50 Wharf St., Portland| 899-0610 | bucksnaked-bbq.com | $$$
If you crave meat, Buck’s Naked BBQ Steakhouse offers it in all forms. With a clear understanding of Portland’s foodie sensibilities, Buck’s expands the barbecue experience to include international influences, and the menu offers a few interesting options for the vegetarian and fish-loving crowd. The atmosphere is fun, kid-friendly (in a non-obnoxious way), and the staff is hilarious. Two more locations: 568 Route 1, Freeport and 4 Turning Leaf Dr., Windham.
191 Congress St., Portland | 553-2100 | salvagebbq.com| $$$
At Salvage — so-named because of its location in the former Portland Architectural Salvage building — wood floors shine, the high ceiling is lined with minimalist light fixtures, retro chrome kitchen tables offer seating at the front, and family-style benches accommodate larger parties (or shared smaller parties) in the back. Festive string lights add fun, and there is a lounge area near the front windows. The Texas-style barbecue and sides — all top-notch — are delivered on paper-lined metal trays, adding to the authentic appeal.
448 Cottage Rd., South Portland | 619-1948 | elsmerebbq.com | $$$
Elsmere is not just a BBQ joint, it’s a neighborhood restaurant that’s keen on giving back to the community and sticking around for generations. Owners Adam Powers and Jeremy Rush work the line every night, are eager to be part of the South Portland family of restaurants and take a lot of pride in their product. The bar scene is cozy and pleasingly boisterous. Patrons come to watch the game, drink beer, but most of all, chow down on excellent BBQ. There will likely be a 30-minute wait on weekend nights.
215 Water St., Bath | 442-9514 | mainebbq.com | $$$
Memphis-inspired in name, decor and barbecue style, Beale Street draws fans from Bath and well beyond. Elvis fans will have fun with the memorabilia at the bar, while lovers of serious barbecue will appreciate the smoky meat, slaw and traditional sides. But the menu offers other options, too, including crab cakes, jambalaya, baked haddock and Buffalo wings.
15 Knox Rd., Bar Harbor | 288-9200 | atlanticbrewing.com/mainely-meat-bbq | $$$
Mainely Meat offers proof that good barbecue is not confined to southern Maine. Run by the same folks who brew beer and make sodas at the Atlantic Brewing Company right next door. the casual restaurant, with picnic table seating inside and out, is an easy choice for lunch after a brewery tour. Fans rave about the pulled pork and the ribs. A second location, Mainely Meat on Main, is at 193 Main St., Ellsworth.
The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up