Tag Archives: ribs

BBQ beef ribs and beers… Oh my!

Now that we’ve reached a point where restaurants have reopened for indoor dining, it’s time for me to check out some funky joints that don’t have a patio. Like C’est What, one of the OG craft brewpubs in the city, at the corner of Front and Church. This place is soooo underground, it’s literally in a basement, bro! And they’re serving up all kinds of local craft beer, along with comfort food classics like poutine, mac ‘ n cheese, and these bad-to-the-bone BBQ beef ribs:

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Now, these ribs were boiled, not smoked, but the meat was still pretty tender. Sauce had a pretty decent kick, especially when you dipped the meat in the extra sauce on the side. Coleslaw and hash-brown potatoes aren’t things I would normally eat with BBQ, but they got the job done. After a few beers, I definitely couldn’t complain!!!

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And speaking of beers, we’re starting off with a Hopping Mad IPA from Granite Brewery. This copper cask beer had a nice punch, at 60 IBU, without being too puckery, and was still very crushable at 6%.

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Speaking of IPAs, this Surround Sound DIPA from Collective Arts kicks it up a notch with Azacca, Amarillo and Comet hops, coming in at 8.2%. Definitely a lot more juicy and citrusy, if you’re into that!

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But now we’re getting into the darker stuff, with a Long Shadow stout from Fairweather Brewing. They brew this one with coconut, vanilla and coffee, giving it a similar chocolately taste to Granville Island’s Lions Winter Ale, a personal favourite…although it’s not quite as rich. Would definitely try this again, though!

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Speaking of dessert beers, this home-brewed C’est What Mocha Porter is a pretty decent one to curl up in front of a fireplace with. Plus, they donate one dollar from every pint to feminism, so I did my good deed for the day, son!!!

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Even after that four-course liquid dinner, you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert, bro! This chocolate hazelnut brownie, with ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top really hits the spot!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Fried chicken ‘n ribs from Uncle Ray’s

Now, I’m not gonna lie — I’ve got a big list of funky takeout joints that I’ve been meaning to check out. But sometimes, I come across a place that looks so good, it goes right to the top of the list…like this funky soul-food joint at the foot of Church Street, Uncle Ray’s Food & Liquor.

Now, this place has got all the classics — grilled chicken, fried chicken, ribs, burgers, hot chicken, beef short rib, chicken ‘n waffles… But the thing is, you can’t order ribs on their own. They only come in a chicken ‘n rib combo — and that’s grilled chicken, not fried chicken. So, to buy a ticket to this festival of funk in Flavourtown, I had to order a chicken & ribs combo for one AND a two-piece fried chicken plate. Any more chickens, and I’d hafta ask for a Coke, blues bro!!!

But I put the grilled chicken in the fridge for later, cuz this is the star of the show, right here:

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Dude, this bird is the word! And believe it or not, but it’s boneless… which means more bird for your buck! Actually, I’ve had this fried chicken before — the chicken ‘n waffles Sunday special at Union Chicken uses the same recipe, which is super-crunchalicious! Only here, they throw in some pickles and a legit hot honey, which really kicks it up a notch!!!

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Now, this might just look like one giant piece of pork, but there are actually two bones to this order — which is good, because otherwise, I’d hafta file a complaint. Ribs were nice ‘n meaty, with a nice glaze, but not too saucy. And you definitely can’t complain about the size!

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Now, the chicken ‘n ribs combo comes with not one, not two, but three sides, which is just about enough to fill me up, buttercup! You’ve got some spicy baked beans with a nice kick, the mayo from the slaw to cool off the spice, and then a buttermilk biscuit with a nice honey butter — I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!

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Let’s just say that after all this eatin’ good in the neighbourhood, I might hafta save that grilled chicken for tomorrow…

 

Dry-rub ribs ‘n saucy brisket @ Stack

So, we’re hanging out at Stack, this funky BBQ joint on Yonge St, just a little north of Lawrence. A few years back, I had a bitchin’ grilled cheese bacon cheeseburger here…but it’s no longer on the menu, so this time, I’m gonna try some BBQ instead — starting with the Memphis dry ribs:

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Now, these babies are nicely smoked, with a good crust and a pink smoke ring on the meat — and I really dig the chipotle dip that comes with. I mean, I normally wouldn’t dip ribs in something, but this sauce is the boss, hoss!!!

