Smoke BBQ, Kennebunkport, Maine

Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening, our intrepid South Portland Maine Correspondents, Jon and Nancy Breul, late of Washington, ventured to try out Smoke BBQ in Kennebunkport.

During most of the year, Kennebunkport is jammed with cars. Nancy and I had stopped briefly in Kennebunkport twice or thrice years ago on our way to take Liza to New England Music Camp. On our latest trip we tried to go through Kennebunkport, but pealed off two blocks and 30 minutes after we’d entered the town.

When word came forth that an all-wood barbecue place had opened in Kennebunkport, Jon and Nancy went to check it out. Wisely, they waited until, with the last leaf’ falling, the crowds evaporated and the road to Kennebunkport was clear of everything but snow and ice. They took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

Maine may seem like an unlikely spot to find good barbecue, but barbecue is blossoming there. In Portland itself, the Blog has featured posts on Salvage, Noble, and Wilson County Barbecue. Smoke is the latest. It sits right on US 1 in Kennebunkport.

Smoke’s Facebook page starts off (scroll way down) with a nice record of the demolition, rebuilding, prepping, and opening of their restaurant and, I believe, a trip to Texas to get their big ole smoker. Smoke highlights that they cook exclusively with wood, as one should. There seems to be some electrical gear on the smoker, but I’m assuming that’s for a rotisserie rather than heat. Smoke also respects its customers by serving the meat without sauce. Like most new barbecue places, Smoke has, I think five different sauces and a full bar and other amenities.

There’s Jon and Nancy’s report:

At 4:30 on a cold evening, we were among the first diners to eat at Smoke,  a newly opened BBQ in Kennebunk that claims, “We are striving to be the best BBQ in Maine – if not, New England! We’re not one style of BBQ. We’re a selection of the best styles from all regions of BBQ.”  The first thing we noticed were the large stacks of locally sourced wood labeled red and white oak that fuel their smoker, Ruby. 

We ordered from a large local beer selection and tried the burned brisket bits, scalloped potatoes,

and a pulled pork sandwich.

The burned bits were fabulous – crunchy, meaty, tender with just enough sauce. [Ed: Well, they say they serve the meat with no sauce. Perhaps that’s a rub, or perhaps Jon added some sauce with his usual expert hand.] The scalloped potatoes were recommended by our server and were a real treat. Since both the sandwich and bits were accompanied by fries, we were well potato-ed. The pulled pork sandwich came on a nice large bun with a healthy serving of red cabbage slaw and a huge portion of pork. The meat was dry and a bit tasteless, so we turned to the sauces (see bottom of menu). Of the six offered, the mop sauce was our favorite with lots of vinegar and pepper.

In Jon’s opinion, Wilson County wins the pulled pork contest.

There you have it, another fine report from the State of Maine. Smoke is highly rated by Yelpers and TripAdvisors, so it suits the local appetite for barbecue and assorted beverages. Maine offers many fine beers, and the barbecue situation is rapidly expanding. When you go there next summer, please remember this post and share your own barbecue experiences as you take an occasional break from lobster.


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