Inside the Toronto Life x Longo’s Pitmaster’s Feast at The Carbon Bar

Inside the Toronto Life x Longo’s Pitmaster’s Feast at The Carbon Bar

On the evening of May 29, Toronto barbecue lovers flocked to The Carbon Bar to enjoy some of the city’s best southern-style cooking at The Pitmaster’s Feast, presented by Toronto Life and Longo’s. Guests were treated to a flurry of canapés before sitting down to tackle the huge spreads of food that chef Jonathan Viau’s kitchen prepared for the evening. The family-style meal—paired with Italian wines by Ruffino—was capped with dessert boards and Vin Santo (Italian dessert wine) selected by certified Master of Wine Eugene Mlynczyk.

The event celebrated the start of barbecue season, as well as the summer issue of Longo’s Experience, which features recipes from Viau that were executed for this dinner. Copies of the magazine were included with each plate setting—and included mystery gift cards pre-loaded with values up to $100.

Meet the hosts of the evening: Ken Hunt (Publisher, Toronto Life), Rob Koss (Director, Consumer Promotions, Planning and Community Outreach, Longo’s), Jenny Longo (Director, Private Brands, Longo’s), Eugene Mlynczyk (Master of Wine, Luxury Portfolio Manager, Arterra Wines Canada) and Jonathan Viau (Chef, The Carbon Bar).

Guests at the opening reception were welcomed with Ruffino’s prosecco and sparkling rosé, as well as the Summer Is Coming cocktail featuring High River whiskey, Southern Comfort, Amaro Averna, maple syrup, lemon and rosehip hibiscus tincture.

Canapés included the K.F.C.—i.e., Korean fried cauliflower…

Blistered shishitos dusted with ground guajillo chili and sesame seeds…

Cheddar hushpuppies served with buttermilk ranch…

Wild Argentinian shrimp with lemon aioli…

Crispy sweet potato and brisket croquettes on pools of dijon mustard…

And fried mac-and-cheese sticks with sour BBQ sauce.

Now, onto the shareable starters, beginning with a wedge Caesar salad speckled with pit-smoked bacon.

DIY pulled pork tacos came with fresh corn tortillas, charred tomatillo salsa, citrus crema, curtido (lightly fermented cabbage relish) and cilantro.

The pink-hued kingfish ceviche came with charred scallions, valentine radish, celery, sesame, nori (seaweed) and crispy rice chips in a blood-orange leche de tigre.

And now, the main course. The Carbon Bar’s signature Pitmaster Platter featured all the magic that happens when meat meets wood-smoke: buttery slices of slow-smoked brisket, BBQ-seasoned burnt ends, fall-off-the-bone tender pork ribs and crunchy buttermilk fried chicken. Sides included braised collard greens, slaw and fries. Bottles of the restaurant’s own barbecue sauce accompanied the main platter, including a sweet and spicy version for chicken and pork, and an espresso-based number for beef.

The main event was paired with two Ruffino wines, the Il Ducale Toscana and Aziano Chianti Classico.

Finally, for dessert, Ruffino’s Serelle Vin Santo del Chianti was served…

…alongside slices of “banoffee” pie, creamy burnt Basque cheesecake with wild blueberry compote and Death by Chocolate (a glistening ganache-enrobed dark chocolate mousse cake with espresso caramel sauce.

Missed out? Don’t worry: you can still register for Chef Viau’s cooking class that’s happening at the Maple Leaf Square Longo’s on June 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Learn how to prepare all kinds of delicious brunchy dishes like buttermilk bacon pancakes or hard apple cider–smoked trout with black-eyed pea hash. Tickets are $40 (or $25 for Longo’s Rewards members), including wine, and are available in store or by phoning 416-366-1717.