Portland’s barbecue scene is getting even more heat. Underground barbecue business Q PDX is opening a cart this spring, specializing in absurdly meticulous Texas-style brisket, sausage, and ribs.
Owner Kyle Rensmeyer grew up in Dallas, Texas, moving to Portland in 2014. With no professional cooking experience, Rensmeyer began studying the Lone Star legends like Aaron Franklin, perfecting his home’s pride and joy. He launched Q PDX, an Instagram-based barbecue business where he auctioned off hunks of smoked brisket and house sausages for weekend pick-up. Now, Rensmeyer is coming out of the shadows, opening his Holy Trinity Barbecue cart in late April or early May with 14-plus-hour smoked Creekstone Prime brisket.
Rensmeyer is absurdly thorough with his dedication to true, Texas-style barbecue, tracking down the masters’ techniques and best smokers for heat consistency. “I have a lot of history there,” Rensmeyer says of Texas. “I just got back from Texas last Tuesday — I keep going back to make sure that everything I’m doing is done the absolute right way.”
His cart, named for the Texas barbecue “holy trinity” of sausage, pork ribs, and brisket, will serve all three, including a Czech all-beef sausage with brisket trimmings. Alongside his various hunks of meat, Rensmeyer is serving a handful of sides, sticking to favorites from his childhood like ramen-noodle coleslaw and cheesy grits. “There are a lot of barbecue carts here doing really awesome sides, so I’m doing things pretty simple, the stuff my mom made growing up,” he says. “I’m doing cheesy grits as opposed to a mac and cheese — there’s a lot of mac and cheese in this town and not enough grits.”
The pitmaster is still figuring out a locale for his cart — he’s thinking Montavilla or Foster-Powell — but until Holy Trinity opens, Portlanders can continue to order meals via Instagram several days in advance. Rensmeyer is also working on more pop-ups and events as he prepares to open, for those unwilling to pre-order eight-pound slabs of brisket.
Rensmeyer is entering the Portland barbecue cart market during its most competitive moment yet: Matt’s and Bark City BBQ both offer a classic, Texas-style brisket with their own obsessive followings. Still, he thinks he has something distinct to offer as a native Texan and a passionate underdog. “I’m just a guy who likes to make barbecue,” he says. “I have no culinary background — I started cooking barbecue when I moved up here five years ago, and people started saying, ‘This is pretty good.’”