What’s on the menu at Adamson Barbecue, a true Texas-style smokehouse

What’s on the menu at Adamson Barbecue, a true Texas-style smokehouse

A fully loaded platter at Adamson Barbecue. Photo by Gabby Frank

Our Review of Adamson Barbecue

Name: Adamson Barbecue
Neighbourhood: Leaside
Contact: 176 Wicksteed Ave., 647-559-2080, adamsonbarbecue.com, @adamsonbarbecue
Owners: Adam Skelly and Alison Hunt
Pitmasters: Adam Skelly and Matt Pelechaty

The food

Real Texas barbecue: five types of meat (brisket, turkey, sausages, pulled pork, spare ribs) smoked in house and served simply. Adamson Barbecue claims it’s the only joint in town that stays true to the Lone Star style. “Texas barbecue is unique in that it’s all about the meat,” says co-owner Adam Skelly, who’s been smoking stuff since 2013 for his catering company, Stoke Stack. “We’re not trying to cover it up in sauce or sugar, and we’re not trying to make creative fusion dishes—we’re just trying to make meat really well.” As per Texas style, they use real wood, not pellets, and say their prized menu items are their brisket, ribs and sausage. “That’s how any decent barbecue place is measured down in Texas,” says Skelly.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

Skelly (centre) gets ready to slice some brisket.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

The brisket’s done in the traditional central-Texas style: with lots of black pepper and salt for the rub.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

Platters come with a quarter-pound each of brisket, ribs and house-made sausage, two sides (beans, potato salad or slaw), onion, pickles and white Wonder Bread slices (not pictured)—for making a sandwich or just soaking up leftover grease ($20). The sausage is made twice a week using brisket and rib trimmings, and the beans are flavoured with house-smoked bacon and rendered-down fat from brisket trimmings—not barbecue sauce.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

A pulled pork sandwich topped with slaw and pickles ($9), served with a side of cole slaw ($2.50). All meats can also be purchased by the pound or half-pound.

The drinks

Skelly has his application for a liquor license ready to go, but for now, there’s lemon water and fountain pop, including Big Red, a staple in Texas. Skelly imports the fluorescent-red cream soda from the States and says it goes great with brisket.

The space

The cavernous building is located inside an industrial park in Leaside. It wasn’t Skelly’s first choice, but it belongs to his dad, and it has space out back for his behemoth smoker and a place to park his food truck. He says that, even in Texas, the best smokehouses are always a little bit out of the way. Skelly plans to open a small back patio—right near all the fire-stoking action—but only if there’s still room for all of his wood.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

Here’s the dining area.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

And the open kitchen.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

Skelly brought this 1967 Oyler 1300 smoker up from the States. The “1300” means it can smoke up to 1,300 pounds of meat at a time.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

The smoker is powered by nothing but wood. “When you go to a Texas barbecue joint, they have thousands of dollars of wood sitting outside their place as their only fuel source,” says Skelly. He orders his by the bush cord (a pile that’s four feet tall, eight feet long and eight feet deep).

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

Skelly with co-owner Alison Hunt.

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

Adamson is open weekdays, 11 a.m. until they sell out—which is usually by 1 p.m.

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