The smoker never quits at Podnah's Pit, the barbecue restaurant led by pitmaster and Texas-expat Rodney Muirhead, at 1625 NE Killingsworth. "We're pulling fresh meat off the grill all day long," says general manger Ryan Day. "At 7 p.m. the night before, we throw pork butt on, and at about 9 p.m., the brisket goes on."
The pork butt and brisket smoke all night, and at six in the morning, they come off to be wrapped—then returned to the smoker, to be ready for lunch. Joining them is a new batch of pork butt and brisket, which will be ready just in time for dinner.
Podnah's Pit uses an Old Hickory-brand smoker to cook between 700 and 900 pounds of meat a day, and the restaurant burns oak imported from Texas to maintain a temperature between 225 and 250 degrees. Day says the restaurant couldn't find good dry wood locally.
But what distinguishes Texas barbecue from Carolina or Memphis barbecue?
"Texas barbecue is all about the dry rub," says Day. "It's not wet barbecue at all. It's just salt, pepper, and other seasonings. It's also important that the fire burns clear, without a lot of smoke."
On your next visit, you get to decided: Will you grab the Texas, Carolina, and other sauces on the table, or will you be a purist and shun the sauce, for some unadulterated 13-hour brisket?