Welcome to the photo series Eater Scenes, in which photographer Dina Avila visits some of the city's top restaurants to capture them at a certain, and very specific, point in the day. Today, in this Five Days of Meat edition, the pre-lunch rush at Smokehouse 21.
A few minutes before the lunch rush at his NW barbecue restaurant Smokehouse 21, pitmaster B.J. Smith is calmly breaking down a rabbit for use on that day's specials board. Before the first few diners trickle in, he's deboned a whole rabbit, stuffed it with its own livers, rolled it up — and then sends it to his outdoor smoker, where it'll smoke for about three hours at 225 degrees. According to Smith, his sous chef Jim Holland moonlights as a rabbit farmer, supplying the restaurant with "really great rabbits. It's like a Portlandia episode, but cool nonetheless."
Over the course of the first few orders, the first rack of ribs are removed from the smoker (where they smoke for two-and-a-half hours); Smith estimates the restaurant goes through about 25 racks a day, so they're constantly rotating in and out. Out of the kitchen come plates of smoked chicken, corn on the cob, and of course, brisket.