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Speaking of sauce, though… I am really not a fan of sauce on beef brisket. If I had known the meat on their brisket plate was covered in sauce, I’d probably ask ’em to hold off. Plus, the brisket was thinly sliced, and it seemed like the coleslaw-to-meat ratio was pretty much 2-to-1 — that’s a whole lotta slaw, son!!!

Next time, I would try their brisket on top of a burger, though…

Cutting down a pound of ribs @ Woodlot

So, we’re hanging out at Woodlot, this funky little joint on Palmerston, just offa College Street. This place specializes in honest, simple, handmade food, with both a meat eater and a vegetarian menu. Yeah, so I didn’t even look at the second one…

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Man, these ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, with a Memphis-style dry rub and a side of crunchy slaw — so I guess I did get one serving of veggies. But you know I’m all about that meat, bro! Normally, I like sauce on my ribs, but that little dusting of dry rub really gave the swine a chance to shine!!!

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Washed ’em all down with a Janky IPA, a slightly hoppy beer from Matron Brewing. Dude, this brewski is like Fred Van Vleet’s defence on Steph Curry in the Finals, bro!!!

AYCE BBQ @ Broadview Hotel

On Sunday, it was finally starting to feel like summer, so we’re hanging out on the patio at the Broadview Hotel for their Ultimate Summer BBQ Series, where they’re serving up all the meat you can eat for 25 bucks, bro! And they’ve got all the backyard classics — burgers, sausage, ribs, chicken legs, pulled pork, and even mac ‘n cheese!!!

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With so much meat and such little time (they only give you 90 minutes), I didn’t know where to start… So I piled some pulled pork, onions and pickles into a sammy. It was maybe a little dry — needs some sauce, boss! — but still quite tasty.

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Now, I’m not a guy who likes a lotta stuff on his sausage — gimme some onions, maybe a little sauerkraut, and I’m happy. But this place was all aut of kraut, and the non-diced onions weren’t optimized for maximum sausage delivery…but that didn’t make this smokie any less tasty!!!

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Unlike pulled pork, I don’t actually need a lotta sauce on my ribs. These ones were just about right…and I can’t complain about the meat ratio on this one, either!

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These chicken legs mighta been the best thing at the BBQ. Hot, meaty, with just enough Cajun seasoning… I could slam, like, 17 of these!!!

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a backyard BBQ without burgers. Tomato, onion, pickles — I’ll leave the leafy green stuff for the cows, bro!

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Now, you KNOW I’m not just having one burger, bro! For round two, I’m talking beef, topped with pulled pork, topped with sliced sausage, on a bed of pickles, onions and coleslaw — it’s a Flavourtown Triple Play, times two!!!

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Hey, you can’t have a BBQ patio party without beer, bro! These ice-cold brewskis came from Eastbound Brewing Co, just a couple blocks down the street. Their Hidden Lake Hefeweizen was light and refreshing, but surprisingly strong at 5.7% — it’s probably outlawed in at least a few States. 😉

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Now, that 25 bucks (plus tax) only gets you one drink ticket, but the last time I only had one beer at a backyard BBQ was that time I sharted on the slip ‘n slide after a bad batch of baked beans. So paying five bucks for another brew was a no-brainer, bro! This Nerve Tonic saison has a nice hint of juniper berries at the end, and it doesn’t seem like 6.1% — I could totally crush a ton of these!!!!

 

Dirty Deeds, Done with Beef @ Yonge-Dundas Rib Fest

Now, some people might spend the May 24 weekend getting wasted at the cottage with the long-reigning monarch of a by-gone era. But for me, the unofficial start of summer is the Yonge-Dundas Rib Fest, right in downtown Flavourtown. You’ve got beef ribs, pork ribs, brisket sammies, a bloomin’ onion, churros…and even an AC/DC tribute band!? Shut the front, back, rear, side, aft, port and starboard doors, son!!!

