1. Reo’s Ribs
4211 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-310-3600, reosribsbbq.com.
Try as they might, the haters can't stop Reo's Ribs—that includes the fire that consumed the restaurant in 2017. No matter what, co-owner and namesake Reo Varnado always finds his way back on his feet. While the menu is stuffed with Southern staples, from pig's feet to smothered chicken, stick with what's on the marquee. The baby-back ribs are juicy and smoky, and come slathered in Varnado's signature sweet, peppery sauce. They are, as Varnado's nephew Snoop Dogg might say, the shiznit.
2. Reverend’s BBQ
7712 SE 13th Ave., 503-327-8755, reverendsbbq.com.
Reverend's BBQ is exactly what the mind's eye conjures when you imagine a family-style barbecue joint in Portland. The sandwiches are a perfect jumping-off point to gradually move your way through all that Reverend's has to offer, with the barbecue beef brisket—dusted lightly in a piccalilli BBQ sauce and crispy fried onion—being the most sterling representation of its wares.
3. Burger Stevens at Dig A Pony
736 SE Grand Ave., 971-279-4409, burgerstevens.com.
What started as a burger cart adjacent to the parking lot of Wilson High School has expanded to multiple locations, including the kitchen of eastside bar Dig A Pony. Its near-perfect Shake Shack-style burgers won't taste any more appropriate than during the club's two-day Fourth of July bash. Come for the bands and alcoholic slushies, stay for the nicely charred patties, melty cheese, crisp veggies and a gloriously buttered Franz bun.
4. Homegrown Smoker
8638 N Lombard St., 503-477-7274, homegrownsmoker.com.
Vegans are Americans, too, and while not all of this vegan barbecue restaurant's faux-meat dishes are likely to convince skeptics, the Macnocheeto burrito is undeniable. It's an utterly mammoth meal—chewy, smoked soy curls, sharp vegan mac and cheese, and sweet baked beans stuffed into a giant tortilla. Wash it down with Homegrown's sweet, refreshing mint tea.
5. Zach’s Shack
4611 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-233-4616, zachsshack.com.
Portland's rock-'n'-roll hot dog bar stays open slightly longer than the other establishments in the area, so if you've spent a lonely Independence Day toasting America with the other orphans in the Barmuda Triangle, consider this for your Fourth of July fourth meal. Get the James Brown, but don't be surprised when you wake up on the couch the next morning with chili, cream cheese and jalapeños all over your favorite sweater.