So this place made #5 on Oregonlive for Portland BBQ restaurants. Which may be a valid ranking, but here is the problem. First, people in Oregon generally don’t know good BBQ. Second, there are not many good BBQ options in Portland so don’t be fooled when Oregonlive ranks this place as #5.
For my first trip to this place I tried the sausage, pulled pork, brisket, and tri tip. I will go in order of good to bad.
Pulled Pork – Pork butt is a very forgiving meat when it comes to smoking, so when I try a BBQ place for the first time I always get the pulled pork. If a place screws that up you can bet the rest of what they cook is bad too. The pulled pork at Pine Shed is average. It won’t blow you away but it is not bad either. The house BBQ sauce is really good so when combined with that it becomes an above average meal.
Brisket – The brisket was ok. It was a bit over smoked. Smoke flavor should compliment the meat and the rub. It should not be a distraction or overpower the meat. The smoke on the brisket was not quite to the overpowering level. However, it was too much and a distraction to the beef flavor.
Tri-tip – I may be a bit biased here but tri-tip should not be smoked. There is only one legitimate way to cook tri-tip and that is Santa Maria style. They don’t do that at Pine Shed. It is smoked like any other meat. Smoking tri-tip means you are over cooking it. Consequently, the meat was overdone and lacking in strong beefy flavor. This place would be better off learning how to cook it Santa Maria style and serve it that way.
Sausage – TERRIBLE. The fact that Oregonlive says this is Pine Shed’s “blue ribbon” meat speaks volumes to the lack of quality BBQ in Oregon and Oregonlive’s understaing of good BBQ. The sausage is terrible. The casing is not stuffed enough so when it is cooked the sausage does not hold its form when you cut into it. As for flavor, it is more garlic flavor than pork. There is zero spice to be found so not sure how they call it a spicy link. It is bad.
There are not many good BBQ options in Portland. Pass on this place. The #5 ranking by Oregonlive is misleading since you only need one finger to count the number of great BBQ places in Portland. A 5 ranking means it is four restaurants removed from being good.
Bottomline – avoid.
Thus far, the only BBQ place worth its salt in Portland is Podnah’s.by