Ion channels play key roles in physiology. They function as protein transducers able to transform stimuli and chemical gradients into electrical signals. They also are critical for cell signaling and play a particularly important role in epithelial transport acting as gateways for the movement of electrolytes across epithelial cell membranes. Experimental limitations, though, have hampered the recording of ion channel activity in many types of tissue. This has slowed progress in understanding the cellular and physiological function of these channels with most function inferred from in vitro systems and cell culture models. In many cases, such inferences have clouded rather than clarified the picture. Here, we describe a contemporary method for isolating and patch-clamping renal tubules for ex vivo analysis of ion channel function in native tissue. Focus is placed on quantifying the activity of the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) in the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron (ASDN). This isolated, split-open tubule preparation enables recording of renal ion channels in the close-to-native environment under the control of native cell signaling pathways and receptors. When combined with complementary measurements of organ and system function, and contemporary molecular genetics and pharmacology used to manipulate function and regulation, patch-clamping renal channels in the isolated, split-open tubule enables understanding to emerge about the physiological function of these key proteins from the molecule to the whole animal.