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Podnah's Pit

This sanctuary of smoke, opened in 2006 by Texas-bred Rodney Muirhead, stirs an unshakable passion, and for good reason. The 'cuein' starts at 5 am. When you show up 12 hours later, the best way to start any meal is to get the table at least one pitboss ($24). Sure, the best meat is the brisket—a sweet, crusty exterior that reveals a roasty, almost buttery, interior—but the sausage link, two perfectly charred pork ribs and a quarter-pound of pulled pork ain't bad either.

Not to be missed are the fried chicken wings ($14), when on special. The batter is impressively light, creating a crispy crust that doesn't mask the peppery spices. Fortunately, the kitchen doesn't focus solely on the meat. The sides actually rival the entrees. Skip the mashed potatoes, which could be a bit richer and creamier and tuck into the mac and cheese with green chili or tangy barbecue beans as thick as stew. Collards don't disappoint with their rich, beefy flavor and hearty greens that refuse to wilt.

Pro tip: Swing by La Taq next door for a bourbon burro, which tastes similar to a Moscow mule with a bit more warmth, and some of the most velvety guacamole in the city. Podnah's will hold your spot for five minutes while you finish that drink.

GO: 1625 NE Killingsworth St., 281-3700, 11 am-10 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am-10 pm Saturday-Sunday. $$.