Toronto’s best new barbecue joints
Four great ways to revel in southern-style barbecue with all the fixins
176 Wicksteed Ave., 647-559-2080, adamsonbarbecue.com
This Texas-style barbecue joint in a Leaside industrial park isn’t the most convenient place to grab lunch—but co-owner Adam Skelly says that even in the south, the best smokehouses are always out of the way. Here, it’s all about the meat: brisket, turkey, sausages, pulled pork and spare ribs, smoked in house using real wood, and served simply. 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—for making a sandwich or just soaking up leftover grease—but there are also sandwiches and meat-by-the-pound to go.
Pork Ninjas at Wenona Lodge
1069 Bloor St. W., 647-344-6444, wenonalodge.ca
Barbecue catering company Pork Ninjas, helmed by pitmaster Jason Rees, now shares counter space in the kitchen of Wenona Lodge, the cottage country–themed craft beer bar. One Sunday a month, Wenona swings open its garage doors to Bloor Street, and Rees—whose barbecue style is a mishmash of Kansas, Memphis and Carolina traditions—roasts a moist, crispy-skinned whole hog out back. It’s an incredible all-you-can-eat feast, with sides like Georgia-style peach baked beans, summer veg salads and, of course, Ontario corn—all the trappings of a cottage cookout, including excellent craft beer, minus the mosquitoes.
907 Queen St. W., 647-985-4698, unclesmoke.com
Toronto-born, Missouri-raised chef Aidan Galligan (who previously worked the line at Café Boulud) occasionally rents out the White Squirrel café on Queen West for his wildly popular Uncle Smoke catering company. Later this summer, he’ll open a takeout counter and retail shop, serving his pecan-smoked St. Louis–style pork spareribs, applewood-smoked pork shoulder, Texas smoked brisket, creamy mac and cheese, and skillet cornbread, which customers will be able to carry over to Trinity Bellwoods Park across the street. Meantime, his whole wild boar roast is perfect for big parties.
Smoke Signals Bar-B-Q
Smoke Signals is one of the city’s most prolific pop-ups, putting on tons of events at places like Mr. Flamingo, Drake One Fifty, Loveless and Patois. Chef Nick Chen-Yin follows the central Texas barbecue tradition—the spice-rubbed meat is cooked low and slow over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood. This summer, he’s mixing things up with a Carolina-style pig roast on Canada Day weekend in cottage country. At Grand Electric’s lakeside Muskoka outpost, Chen-Yin will build a pit and shovel coal to roast a juicy whole hog for 12 to 16 hours. The glorious result will be served to cocktail-swilling guests on the restaurant’s patio. 2 James Bartleman Way, Unit 6, Port Carling, 705-765-0381, smokesignalsbarbecue.ca