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“Decent BBQ for Portland”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Salvage BBQ

Salvage BBQ
Ranked #31 of 607 Restaurants in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American, Barbecue, Bar, Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Dining on a budget, Large groups, Families with children, Kids
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Wheelchair Accessible
South Portland, Maine, USA
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Decent BBQ for Portland”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2014

Ever since the demise of Uncle Billy's, I've been looking for someone to fill the void of outstanding BBQ in Portland. Thus far, Salvage is the closest to authentic that I've found. The setup is fairly classic Southern BBQ, in that you order, sit down, and someone brings your food to you. If you are looking for fine dining with a waiter obsessing about your every need, don't visit this place. That's NOT what it's about, and that's fine. They do have a great bar, and if you sit there, you can order food from the bar. It's a small but important point to note that contrary to what many folks think, properly prepared ribs are not supposed to fall off the bone, which theirs do. And if you order the brisket, get the fatty selection, not the lean, which was dry and tasteless the first time I went there. The fatty was outstanding on a subsequent visit. The beans were very good, the slaw was great, and the hush puppies - a very rare and welcome addition to a BBQ menu around here - were terrific. Salvage's house sauces are either a pretty standard sweet Memphis style, and a Carolina sauce that is of course vinegar-based, as it should be. They could benefit from a less-sweet variety of the kind that is offered in classic Texas BBQ "dry rub" joints, but again, I'm a BBQ snob, so this is a small point. One thing they have nailed is a friendly staff, which is getting rarer and rarer in Portland. Waiting tables and bartending has become the job of choice for hipster jackasses who work their hardest to appear bored by your existence and by your patronage. No such thing at Salvage. Both times I've visited, the staff were friendly and actually seemed to recognize the connection between their service and their income. I don't ask to be fawned over, but neither do I wish to put on a Sherlock Holmes hat when it comes to refill the old tankard. Overall, Salvage has a good thing going and we'll return. We're in Maine for Pete's sake, so super-authentic southern smoked BBQ will always be a stretch, but these guys are working toward it, and in many respects have attained some form of authenticity.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Mike F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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206 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Save Your Money”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2014

I'm a huge BBQ fan, and I was really looking forward to trying this place. I'm sad to say, this isn't THE worst I've ever had, but it was a close runner up. I went in earlyish in the evening. It wasn't busy, and the staff was friendly.

My complaint is the food. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich and a side of Mac and cheese. The meat was very dry, and had no BBQ sauce on it. I realized it was because the sauce was in bottles on the tables. I personally found the sauce way too vinegar-y. It was served on cold bread that was too big for the meat, which made it a sloppy mess. The bread fell apart before I could get it to my mouth. The Mac and cheese was also cold, which was weird because the restaurant had just opened. Over all, it was terribly disappointing.

I would absolutely love to have a great BBQ joint in Portland, but sadly, this isn't it. You're better off going further in town to find better spots that are worth the money.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
6 Thank NioDiPietro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great BBQ”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2014 via mobile

Just had BBQ brisket and the others I was with had the ribs. We were all satiated and very satisfied. We ordered the cole slaw and the corn bread too. Great corn bread, moist and great flavor. We all loved the cole slaw. If I could get the recipe, I would make it right now!

Visited January 2014
Thank svtanzer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hopewell, NJ
Level Contributor
65 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Excellant BBQ, Very Cool Place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2014

Check it out! Old warehouse of some sort, remodeled into bbq restaurant. Not sure how long its been there, but when we were there on a weekday, at 1PM, there were very few customers and I have no idea why, because I would see this as a destination restaurant. The brisket was excellent, the pork was even better! My son and I got one of each and split it, glad we did. Don't miss the collard greens, we both got them and they were great. Great place for a big party, wide open room, you could put table together! Bar too, you'll love this place, try it!

Visited December 2013
Thank Scout1970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
48 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2013

Visited Salvage BBQ this weekend. We both had the brisket sandwich w/ slaw and pickles. I had a side of pintos, wife a side of cornbread. Food was at temperature and prepared well. BBQ Sauce on table was excellent. Having grown up in the south and eaten at most of the reputable bbq joints in 10-15 states; this place is good, great for Portland. It could have been a buck or two less expensive - but still well worth the price. I would like to see turkey on the menu as well. I would definitely recommend.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank MaineCracker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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