Mainly Meat on Main is, not surprisingly, on Main Street en route to or from scenic Bar Harbor. This is one of two satellite locations to the original at the Atlantic Brewing complex in Bar Harbor. Atlantic Brewing craft beers and bottled craft sodas are offered here as well.
On the way in, you'll smell smoke from the Ole Hickory smoker in the shed. The booths are all wood and very roomy; the tables are mostly wooden doors topped with sheets of plexiglass. There's a midsized bar in the back and colorful hard plastic deck chairs outside by the smoker.
The menus at the three Mainly Meat locations are similar and mostly focused on
barbecue: pork ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken and sausage. No
brisket, but smoked wings are a plus. There's no such thing as a 2- or
3-meat combo, but a Sampler Platter offers all four smoked entree meats,
along with three sides and cornbread. The boneless meats can also be
had on sandwiches. For the non-BBQ types and vegetarians, there's a
burger and a veggie burger.
I visited Mainly Meat with my young bride on a weekend getaway to Bar Harbor and Bangor. On our way in you couldn't help but notice the fragrant smoke, and I also got a good visual from a few outdoor diners' plates of some healthy looking barbecue sandwiches on Texas toast.
Wings: Ten pieces ($8.88) had decent size and noticeable char. These were smoked, then grilled, and served unsauced as standard practice, as are all the meats. Flavor was mostly grilly, then chickeny, with not so much rub or smoke. Fortunately, these were a relative bargain for price and portion, and one of the table sauces was similar enough to classic Buffalo to make it work.
Ribs: Two connected and unsauced St. Louis cut ribs jutted out from the
pile that was the Sampler (four meats, 3 sides and cornbread for $14.96) with short bones and thick meat. It looked a little long in the
tooth, but a quick separation of the bones uncovered a surprisingly
moist interior, especially for what I believed was a reheat. The rib
meat was perfectly tender, allowing a clean and easy bite without
falling off the bone. Flavor didn't quite keep pace. Smoke and rub
weren't major players here; more likely was that they were on the DL.
The melted-in fat led the way. With a little sauce these ribs were
adequate if not stellar.
Pulled Pork: At the bottom of the Sampler's pig pile, fittingly enough, was the generous pile of pulled pig that had plentiful bark presence, no pink presence and minimal smokiness in and of itself, but one bite confirmed it was smoked. Rub flavor got absorbed into it, as did whatever moisture might have been there. While I generally appreciated the defacto no-sauce approach, this was the one meat that needed it for both moistness and flavor.
Sausage: This Italian style sausage had a lot of the qualities of Andouille, but with a more traditional texture and not-as-heavy feel that I actually preferred. The peppery cayenne heat was welcome, and the char from the grill finish added some flavor too. I wish there were a little more smoke, though it did taste smoked. Bonus points for a crackly casing.
Chicken: The Sampler's final entry was a butt end of breast with a crusty surface and very dark grill marks. Surprisingly, it also had the most smoke flavor of any of the meats. And probably the least amount of grill flavor, which was a plus. I also detected something else in the background, maybe a marinade. Unfortunately, it was rather dry, but I could see trying an all chicken plate if I ever have a chance at a future visit.
Two sauces are available in squeeze bottles on the table. The house
sauce is a classic Kansas City style, a thick, sweet molassesy sauce
that has good sticking qualities and sweetness with just enough heat to
elevate it above the bottled variety. The second choice is a hot sauce
that looks like a Carolina mustard at first, but for both flavor and
thickness it's actually halfway between Tabasco and classic Buffalo
Baked beans: These tasted very much like a canned variety, though they were kicked up with a little bit of heat and a little bit of meat that included both sausage and pulled pork.
Cole slaw: A little over creamy, this had store-bought written all over it.
Potato salad: An interesting blend here, with chopped hard boiled egg, onion and pickle punching things up while still letting the potato sing lead.
Fries: My young bride's fries had skins but still looked and tasted like they came out of a frozen package. These accompanied a veggie burger I didn't try, but it looked good and got a positive report.
Cornbread: It's too bad Hostess made a comeback, because this cornbread would satisfied filled any Twinkie fix.
The Bottom Line
A mixed bag with nothing stupendous or horrendous. I have to say I was at least somewhat impressed by the comfortable setting and the value. Execution could've been a little better, but for a vacation barbecue meal, Mainely Meat on Main cleared the admittedly low hurdle.
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