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How Terlingua’s Pitmasters Use Texas Barbecue Techniques on Maine Seafood

The Portland restaurant utilizes the area’s fresh lobster, mussels, mackerel, and other seafood

“We’re making barbecue in Maine. It’s not easy to do, it’s not meant to be here in a lot of ways,” says Terlingua pitmaster Pliny Reynolds. His challenge is bringing together Portland’s bountiful fresh lobster, mussels, and mackerel, and Tex-Mex barbecue-style brisket, quail, and chorizo, oftentimes in zero degree weather. “Recuperating [the smoker] when it’s zero degrees, which it is a lot of times up here, makes it difficult.”

But that hasn’t stopped him and his business partner Wilson Rothschild in combining what Reynolds calls “the holy trinity” of smoke, Mexican, Caribbean, and Latin American flavors, all with Texas barbecue techniques.

“Maine has world class ingredients, whether we’re talking about lobsters, or shellfish like scallops and mussels. Exploring that with barbecue was something we felt like we had to do”, Reynolds explains as he pulls a tray of mussels covered in seaweed from the smoker. He drizzles them with chile oil and tops them on a classic barbecue side: deviled eggs. Other combo dishes like this can be found throughout the menu, from smoked lobster tostadas to classic pit-smoked brisket, to smoked mackerel dip with homemade tortilla chips, and more.

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