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March 8th, 2011 MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Cheap Eats 2011: Reo's Ribs

     
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Johns Landing’s unpromising melange of ’70s and ’80s office frontage might seem an unlikely spot for an old-school rib joint—Reo’s previous location was in similarly unlikely Aloha—and the new place still sports an Aztec painting from one of the many failed Mexican joints in the same spot. Still, this is what makes it ripe for a takeover; Reo’s has started with its own strip-mall parking lot, which now houses no fewer than three smokers and a quarter-cord of firewood. Starting at 5 am each morning, a thick, meaty haze drifts across Macadam Avenue to the river. The service was genuinely friendly and preternaturally swift, but the place’s real heart is in Reo’s barbecue sauce: a sweet, mid-Southern molasses honey rarely seen in Portland (you can get the insanely extra-hot stuff by request). The meat is slow-cooked, moist and tender—the chicken was almost too tender, if that’s possible, teetering over from moist into wet, but the pork and beef were succulent as hell and pretty much faultless. Fair warning: The labor-intensive slow cooking doesn’t come cheap—a rack of baby-backs snuggles against $30—but the hefty $20 five-meat sampler could stuff two. On $15 a person, including sweet tea, I left happy, more than sated and in need of a toothpick, with a spot of barbecue sauce still in my beard. This is as it should be.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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