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Hogtown Smoke

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on November 25, 2013 / review policy

hogtown smoke torontoHogtown Smoke has been open in the Beach(es) for less than a month, and already the food truck's brick and mortar offspring is on fire. Take-away orders start rolling in via phone before the doors even open, and in the evenings I'm told the wait is 45 minutes or longer.

hogtown smokeOwners Scott and Kevin Fraser opened this 30-seat eatery after getting stuck in traffic and seeing the storefront for lease. The deal was sealed with the serendipitous inclusion of an enormous backyard that'll house the three smokers that Scott has already acquired, not to mention the new 500lb barrel smoker that's on order from Oklahoma. Future plans will see the outdoor kitchen set to one side to make room for seating next patio season.

hogtown smokeInside is warm and cozy. The decor employs reclaimed barn board, tin bucket light shades, and salvaged church pew seating. The menu is scrawled across a chalkboard wall and the bar at the back doubles as the takeout counter.

The menu is not cheap, but considering the generous portion sizes and top quality meats, nothing seems outrageous. Pig Out Platters ($64-$182) will feed three to 10 people and if you order it to stay, you'll draw envious glares from onlooking diners.

hogtown smokeThe full spread features a sampling of everything. There's pork ribs or beef ribs, brisket, pulled pork, Patron-infused chicken and wings.

hogtown smokeA choice of three sides (at least) are included with the platters: hearty root beer-baked beans, cornbread muffins, slaw (creamy or vinegar based) or seasoned fries are among the options. Vegetarians should probably just sit this one out.

hogtown smokeThe glorious array of low and slow cooked meats are served au natural (not sauced) to show off their merits. Sliced brisket boasts black bark and a deep pink ring; crisp golden chicken skin encases juicy poultry that was steamed (thanks to Patron and lime juice injections) as it smoked; beef ribs that should've been cut down to short ribs but are instead served whole on mammoth bones. House-made sauces are offered on the side and come in seven varieties ranging from mild to hot and in unique flavours like peanut butter chipotle, mango habanero or ghost pepper hot sauce.

For dining singles and duos there are sandwiches ($13-$16), chicken dinners ($20) and sample platters ($26-$45) all served with a choice of at least two heaping sides.

hogtown smokeCurrently the bar pours pints of Beau's for $8, though there are plans to expand the selection with a soon-to-be-installed tap station. Shots of bourbon and tequila range from $5.75 to $14, and glasses of wine hover around $11.

hogtown smokeHogtown Smoke is open daily from noon until 10pm, but be warned that menu items do sell out. Diners looking to indulge should keep an eye out for specials like the $100 wagyu beef brisket and shrimp boils planned for next patio season.

hogtownsmokePhotos by Jesse Milns



TJ / November 25, 2013 at 10:13 am
Looks pretty good but you are right, prices aren't cheap.
Rich / November 25, 2013 at 10:25 am
Much more expensive than the competition but I guess they're catering to the Leslieville /Beaches types?
bob loblaw / November 25, 2013 at 11:45 am
Pints of Beau's for 8 bucks? Seriously.
puffpuff replying to a comment from Rich / November 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm
AFT is far superior to this place.
Paul / November 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm
Hope the meat isn't as dry as the stuff from the Hogtown Smoke Food Truck...
todd / November 25, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Hope it's better then the truck food...that's disgusting
Kim replying to a comment from Rich / November 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm
What competition?

There is nothing else like this in the neighbourhood.

It's long overdue!
Mike / November 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm
Prices are definitely for the Beaches crowd.
Rich replying to a comment from Kim / November 25, 2013 at 01:27 pm
Its a couple blocks west but Leslieville Pumps?
Riverside replying to a comment from Kim / November 25, 2013 at 01:40 pm
A couple more blocks west is AFT.

