In The News

  • 11/23/2020

    Tips for outdoor grilling in the winter

    “There is something special about cold weather grilling,” said Spencer Brantley, owner of Wilson County Barbecue in Portland. “It has a sense of adventure combined with a tinge of naughtiness akin to eating breakfast for dinner.”

  • 10/25/2020

    Dine In/Out Maine: An East End recharge

    Pulling out of Fork’s parking lot, I head down to Kennebec Street, past Wilson County Barbecue, a restaurant whose crisp cornmeal hush puppies ($7) and vinegary North Carolina-style pulled pork ($18) always bring to mind languorous summertime block parties, no matter the weather.

  • 09/09/2020


    Near Bayside Bowl, Wilson County Barbecue in Portland has barbecue southern style. Opened about a year, Wilson County Barbecue has pit-smoked, whole hog barbecue done the old-fashioned way. It's run by native North Carolinian Spencer Brantley and he uses recipes that have been handed down generations. Yes, the Brantley clan is from Wilson County, North Carolina.

  • 02/10/2020

    Wilson County puts the bar in barbecue

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t expect a barbecue place to have a specialty cocktail menu. When it does, however, and the first “specialty cocktail” listed is “Maker’s Mark, splash of water,” I immediately feel right at home.

  • 02/04/2020

    The 10 Hottest Restaurants in Maine Right Now

    Portland’s barbecued meat scene grows more diverse with the addition of Wilson County Barbecue. With a menu of pork, chicken, and seafood prepared using North Carolina-style techniques and sauces, this West Bayside barbecue joint occupies the refurbished Portland Public Works building, joining nearby Bayside Bowl and Coals. Traditional Southern sides like hushpuppies, pimento cheese, and buttermilk biscuits round out the experience.

  • 10/10/2021

    A Taste of Local Collards

    Shawn Owen, the kitchen manager and lead chef at Wilson County Barbecue in Portland, moves collard greens to the smoker.

  • 08/29/2022

    Find comfort at Wilson County, from barbecue and beyond

    At the Portland restaurant, you can get chicken and dumplings with sensational biscuits and opt to sit outside.

  • 10/09/2022

    Dine Out Maine: North Carolina barbecue? If it’s Wilson County Barbecue, bring it on!

    If ketchup-based sauce and beef brisket are all that comes to mind when you hear the word, “barbecue,” it’s time for a visit to Wilson County Barbecue in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood. Opened by Spencer Brantley and his business partners from Ri Ra, the restaurant is “a whole-hog-focused, sub-regional restaurant” specializing in Eastern North Carolina barbecue dishes. Chief among them, tangy, pit-smoked pulled pork that gets a jolt from apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes. It is terrific, as are the deep-fried hushpuppies that derive sweetness from pureed onions, the tomatoey Brunswick stew of shredded chicken thighs and pork, and pretty much all the sides from collard greens to pepper-gravy-drizzled mashed potatoes.