Most of us have dusted off the grill and dug the skewer sticks out of the junk drawer by now. Some of us have been grilling long before the clouds parted and the sun decided to stay out late, resulting in our fair share of franks and run-of-the-mill potato salad.
Thankfully, Portland is full of butchers, delis, and restaurants that are stocked up and serving creatively-made artisan sausages, meat, and the like, perfect for those of us already running out of ideas for the next barbecue.
Invite your friends over and get the next cookout started. We’ve compiled a list of places to get all of the best grilling fare, and even more places to frequent once the coals have run dry. After all, it is National Grilling and Hot Dog Month.
Gartner’s Country Meat Market
To enter the store from the parking lot, you have to pass the Wild Game Processing Center. No, you didn’t somehow accidentally drive to Wisconsin; you’ve arrived at Gartner’s Country Meat Market. Once inside, a sprawling meat case holds everything from juicy porterhouse steaks to meatloaf and seemingly every cut in between. After grabbing a number, watch the action behind the counter and the faces of meat-seeking, soon-to-be-grillers pressed against the glass. A never-ending line of hot dog and brat buns run along the bottom of the meat case, where you’ll find smoked German brats, cheese and onion knackwurst or jalapeño beer sausages nestled between a selection of around 15 other sausages and brats. There’s a less meaty selection with items such as stuffed potatoes that are only $2.59 or Italian stuffed portobello mushrooms for $8.98 per pound. As well as pasta salads and barbecue sauce, they’ve also got smoked dog bones for your four-legged friend at home.
Gartner’s Country Meat Market, 7450 NE Killingsworth St., 503.252.7801
Sheridan Fruit Company
You may be surprised to find that Sheridan Fruit Company is perfect for grabbing everything cookout-worthy in one trip. The name may be misleading, but it’s the perfect place to decide upon a large and inventive selection of sausages, as well as vegetables, pasta salads, cheese, and wine. Start at the produce section where you can get white or yellow corn for 79 cents or asparagus for $2.79 per pound. Next, make your way back to the meat case, where you will find over 30 selections of sausages and alligator, too! Creative combinations such as Spud’s Swedish sausage, which contains Peruvian purple potatoes, pork, onion, white pepper, garlic and nutmeg or the Angus Khan, made-up of Mongolian beef, pepper and onions, are the norm here. Sausages range from around $4.99-$6.99 per pound, and, with the exception of a few sausages, they are made within the store, including all ingredients. Cut through the wine aisle, grab a bottle, and head toward the registers, and you’ve just completed a stress-free shopping trip.
Sheridan Fruit Company, 409 SE MLK Jr. Blvd. 503.236. 2114
Bui Natural Tofu
There are entire stores devoted to meat, so why not tofu? There aren’t shelves lining the store stacked with tofu like you might imagine. Instead, you will find a long counter with a small menu board hanging behind. Fresh or fried tofu is either sold individually or by the tray. Here you can find onion-fried or lemongrass tofu for $2.50 and fresh tofu for 60 cents each. You are sure to get the help you need; there’s likely to be as many people behind the counter as there are in the store. While you’re there, you can also try salad rolls for $2.75 or Vietnamese snacks and drinks made from soybeans.
Bui Natural Tofu, 520 NE 76th Ave., 503.254.6132
Podnah's Pit Barbecue
If you follow Bon Appétit magazine’s Foodist, Andrew Knowlton, you know he put Podnah’s Pit on his top five favorite restaurants in the nation. If you’ve eaten at Podnah’s Pit, you understand why it has made the cut. The four hours that go into making the pork spareribs show in every bite, and its side dishes, like green chili mac and southern style green beans, round-out that Texas barbecue taste. In addition to amazing slabs of pork, Podnah’s has a trifecta of sauces with which to slather your cuts. The house-made barbecue sauce is a little mustard-y with a tangy zip. The spicy mustard sauce and the Carolina sauce (used for the Carolina style pulled-pork) are always available alongside their signature barbecue. After eating at Podnah’s Pit, you can bring it into your life (and your next barbecue) full circle by picking up sauce at New Seasons Market.
Podnah’s Pit Barbecue, 1625 NE Killingsworth St., 503.281.3700
U-Licious Smokehouse & Grill
Located in a trailer on NE Killingsworth, a block away from Podnah’s Pit, it’s a barbecue joint known for its braised oxtails. The name U-Licious was born when owner James Harris attempted to think of a name that combined the feel of delicious, local food while thinking of his father Ulicious’ delicious cooking. On any given day, you can find Harris manning his pit in front of the trailer.
U-Licious Smokehouse & Grill, 1505 NE Killingsworth St., 503.477.3958
Wayne's Chicago Red Hots
Here you’ll find foot-longs, red hots, chili dogs, and brats, dressed up every which way, if you’re not in the mood to rake your own dog through the garden. The Polish Daley, an all-beef Polish wrapped in six slices of bacon, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and grilled onions, is the perfect combination of barbecue and hot dog wrapped in one. Herbivores need not worry; an Italian tofu or a tree hugger (tofu hot dog cooked in its own water) are available for vegetarians. If a limp dog on a cheap bun makes you want to reach for another helping of potato salad, you can being Wayne’s Chicago Hot Dog Pic-Nik Pak that includes 20 Vienna hot dogs, two boxes of poppy buns, green relish, sport peppers, and 20 pickle spears, to your next gathering.
Wayne’s Chicago Red Hots, 3901 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., 503.493.4537
Russell Street Bar-B-Que
Offering BBQ by the pound, you can pick up baby back pork ribs, smoked tofu, beef brisket, as well as many other cuts of meat alongside a pint of sauce of your choice. Even if you show up to the cookout first, you won’t be able to pass off this barbecue mastery as your own. It’s described as “Southern Soul, Northwest Heart”. The Northwest heart comes from the all-natural, hormone-free pork and beef.
Russell Street Bar-B-Que, 325 NE Russell St., 503.528.8224