1337 NE Broadway
Don't think me stuck-up, but when it comes to barbecue, I know my stuff. I was raised in the greatest barbecue cities in America: Birmingham, Columbia, Chicago, and Memphis. However, no matter where you go, there is but one constant: the service is so slow many patrons die before getting a drop of sauce on their chins.
So how does Portland's 'que stack up against other cities'? Sorry, but it kinda stinks. Yes, I know what you're thinking...but I've eaten there and the ribs taste like charred dog leg. Yep, eaten there too, and while the sides are tasty, the sauce tastes like it was mixed up in the kitchen sink (along with ingredients found underneath it). Which brings us to All Yall's BBQ, a new joint on Broadway which tries to be all things to all people, and on certain levels, succeeds.
Knowing snobs like me are extremely snooty when it comes to the origins of their 'que--Carolina is better than Kansas City which is better than Texas which is the worst in the world--All Yall's brings us barbecue styles from varied locales. As you can imagine, some are more successful than others, such as the St. Louis ribs whose delightful spicy-sweet sauce is a perfect addition. And lo and behold, the meat doesn't taste like dog leg. It's tender, meaty, and good to the bone. Less successful is the Carolina Pulled Pork, a sandwich that defies the diner to locate any pork within its heaping pile of fat globules. On the upside, they do have a kick-ass mustard-based sauce which, while pungent, can almost make fat globules taste good.
The sides also hit and miss: the slaw lacks the required sweetness and the fried okra tastes frozen, but the mashed potatoes and gravy just miss being awesome, and the sweet tea has enough sugar to knock the teeth out of your head (YUM!). But perhaps most controversial of all--the service is fast. No barbecue place is EVER fast, but thanks to cafeteria-style serving, they plop the food on your plate and you are chowing down within five minutes. And it's not too pricey. I don't know, folks...maybe I can swallow my snobbiness just... this... once.