Electric Mud BBQ ★½
5 Brock Ave., 416-516-8286
The team behind Grand Electric, Parkdale’s new-wave taqueria, has opened a nearby southern-themed restaurant carefully decorated to resemble a badass roadside tavern, with plywood walls, vintage neon signs and a Southern Pride smoker in the open kitchen. The cooks do double duty as DJs at the bar-top turntable, alternating between blues and ZZ Top. The place is named after a convention-busting fusion album by Muddy Waters—an apt choice for a menu that breaks sacred barbecue rules. Tender, chili-licked pork ribs are sprinkled with crushed peanuts; duck is cured and cold-smoked like Black Forest ham, then served with hoisin, quick-pickled cukes and shards of duck crackling; an addictive deep-fried pig’s ear is glazed in sweet-and-sour sauce. These experiments work brilliantly, but they deserve better sides than watery collard greens and leaden hush puppies in corn aïoli. Bourbon cocktails are strong and cheap, like the Clydesdale, a head-walloping concoction of Jim Beam, grapefruit and lemon.