Salvage BBQ in Portland, Maine

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. My grandparents live on a beautiful lake, and every year friends and family from all over camp out at their house on the 4th to enjoy bonfires, BBQ’s, boat rides, sparklers, and s’mores. In fact, my favorite childhood memory is laying on their hammock by the water, wearing an over-sized sweatshirt, eating a sticky s’more, smelling the smoky campfire, and watching the Independence Day fireworks explode in the sky as family ohhh’d and ahhh’d nearby. At that moment in time, every human sense I had was satisfied, and I felt filled with love and happiness. After the fireworks, my sisters, cousin, and I would all run around outside playing flashlight tag. Our game would soon evolve into hide-and-go-seek, as Mom and Dad tried to catch us to tuck us into bed. I never wanted the day to end, but thankfully, I was able to re-live this happy moment on the 4th year after year.Lake SunsetAs an adult, I wanted to share this magical day with B and his family . . .

. . . my favorite day, with my favorite people.

 But that didn’t end up happening, and now I don’t know if the 4th will ever feel the same. I’m mad because it’s tainted, but even more frustrated because I know it is what I make of it. I can choose to remember my favorite day with bliss, or with sadness. As I have lived in Europe for the past six years, I have missed out on the 4th of July for quite some time. So it was kind of a double whammy, finally getting to celebrate my favorite holiday with family and friends, but in a completely different light than I had expected. All things considered, I assumed this 4th of July would feel pretty shitty.IMG_1050But it wasn’t shitty, it was actually really amazing and filled with a handful of my favorite people.Best Friends3The fact is, shit happens, and that’s life. Like this year on the 4th of July, it rained. We were supposed to spend the day at the lake, celebrating, like in my childhood memories, but my grandparents postponed the festivities until the 5th due to the weather. The 5th was supposed to be Girls Day (um, not to mention previously my wedding day), as all my favorite ladies were in town, but we swapped the days around and also changed the name of the day, as Pierce, another one of my best buddies, was only in town for the 4th. And he’s a guy so it couldn’t be Girls Day! So we declared the 4th of July Best Friends Day and spent a full 24 hours drinking, laughing, catching up, and eating a lot of food. Pretty much what best friends are supposed to do!!IMG_1440We started the day at Casey’s house with shots and drinks. Pierce is a fan of day-drinking, so he can sober up at night and have a relatively normal next-day. But Amie, Katie, and Jess prefer night time drinking. So we all decided to be considerate of each other, and just drink consistently throughout the day AND night. I know, brilliant idea. As my beautiful bestie Casey is pregnant (which is so exciting and amazing!! ) she couldn’t drink, so she very kindly offered to be our designated driver. So we got a DD for the day AND we get a new little niece or nephew to dote on soon. Double woo!IMG_1452As it was the 4th, we still wanted a big American BBQ despite the rain. So we went to Salvage BBQ in Portland, which is a lot tastier than the name suggests!!IMG_1447Salvage BBQ opened their doors to the public in August 2013. They are located in a former railroad post office building, and at one point the property was home to Portland Architectural Salvage, hence the name Salvage BBQ. The dining style is self-service.IMG_1445Patrons line up to order their meal, which is then smoked, pulled, stacked, and then delivered to your long, picnic-style table.IMG_1464They also have a full service bar with a great selection of local brews.IMG_1458

IMG_1460On each table you’ll find big rolls of paper towels, cutlery, plates, and numerous delectable BBQ sauces.IMG_1454IMG_1456The ambiance is very vintage-Americana, with a blend of US relics and old-school arcade games. The space is open and airy with high, bright windows, giving the restaurant a great indoor-outdoor vibe.

The menu at Salvage BBQ features all of your barbecue favorites, from chopped pork to brisket to ribs. They have sandwiches, sides, and trays, so you can mix and match and build your prefered combo. Katie and I split the half-chicken and sausage tray, which was huge and more than enough for two ladies. We got pinto beans and collard greens as our sides, and the tray also came with a stack of onions and pickles (my favorite).IMG_1478The chicken was crispy and delicious, but the sausage was my absolute favorite!

IMG_1472Jess got an array of sides, including the most delicious mac & cheese which we all stole bites of.IMG_1467 copyIMG_1468

IMG_1479IMG_1480Amie and Casey got the chopped pork and rib tray to share.

IMG_1469IMG_1485As did Pierce.IMG_1484The overall consensus was that everything tasted amazing!!!

IMG_1483 IMG_1493 IMG_1486It’s a running joke to draw pictures of Katie’s father-in-law and take photos with him. So Flat Jerome made an appearance at Salvage BBQ as well!

IMG_1497After stuffing ourselves with BBQ, we moved onto Dogfish for drinks. Best Friends / Independence Pub Crawl 2014!!

IMG_1500Our last stop of the night before heading out for some dancing was Casey’s house, where we got all dolled up and played Cards Against Humanity.

best-friends-3
Best FriendsI seriously love these people and am lucky to have spent the day with so many awesome folks!! The day truly is what you make it. And I was lucky to make it filled with so many amazing people.

Ali and Katiexo Ali


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4 thoughts on “Salvage BBQ in Portland, Maine

    • I can’t quite recall where we went as it was almost a year ago! But usually when I’m in Portland I end up at Oasis for giant jenga and rum buckets, or 51 Wharf which is one of the few places that has table service in Portland, Maine :)

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