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So, outta all the meat merchants, you KNOW I had to hit up Texas Jack’s from Arlington, Texas. Or, at least that’s what their sign said — the girl behind the counter was wearing a trucker hat from Martin’s BBQ in Nashville. Now, Texas BBQ is all about the brisket, and while you couldn’t get it lean or fatty, they were serving up chopped brisket sandwiches like they do after 2 pm at Franklin’s:

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Now, this sandwich might be like 14 bucks, but at least they don’t shortchange ya on the meat, shoving all kinds of chopped beefy goodness between two hot dog buns. The only thing I’d say, and I don’t say this every day, is that this brisket couldda used some sauce — but that’s actually my bad for not squirting some from the giant containers out front.

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Now, even though I saw em sitting right there on the grill, these beef ribs weren’t actually on the menu, which meant you had to make a special request. This also meant that the meat had probably been sitting on the grill too long — I had to really rip at it with my two front teeth. But hey, anytime you gotta fight your food, that just makes it taste better, right?

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Of course, even after putting more meat in my mouth than I did at the Montana Testicle Festival, you KNOW I still had room for dessert, bro! These chocolate-covered churros were two for six dollars, and came with an all-you-can-sprinkle sugar bar. Since the wind was blowing, there was so much white powder on my clothes that I looked like I was partying with Charlie Sheen, son!!!

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As for the tuneage, The AC/DC Show Canada was the closest we’ll get to catching the Thunder from Down Under without somebody like Axl Rose singing. And hey, they might not have giant cannons, an inflatable Rosie or a swinging Hell’s Bell, but at least they didn’t play any of the boring AC/DC songs from the last 20 years!!!

Slammin’ smoked lamb at Barque, bro!!!

Now, Barque Smokehouse is already one of my favourite BBQ joints in this city. Their Smoker’s Choice platter is enough food to feel a small army of Flavourtown Warriors, Bro-veheart! But when it’s date night in Flavourtown, I’m all about the BBQ Sampler for Two. You get three meats, two sides and an appetizer, for just 64 bucks. And yes, they do give you enough food (unlike some place on Queen St I won’t mention)…

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Man, this is like a Fieri family portrait in Flavourtown! You’ve got Barque Rack O’Bama baby back ribs, beef brisket, and…wait for it…smoked pulled lamb shoulder, son! Plus there’s sides of cajun mac ‘n cheese and garlic mashed potaters, topped with crispy pancetta? Shut the front, back and cellar doors!!!! And I haven’t even mentioned the appetizer:

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Dude, these Korean BBQ Nachos were so outta bounds, I almost Gangnam Styled myself to death, bro! You’ve got smoked wonton chips, gojuchang beef brisket, cheddar cheese, jalapenos and smoked pineapple!? Dude, I don’t even mind pineapple on pizza, but this is totally kicking it up a notch!!!!

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Now, I’ve had the brisket and ribs here before, so I know they’re legit, but this was the first time in my lifetime I’ve ever eaten BBQ pulled lamb. I did have lamb ribs that one time in Cleveland, and they were only my third-favourite kind of ribs (beef ribs FTW, bro!!!), but I’ve always been more of a lamb shank kinda guy. So hey, if you take it, and pull it and sauce it, well…there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

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Now, when it comes to sides, that crispy pancetta on the potatoes is TheBomb.it. You could put that on a flip flop, and it would still taste good! But you know it’s all about that mac, bro… Dude, this is body by mac ‘n cheese!!!

 

Texas-style BBQ on a muthafuckin boat!!!

So, a couple weeks ago, we were sailing the seven seas of cheese on the Norwegian Bliss. Now they’ve got all kinds of funky joints all over this cruise ship — Mexican, Italian, French, teppanyaki, even a fancy steakhouse…but you KNOW the first place we’re checking out is the Texas BBQ joint! That’s right, Q Texas Smokehouse has got all the meats, and even though I didn’t see a smoker or smell the hickory, I can tell ya this shit is legit!!!!

