Portland >Food & Dining > U-Licious Smokehouse & Grill
2929 N. Russett, Portland, OR | Directions 9722745.577836 -122.697165
Neighborhoods: North Portland Neighborhood Services, Kenton
I've traveled all over the world, including most of the lower 48. I love soul food, smoked meats, and Cajun cooking. So much that, I'll travel to the south just to get an authentic dish. U-licious Smokehouse & Grill at 1505 Northeast Killingsworth Street Portland, OR 97211 (503) 477-3958 has by far the best smoked soul food in Portland. U-licious compares to good old southern Cajun cooking. When the owner said he was from Portland I didn't believe him. Cuz soul food this delicious can only come from the south.
U-Licious is Delicious! – As a native of Austin, Texas, I have high expectations when it comes to barbeque and Mexican food. I am excited to report that U-Licous Smokehouse has quickly risen to the top of my list. In fact, a meal at U-Licious is like taking an outing to Driftwood, Texas without even having to leave North Portland. U-licious has already received high praise from the Oregonian (when previously located on N. Interstate) for everything from the pork ribs to the lamb shanks, to the pork loin. On of my personal favorites is the beef brisket sandwich-- it literally melts in your mouth. Even the side dishes go above and beyond. The cole slaw and potato salad are spiced to perfection. I still have not tried the Ox Tails or the Smoked Duck, but am looking forward to ordering them at one of my upcoming visits.
Just off Lombard and Peninsular you will find this hidden gem adorned with colorful paintings, a stack of classic vinyl records and a savory plume of smoke hailing all passers by.
Good ribs – This place has moved down to N. Peninsula near the Walgreens on N. Lombard. I stopped in and got some ribs and a hot link to go with a side of cornbread and greens. It was hot and they don't have air conditioning, so took it to go. The ribs and hot link had excellent and smoky flavor. The sides were pretty forgettable, though. The cornbread was pretty tough and gritty. I would definitely go again because I love ribs, though.
I threw away most of my meal – Driving on N. Interstate, I noticed this unpretentious restaurant which advertised barbecue.
Several months after noticing it, I made a conscious decision to go check it out.
I arrived in the late afternoon.
The dining room was empty. The decor sparse. Hmmm, I thought. Perhaps the effort has gone into the food. Since I was ordering "to go", it didn't matter.
I decided to try the chicken.
For good barbecue chicken, you have to first begin with a -- well, good chicken.
The chicken appeared to be one of those infamous Arkansas fryers the Oregon chicken commission periodically warns us about.
Perhaps it had to do with the way it was smoked or perhaps it had been left over from the day before (very possible since I was there early and saw no one else while I waited).
What was astounding was the toughness of the chicken skin -- it was thick, rubbery and resisted a relatively sharp knife. Thus, any chances of finding crispy skin were nil.
Underneath the skin was a paucity of meat -- which was dry.
The sauce was forgettable and unable to rescue the bits of meat I was able to locate.
I am a one-n-done diner. Perhaps other dishes are better. But my experience with the chicken has eliminated U-Licious from my list of places for barbecue.
Editorial Review – Smokehouse dishes out barbecues favorites like short ribs, beef brisket, lamb and chicken.
Blues and barbecue – Actually the live music is on most Fridays. And it's a fabulous blues player, Steve Cheseborough. He plays totally acoustic, no amp or microphone or anything. It's like sitting in someone's home -- make that someone's home in the Deep South -- eating wonderful, smoky ribs and listening to downhome blues. Yes, there are other meats on the menu but it's hard for me to get away from the ribs. The sides are wonderful too: greens, red beans with brown rice, coleslaw. Even a vegetarian can do OK. Nice beer and wine selection. Oh, and there is street parking in front for five cars, even though the signs are confusing. If those spots are full, go to a side street.
Update: U-licious also now has the best wine list of any barbecue joint! Owner James Harris has just upgraded the wine list, with help from wine consultant Marc Garner. A nice selection of unusual, high-quality Northwest wines by the glass. Good beer selection too. (Good wine and beer, by the way, are things you generally do not find at Southern bbq joints, no matter how great the meat is.)
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