Fried Chicken Night at Podnah's Pit in Portland Oregon
Outragously crispy fried chicken at Podnah's Pit

Anybody with a fondness for slow-cooked meats knows that Podnah’s Pit is the go-to place for Texas barbecue in Portland. Where else can you find thick-barked brisket, kissed with smoke rings and melted through with heavenly fat marbling?

We stopped by the temple to slow-cookery to get an update from Pit Master Rodney Muirhead, and for a taste of his upcoming bar next door, La Taq (1625 NE Killingsworth St.)

Muirhead tells us that his anticipated “Mex-Tex” (more Mexico than Texas) watering hole and eatery is tentatively slated to open sometime in September.

Since last winter, food hounds have been holding out for the promise of Podnah’s top-quality smoked meats piled over border-crossing plates of beans, queso, and tortillas. La Taq will utilize Portland’s painstakingly authentic fresh-ground masa brand, Three Sisters Nixtamal, for its tortillas, tamales, and sopes.

While waiting for La Taq to open its doors, Podnah’s Pit offers seven ways to tide you over. Every day brings a new gut-expanding special, from Tex-Mex Mondays loaded with smoked brisket beef enchiladas and velvety queso to Lamb Thursdays, where ribs and shoulders are slow-smoked with garlic and coriander to gamey perfection. We joined the hordes for Wednesday night’s fried chicken special, and here is what we found:

Buttermilk-Fried Chicken at the top of its game: Tender wings, with outrageously crisp, well-battered golden skin. Each bite yielded multiple layers of flaky strata before hitting the juicy, flavorful meat inside.

Green Chile Mac N’ Cheese: The bowl of cheddar-laced béchamel sauce, flecked with bits of mild, green-skinned poblano chiles scarcely made it to the table.

Summer Squash Bake: A seasonal side of summer squash, sautéed with onions and baked with a layer of cheddar and crust made from Podnah’s sweet cornbread.

If this is fried chicken done Podnah’s way, we can’t to see what Muirhead can do with his new Mex-Tex vision. Stay tuned.

Podnah’s Pit
1625 NE Killingsworth St
503-281-3700
Mon-Fri: 11-10pm, Sat-Sun: 9-10pm