Obviously, though, I've tasted Podnahs quite a few times, so don't worry about working around me.
posted by Secretariat at 12:19 PM on May 21, 2012

When I got there on Sunday morning, they sounded hesitant to let two of us hold the table for the two remaining people until I reassured them it would seriously only be a few minutes before the others arrived- so I got the feeling they could be grumpy about "saving" a table. Just a warning that if someone did want to try getting there early, they should be prepared to say things like "Gosh, I don't know what happened, they should be here any minute!"
posted by Secretariat at 12:22 PM on May 21, 2012

Reservations for 6 or more are possible.

Based on previous responses, the 23rd sounds best.

Shall I make it so?
posted by nickthetourist at 5:26 PM on May 21, 2012

I really want prime rib so I think we should be there before the normal dinner rush. Say 5 or 6pm?
posted by fiercekitten at 7:11 PM on May 21, 2012

Pre-rush sounds good to me.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:14 PM on May 21, 2012

I've set it for 5:00pm.

I'll call for reservations if necessary.

Should we put together a car pool?
posted by nickthetourist at 8:24 PM on May 21, 2012

Considering it's an hour's ride by bus compared to 15-20 minutes by car from my house, I'd be happy to chip in a few bucks for gas.

On the other hand, the bus ride would include scenic 39th/42nd Streets and Columbia Blvd, so...ehh, 50-50.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:50 AM on May 22, 2012

posted by cortex at 5:26 PM on May 22, 2012

Once we have 6 confirmed, I'll call for reservations. Otherwise, I guess we can all just show up around 5:00pm.
posted by nickthetourist at 7:18 PM on May 25, 2012

I often change my mind, but for now I think my boyfriend and I will make an appearance. Podnah's is so delicious it rocks--and it has tons of room inside! ;)
posted by nonmerci at 1:09 PM on May 26, 2012

I like smoky pig butt and some IPA because they both rock.
posted by Somnolent Jack at 1:09 PM on May 26, 2012

(Had to...also, Somnolent Jack is a copy cat, and also the BF in question)
posted by nonmerci at 1:10 PM on May 26, 2012

Special note: try to bring cash because I've heard they don't particularly like splitting the check multiple ways and supposedly charge extra for doing so.
posted by nickthetourist at 9:20 AM on May 27, 2012

Maybes won't be included in the final count, so if you're serious then make yourself a yes real soon. I think were going to reserve some time this coming week.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:12 PM on June 8, 2012

I have made reservations for 10.
Please bring cash.
posted by nickthetourist at 7:08 PM on June 13, 2012

I'll be there at 5:30 or so. Is that going to be late enough to bother them? Alternatively would anyone be willing to pick me up at 623 se mill at 5pm?
posted by 0bs01337 at 7:35 PM on June 16, 2012

So, apparently only the manager can approve reservations of more than 10.
That being said, is everyone absolutely sure they're going to make it?

And just a reminder, please bring cash. I'd recommend bringing $30-40 each to be safe (better to have extra than be short).
posted by nickthetourist at 7:42 PM on June 18, 2012

Confirming. With all my heart and soul.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:14 PM on June 18, 2012

Greg, if you didn't show I'd probably file a missing persons report. Why? Because its BBQ, and you're the only southerner in this bunch (that I'm aware of).
posted by nickthetourist at 8:26 PM on June 18, 2012

Yep...this better be good, is all I'm sayin'!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:31 PM on June 18, 2012

$40 of BBQ per person? This is a level of commitment to BBQ for which I may not be prepared. Besides, it can never live up to the Salt Lick in Austin, TX.
posted by mimo at 9:42 AM on June 19, 2012

Yeah, that sounds a bit high unless you're planning to spring for a full rack of ribs. According to the menu, entrees are mostly between $11-15...plus beverage and possibly dessert. I didn't see smoked prime rib mentioned, though; maybe someone who's been there before can fill us in on the price.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:06 AM on June 19, 2012

I've never been there on prime rib day, but if it turns out to cost $40, why don't you just order something else on the menu? I've never spent anywhere near $40 per person there, but the reminder to bring cash is good. Seems like maybe the more important reminder is to bring small cashes, rather than just pulling a twenty out of the ATM, unless you want to overpay (since it sounds like our goal is to split one check)?
posted by Secretariat at 11:42 AM on June 19, 2012

Or were you just looking for an excuse to plug the Salt Lick? :) I'm sad because I've only been in Austin once, for SXSW, and various companies were literally bussing people out to the place day and night. So I didn't go because I thought there would be a horrendous wait to get in.
posted by Secretariat at 11:44 AM on June 19, 2012