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What we’ve got here is their signature Pitmaster Platter, with beef brisket, pork spare ribs, smoked chicken, jalapeno cheddar two ways — sausage AND cornbread, and then a couple sides like pickles, potato salad and beans. Now, let’s break it down:

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Now, unlike a real-deal Texas BBQ joint, this place don’t ask ya if you like yer brisket lean or fatty — they just give it to ya lean. But this thinly sliced meat has a perfect pink smoke ring, and tastes nice and tender with a side of Tennessee Whiskey (from the in-house country cover band).

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Now, normally I’d say if you’re eating ribs at a Texas smokehouse, you’re doing it wrong. But them bones are perfectly smoked, with a nice bark and a good chew. I might even order a whole rack of these bad boys next time!!!

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Likewise, a true Texas BBQ joint is more likely to serve you turkey instead of chicken, but man, you could cook anything in that smoker of theirs and it will still taste good!!!

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Now, I’m not a fan of the fact that they cut their jalapeno cheddar hot link in half — smoked sausage is all about the snap, son! But this still wasn’t bad. Not as good as Adamson’s, which is TheBomb.ca, but not bad…

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Now, this might sound crazy, but even with all that meat on the platter, the jalapeno cheddar cornbread almost stole the show. It’s a bit sweet, with a nice chew, and just a little kick from those hot peppers… Dude, this is body by jalapeno cornbread!!!

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Of course, you KNOW that after polishing off that Pitmaster Platter, I’ve still got room for dessert — we’re talking peach cobbler AND a chocolate brownie, bro! And yes, I did eat most of both of these myself…

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Beer-braised baby back ribs @ Blake House

Now, sometimes the best ribs don’t always come from a real-deal BBQ joint. We’re hanging out at The Blake House, this funky little pub on Jarvis that’s been around since the ‘90s – the 1890’s, son! And while you can watch the Leafs on TV, they ain’t all about burgers and wings. Instead, you’ve got steaks, you’ve got meat pies, and you’ve got these babies – stout-braised baby back ribs!

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Oh man, these babies are super-tender, meat is perfectly moist. You get a nice BBQ sauce, not too saucy, and maybe a bit of richness from the beer coming through. You get a decent helping of fries and purple slaw, and it comes in a half rack or a full…but you KNOW a full rack is just a light snack in Flavourtown!!!

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Real-deal Texas BBQ, deep in the heart of…Pittsburgh???

So, we’re crusin’ down Butler Street in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh’s hottest neighbourhood, when I spot this bitchin’ BBQ joint with a massive outdoor patio, picnic tables, and a buncha people playing cornhole out front. You know I spun a U-ie in the Camaro right then and there, bro!!!

Walter’s Southern Kitchen actually just opened at the end of August, and it’s run by the same folks as Morgan’s BBQ in Brooklyn…but when it comes to meat, they’re definitely doing it up Texas-style:

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Dude, that beef brisket is real-deal, Bomb.com, too legit to quit, bro!!!! The meat just falls apart on your fork, melts in your mouth, and explodes all over your face. And then you’ve got the turkey. I’m more of a fried chicken man myself, but when you’ve got it coming straight outta the smoker, all pink and tender, I could eat about five pounds of that…and probably not have room for dessert?

walters_bbq_turkey (1)Mmm, BBQ turkey…

Now, because I happened to be wearing my Franklin BBQ trucker hat, these dudes knew I knew what’s up, so they offered me some ribs for free. (Well that, and they were also all outta sausage). Feast your eyes on this Flavourtown meat popsicle:

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Dude, these ribs were just as tender and flavourful as the brisket, with a simple salt-and-pepper rub. They were all sold outta beef ribs though, otherwise that wouldda been perfect…

Anyways, they’re still ironing out some of the kinks over there, but the food is super-legit, and I don’t know anywhere else in town where you can do yoga in the morning, play some cornhole and drink beers in the afternoon, and then chow down on BBQ at night. If another place like this does exist…then I might be headed back to Pittsburgh sooner than later, son!!!!