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June 30, 2023

Friday Food Insider: It's 4th of July weekend and that means grilling season

Jeff Solari Pictured here is Smoke and Steel BBQ's smoked "burnt ends," which are the trimmings from a smoked brisket. The restaurant is located in Bangor.

Can you smell the hamburgers and hotdogs cooking on the grill or picture the fireworks exploding in the night sky? That is because it is the July 4th weekend and you know what that means.

Barbecue season is upon us even though it may not feel like it with the weather. 

Don’t feel like hauling out the grill for your 4th of July party this weekend and want to try some good local barbeque hot spots in Maine? Relax and grab your go-to holiday cocktail because the Mainebiz Food Insider has your back. 

Independence Day facts 

Independence Day or the Fourth of July marks the historic date in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was unanimously approved by the Second Continental Congress and announced the colonies' separation from Great Britain. 

This year the holiday falls on a Tuesday, meaning many people will be taking a four-day weekend.

It’s time to barbeque!

Alexis Wells
The Garage BBQ

Let’s begin in Scarborough: The Garage BBQ is located at 3 East Grand Ave. right next to Pine Point Beach in Scarborough is the perfect place to stop at after a lovely day at the beach. The Garage combines barbeque, seafood and small plates at the former gas station and mechanic shop Conroy’s Home Heating Fuels. If you are a cornbread connoisseur I highly recommend theirs and it comes with a side of maple butter. Yum!

Smoke BBQ, at 58 York St. in Kennebunk, is fairly new to the Maine barbecue scene, opening in November 2022. This spot is 100% authentic wood-fired barbecue and the meats are smoked up 16 hours. 

Ore Nell’s Barbecue, at 2 Badgers Island West in Kittery, also has a new location in Biddeford which is expected to open in late July. Ore Nell’s is taking over the space at 42 Franklin St., in Biddeford which was formerly occupied by Louis Pizza. Chef and owner Will Myska, smokes top-quality meats, fish and vegetables over oak wood using traditional Central Texas cooking methods.

Next up on our food tour, we head up north.

Starting off with Mainely Meat BBQ at Atlantic Brewing Co., at 15 Knox Road in Bar Harbor, is a seasonal barbecue eatery that serves sausage, ribs and chicken — all while enjoying a refreshing pint from the brewing.

Ferris BBQ, at 79 Parsons St. in Presque Isle, is the first barbecue restaurant in the area, except for Timberwolves BBQ, which is at 45 Main St. in Mars Hill. 

Riverfront Barbeque & Grille, at 300 Water St. in Augusta, is a family-owned restaurant that has been bringing southern-style barbecue to the area since 2007. If you are looking to have a cocktail after your dinner check out their Gin Mill bar just above the restaurant.

Jeff Solari
Smoke and Steel BBQ

Smoke and Steel is at 471 Stillwater Ave. in Bangor. While one might think it is a traditional barbecue restaurant you are mistaken, my friend. This spot is axe throwing meets barbecue. It features 10 axe-throwing lanes, country music and smoked meats. Sounds like a fun night to me.

While Portland is known to be home to the best seafood you will be surprised to know that this area has some well-known barbecue spots. 

Starting off at Terlingua, at 40 Washington Ave. in Portland, what has been called high-end barbecue boutique. The restaurant combines Texas-style barbecue with south of the border-influenced dishes. The smoked brisket tacos are calling my name. 

Wilson County Barbecue, at 82 Hanover St. in Portland, offers barbecue cooked in the traditional Eastern Carolina style pit-smoked "whole hog" style. It is a different kind of barbecue. Looking for a fun new brunch spot, Wilson County Barbecue has a delicious brunch menu.

Salvage BBQ located at 919 Congress St., in Portland, opened its door in 2013. They offer a la carte barbecue, trays, sandwiches and more. While you're there check out their vintage arcade games.

Paper City BBQ located at 855 Main St., in Westbrook, opened its doors in November 2022. They specialize in smoked meats and local beer and also serve more than 50 whiskeys.

Renee Cordes
Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill

Last but certainly not least is Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill, at 448 Cottage Road in South Portland. This spot has Texas-style barbecue that is all wood smoked. They also have vegan and vegetarian options, as well as gluten-free. 

Most barbecue spots highlighted in this Friday's Food Insider offer gluten-free and vegan options and vegetarian options so be sure to check out their menus for your food-restricted friends. 

What will you be indulging on this Fourth of July? The Mainebiz Food Insider wants to know! Contact Alexis Wells at

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