Consider ordering some Salt Lick BBQ sauce online. I have a friend who sends me a bottle or two a year. If she ever stops I just might order a case of it. Maybe I should do that anyway.
posted by mimo at 1:42 PM on June 19, 2012

I'd want to see some sort of ingredient list before I ordered any; I wouldn't want to be caught using the wrong kind of sauce!
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:22 PM on June 19, 2012

This is Texas-style. It's not on your map.
posted by mimo at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2012

I was merely suggesting you have plenty of cash.
And yes, bills smaller than 20s would be advisable.
Although if you show up with a stack of 1s I'm going to wonder if you've found a new night job.
posted by nickthetourist at 6:52 PM on June 19, 2012

Oh, well, Texas "barbecue". Hrrmph.

To be honest, I don't really have any strong regional preferences or prejudices - slow-cooked meat of any variety takes me to my Happy Place.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:10 PM on June 19, 2012

Having said that, however, I am a bit picky about sauce - but not according to any regional or historical traditions per se.

The vast majority of hot sauces are minor variations on "tomato, vinegar, peppers, salt" and pretty much cluster around a single flavor point in the Sauce Spectrum. The ones I usually prefer do tend to be tomato-based more often than mustard-based, but also have ingredients to add complex flavors - such as molasses, garlic, carrots, spices, perhaps a bit of citrus, for just a few examples.

A restaurant in Asheville NC makes one of my favorite hot sauces ever, using smoked habanero peppers as a base plus some of the other ingredients I mentioned above. I can't stand more than a few small drops on anything, but it's so bursting with amazing flavor that you don't NEED much for it to enhance food in total proportion to its heat.

But whatever one's preferences, I cannot advocate drowning perfectly good meat in a deluge of sauce! Sauce is a condiment, not a beverage.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:25 PM on June 19, 2012

Salt Lick sauce is not tomato-based. When I get a bottle, I eat it on as many kinds of foods as reasonable until the bottle is empty. I am merely looking for a carrier of the nectar of the gods.
posted by mimo at 7:43 PM on June 19, 2012

Well, I'm nobody to judge; I use that smoked-habanero sauce on all manner of food. Chacun à son nectar.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:48 PM on June 19, 2012

Can I add a person to the reservation count? We have a friend visiting Portland who'd like to join us and meet all you nice people.
posted by Secretariat at 7:25 PM on June 20, 2012

Might as well.
I figure if we all show they can't turn us away.
posted by nickthetourist at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2012

"More paying customers?!? You have broken your promise and you must leave!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:27 AM on June 21, 2012

Maybe we could eat in shifts.
posted by mimo at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2012

I dunno, that might be underdressing a little.
posted by cortex at 9:44 AM on June 21, 2012

"More paying customers?!? You have broken your promise and you must leave!"

Only if it's managed by the Soup Nazi.
posted by nickthetourist at 10:45 AM on June 21, 2012

ba-dum, tissshhh!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2012

(that link was in response to cortex)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:48 AM on June 21, 2012

Arrrggg. I won't be free until after a show I'm doing from 7-8:30pm. Is anyone heading out for a soda after dinner?
posted by msalt at 7:44 PM on June 21, 2012

We could well be logy and semi-comatose from eating too much BBQ, but who knows, some folks may be up for it.

It is written, "Put it out there, it will happen or it won't."
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:43 AM on June 22, 2012

msalt, way to spring the news about that show at the last minute! :( It sounds really interesting, but I'm not sure if I'll make it.
posted by Secretariat at 9:33 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, I guess it's only last minute compared to how long I've been thinking about going to Podnahs.
posted by Secretariat at 9:34 AM on June 22, 2012

Confirming for myself and Somnolent Jack--we love Podnah's! We are eating so early in the evening that hopefully the larger head count won't be an issue.

You definitely don't need to spend $40 here (unless you get a lot of beers)...I usually get the pulled pork or brisket plate, which is something like $13 and comes with 2 sides and a giant buttery piece of cornbread with butter on the side (so much butter...mmm...). They usually have a couple of special sides, and a special sausage du jour. It can take a while to get your food but I've never been disappointed.

They also have a pretty awesome draft selection, from what I remember.
posted by nonmerci at 12:40 PM on June 22, 2012

Sorry, Secretariat, I was slack on posting. It does start 2 hours after dinner begins though.....
posted by msalt at 12:41 PM on June 22, 2012

The reservations are under my first name (which should be obvious by now).
I'll call tomorrow to see (once again) if I can extend the number of people on the reservation. If nothing else, we may end up occupying multiple tables.
I'm now wishing I'd called this meetup Occupy Podnah's.
posted by nickthetourist at 10:41 PM on June 22, 2012

iamabot and family offered to be on call in case not as many people show up as we reserved for (they live nearby). Or they might stop over and grab a nearby table, if it looks like there's any space left in the restaurant.
posted by Secretariat at 6:55 AM on June 23, 2012

I never expected this kind of turnout.
Maybe we should just all show up and say we want tables near each other.
posted by nickthetourist at 8:25 AM on June 23, 2012

iamabot! You should come out anyway. We'll fake somethin'.
posted by curious nu at 8:48 AM on June 23, 2012

nickthetourist: I never expected this kind of turnout.

NOOOOooobody expects the BBQ turnout! Its chief weapon is smoke...smoke and sauce...its two weapons are smoke and sauce, and an almost unbelievable juicy flavor. Amongst its weaponry...I'll come in again.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

iamabot! You should come out anyway. We'll fake somethin'.

Absolutely. We can just take over the place.
posted by nickthetourist at 10:48 AM on June 23, 2012

We are taking the bus and will arrive around 4:45 PM, so we may be some of the first people there! It's so terrible outside today, maybe there won't be as many people right at 5 (seems to be busier when it's nice outside, like most Portland establishments).
posted by nonmerci at 11:02 AM on June 23, 2012

So, we can only reserve for 10, but if the table next to the big table is free, our overflow will be sat there.
According to the lady I just spoke with, it is crucial that at least 10 of us are there by 5:00-5:15.
posted by nickthetourist at 1:04 PM on June 23, 2012

I'll be heading to the bus stop in just a few minutes, so - TriMet willing - I should get there shortly before 5:00.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:41 PM on June 23, 2012

Ok, JaiMahodara and I are still planning on being there, but we'll be late. Probably between 6 and 7.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:54 PM on June 23, 2012

I just read there are reservations. I hope that doesn't fuck up the headcount, bringing another. Apologies!
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:25 PM on June 23, 2012

That was so tasty. Sorry we were late and missed the party in the corner. We had the Pitboss and it was BOSS.

Good to see everyone!
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:50 PM on June 23, 2012

Definitely lots of fun.
Thanks y'all for coming out.

Korean BBQ next time?
posted by nickthetourist at 7:53 PM on June 23, 2012

Yes it was, and yes that sounds good. But also I'm contemplating a "this here's what REAL BBQ's like, y'all"-plus-potluck (what the hell, go for broke, another scotch tasting as well?) gathering at my place, perhaps later this summer. My smoker's big enough to do a pork roast, a brisket, a chicken, AND fish - a little of everything. Concept still under development, feel free to memail me with ideas and suggestions.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:30 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a great idea.
posted by nickthetourist at 9:33 PM on June 23, 2012

Korean BBQ sounds good! It might be nice to sort of plan these with a short secondary meetup afterwards, maybe- (or thread follow-up?) because I kind of want to know what everyone ate, and what they though of it (or why it's not "real BBQ" in their book). I enjoy BBQ but I don't have any loyalties to styles, having only started eating it in my adult life.

I ate the brisket, with sides of beans and collards. I love Podnah's brisket because of the way it just falls apart. I enjoy their not too spicy red sauce. It's a different style of BBQ from the sort of "sloppy joe" style slathering with sweet sauce, but I don't know what the names are for these different types of food.

I also tried a bite of the smoked prime rib- it was pretty good, nice and rare, but to me the presentation was daunting, as a giant slab of meat with congealed fat pools. So I'm glad I didn't order it, even though it tasted pretty good. The mashed potatoes that came with it were fairly bland and unremarkable, but that's ok- I think they were intended as a companion to the meat, rather than an interesting stand-alone dish.
posted by Secretariat at 9:34 AM on June 24, 2012

as a giant slab of meat with congealed fat awesomeness pools.
posted by cortex at 9:36 AM on June 24, 2012

Despite my teasing and bluster about "real BBQ" I want to be clear that I am not an expert in this realm, and that though I lived in the south I'm not really a Southerner (as any real Southerner would be quick to point out). These are my personal opinions and by no means any sort of official declaration. That said, on with the critique...

I had the ribs, and I wasn't impressed. They weren't bad, but they weren't as good as my own - and my own aren't the best I've ever had. In short, it was "cooked meat", but there was nothing about them that struck me as having been particularly cooked barbecue style. I'd guess that they were more likely roasted in an oven rather than slow-cooked over a dry smoky heat that would have both added smoke flavoring and made them less greasy (NOTE: "greasy" ≠ "juicy" or "moist". Two different things altogether). All that is apart from the various rubs (applied beforehand) and sauces (applied during or after, if at all, depending on the regional style), which I won't get into other than to say I noticed a distinct lack of...well, distinctness.

While the collard greens were good (not overdone and mushy, or too vinegary), the red beans and rice was also on the, shall we say, mild side. As with BBQ, Louisiana/Cajun-style recipes are very robust and flavorful and don't shy away from plenty of onion, bell pepper, herbs and spices, etc. Spicy heat too, more often than not, but even without the heat every mouthful should be bursting with flavor!

That's why I came up with the idea of testing my opinion of what BBQ "should" be by having another meetup (meat-up?) at my place so I could give people a chance to taste for themselves what I'm trying to say and let me know what they think. I don't know that I could swing massive slabs of prime rib, but I could certainly smoke a variety of meats - salmon or trout, chicken, brisket, pork roast and/or ribs - especially if folks could chip in a couple bucks to ensure plenty of taste-test material. I could also make red beans and rice to go along with whatever other sides people wanted to bring.

Just a thought.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:45 AM on June 24, 2012

I would be all for some home-made ribs. I don't usually order ribs at a restaurant unless someone can personally recommend that I try them, because I feel like the few times I've ordered they've been hit or miss.

Maybe there could also be a cornbread tasting. There's so many different types of that too- sweet and fluffy, dense and savory, weird with chunks of corn and peppers...
posted by Secretariat at 12:04 PM on June 24, 2012

Oh heck to the yes to a summertime meat-up at Greg's, yall!

As review,
I'm in agreement with the meat observation on the table. As a habitual vegetarian who goes on meat adventures, it takes extra effort to eat with discernment and beat back my inner mama grizzly telling me this is the Best Thing I've Ever Eaten. I am behind the quest for more flavor.

The PitBoss
was, as Lutoslawski mentioned, pretty boss. We share a dedication to our generation in refusing to limit ourselves to one choice, especially when indulging in particularly American privileges. America's favorite flavor is "assorted." I don't just want more in quantity or variety - I want more and lots.

So we got the whole spread:
On top of the aforementioned brisket (which fell apart if you looked at it wrong yet somehow still boasted those satisfying, chewy charred edges) and a handsome pair of ribs (succulently smokey but yes, a bit hard to chew in some purely gristly areas), we got an andouille sausage and pulled pork.

The sausage was a satisfying, somewhat sweet recipe, well-smoked with an authentically home-made chunkiness and crispy casing. (Thanks, honey mustard.) The pulled pork won me over though - where the brisket meat had an admirable simplicity, the pork was brined? with some vinegary, Southern bbq sauce style clear marinade? I'm guessing. I'm on board with the the sauce lovers, so while it was already a sloppy cup of meat, I dipped it in more (I think) chipotle-laced sauce. I really appreciated the traditional service of a couple slabs of white bread and pickled jalapenos, because for all its deliciousness, I got a good couple fork fulls of meatless bbq'ed fat that made me wish I'd opted for the self-imposed delusion of a sandwich construction.
posted by JaiMahodara at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2012

Before this jumps to a new thread....

I must admit my other focus here, along with eating tasty treats, is meat sourcing. Wait don't roll your eyes - this is solution-based. I sub at the Alberta co-op and highly recommend our Deck family farm meats, which are processed by and delivered directly from the source, which I have....(ahem) personally visited. Spendier meat, but fresher, pasture raised and well fed, and I've met their kids. (Who let me ride the pony.)

One downside is our inventory - while the deli meats are fresh, we usually only carry bone-in selections frozen. I'd like to look into making a special order for this occasion though, as they have racks of ribs, all sorts of chops, and whole fryers available.

When an official Meat-Up thread arises I can add my progress report on Deck meat options there.

Amen to assorted cornbread philosophies.
posted by JaiMahodara at 12:58 PM on June 24, 2012

Metafilter: our favorite flavor is "assorted."

Jai, the sourced-meat thing sounds intriguing. I'll start a new post sometime in the last half of next month, so everyone keep your eyes open and start thinking about when would be the best day in August for a meat-up.

I too am on board with the cornbread thing.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:20 PM on June 24, 2012

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