Which is heavenly.
loper / November 25, 2013 at 01:48 pm
I don't get the "patron" infused chicken? Patron is $100 at the LCBO and is total shit tequila. el jimador is way better and less than half the price. Plus, once you cook it, who cares! Switch to a cheaper tequila and pass on the savings.
Beacher / November 25, 2013 at 02:10 pm
Rule number 1 on the board says it all - 45 minute - hour wait for a table while your standing between patrons eating - a lot of pissed of patrons when we were there and haven't heard positive since. Here's a hint if you know nothing about running a restaurant partner up with someone that does. Food's okay but definitely not worth the hassle.
Kevin / November 25, 2013 at 02:17 pm
Had the beef ribs, $20.00 for 2 bones and 2 sides. Very little meat and tough. After gnawing on it for a few minutes I gave it to my dog, very disapointing. The cornbread and beans were good.
Gloria / November 25, 2013 at 02:25 pm
Where are people getting a "couple of blocks" from? Woodbine to Carlaw is not a couple of blocks. Carlaw to the DVP is better, but not by much. Sheesh.
Rich replying to a comment from Gloria / November 25, 2013 at 03:09 pm
Its the East end, who cares :)
Zara / November 25, 2013 at 03:11 pm
very dissapointed with the lack of Jewish or Kosher friendly options at this restaurant, was offended and will not be back.
Water into beer / November 25, 2013 at 03:11 pm
Another pretend deep-pit joint in Toronto. The ribs were dry, the pork was chemical tasting and the wings were nothing special. Overpriced crap that I waited 50 minutes to get. Luckily I have a Green Egg and a Broil King in my backyard and know how to use 'em.
Dave replying to a comment from Zara / November 25, 2013 at 04:02 pm
You're offended??? Do you know of a rule that says restaurants must cater to religions? There are other places in the city that serve Jewish/Kosher food, why not seek them out instead of being 'offended'? People these days are offended for every single thing, and I am including you in this statement. Please tell me, what do you suggest the owners do so that you would return and not be offended?
Porter Houseman replying to a comment from Water into beer / November 25, 2013 at 04:04 pm
Well said, friend. Those ribs in photo number two look like slabs of wood and I bet are just as juicy. Makes you wonder if they dry the meat up and salt it plenty to sell beer, beer, sauce, and beer.
StellsBells replying to a comment from Zara / November 25, 2013 at 04:44 pm
Zara, that was a joke, right?
StellsBells replying to a comment from Dave / November 25, 2013 at 04:45 pm
Totally agreed Dave, re: Zara. I went to a Jewish deli and was PROFOUNDLY offended that they didn't have ham and cheese. [seizure eyerolls]
jb replying to a comment from bob loblaw / November 25, 2013 at 07:26 pm
Was there Saturday night. Food and service are good/fair at best. Yes, $8 for a pint. Think we count down the days/weeks for this place to go tits up
LMAO replying to a comment from Zara / November 25, 2013 at 09:40 pm
You were offended?
LMAO! Get over yourself, princess
Nameless replying to a comment from Zara / November 26, 2013 at 08:35 am
Zara? doesn't sound like a Jewish name to me...
chef currie / November 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm
Amazing food if you cant afford it do some more hours at work
bring my bucket / November 26, 2013 at 02:50 pm
Ate there on Saturday night, got a table without waiting luckily. ordered the platter for two. it came with half a chicken (I didnt taste any hint of Patron), a huge beef rib (with a big chunk of fat) and some dry pulled pork (the idea is you pick and mix your old sauce into it). The sides were ok (beans yum!) but the cornbread side was a single small muffin you had to share. The real problem is the price, it was $75 for this 2-person platter, a single beer ($8!?!?) and a pop.
bring my bucket / November 26, 2013 at 02:51 pm
btw, the pulled pork (and prices) at Leslieville Pumps is far, far superior. The downside is Pumps is more of a takeaway joint.
Julianna replying to a comment from Zara / November 26, 2013 at 04:51 pm
That might be the case for some, but sodium nitrated dehydrated charred meat and idiotic prices are what's extremely offensive. Give this ding joint a pass. There are many excellent BBQ places in TO that know what customers like.
EATaDICK / November 26, 2013 at 08:18 pm
This place sucks.
tnt replying to a comment from Zara / November 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm
Try Kabul Farms..
bob loblaw / November 27, 2013 at 03:01 pm
Good ribs are pretty to easy to make at home. Come em slow and low and then add some sides. They are also a pretty cheap cut to buy at the grocer / butcher. So I don't understand why in places like this they are so expensive? It boggles the mind.
Scott / November 27, 2013 at 03:38 pm
Because we don't buy the cheap cuts. I understand what it seems like however with back ribs for example we buy ethically raised local product. And it's butchered to a size we spec. Average rack of backs at a chain or grocery store weighs 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. Ours average 2.5-4.5 lbs a rack. All of our margins are standard however we use premium quality product and have large sizes. So you can't really compare to a Swiss chalet or grocery cut rack. Not apples to apples. Then there is the two side dishes we include at no additional cost.
Joe Z. replying to a comment from Scott / November 27, 2013 at 04:49 pm
Thanks for pointing that out. That is appreciated. But let us know why 'many' BBQ houses take that same 'premium quality product' and COOK IT UNTIL IT IS DRY AS WOOD CHIPS? Great taste maybe but a helluva tough chew even after soaking the cuts in sauce and beer! Why? I know of one place lasted less than five months for that stunt.
George / November 27, 2013 at 07:08 pm
I have eaten at Hogtown twice only to be diss appointed both times. Ordered the brisket sandwich, beans and slaw the first time and ended up with a stale bun, tasteless slaw and cold beans. Thought I'd give it another go and ordered Beef ribs that were super fatty and minimal meat, soggy sweet potato fries and cold beans over powered by onions. Never again. Aft in the east end is my choice from here on in. Oh and the $8 Beaus!?!? Give me a break.
Pmpm / November 27, 2013 at 11:47 pm
Mmm.. Best short ribs ever... Great food, awesome staff, everyone sees bbq differently, what counts is that you get good food, great service... It could cost $5 or $20... If u leave satisfied then it don't matter... 3 visits to hogtown... Left satisfied all 3 times. Keep up the good work.
Dirian G. replying to a comment from Pmpm / November 28, 2013 at 11:04 am
You must be related to the owners, right, or did you smoke something the mayor gave you?
Todd / November 29, 2013 at 10:24 am
The city's loaded now with fly-by-night trendy food operations run by people who don't give a shit about anything except finding that delicate balance between obscene prices people will pay and barely edible food.

Burgers, tacos, BBQ, donuts, tea... take your pick. They've all been co-opted by ex-bankers and tweaked to a detriment, removing these simple, humble foods from a wide audience and firmly into SUV stroller territory. Based on location and price, I knew this place would suck. And it did.

Not a goddamn chef left in this town, just financiers.
Maureen replying to a comment from Todd / November 29, 2013 at 11:25 am
Agree with you 100%, Todd. Maybe that explains the dryness of the products these fools serve - the finance cretins think they are still dealing in cold hard cash, not anything that resembles decent food. Buyer beware? Hell, buyer hide wallet and keep on walking.
Todd replying to a comment from Maureen / November 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm
To be fair, I know nothing about the background of these specific owners, but their place is definitely on this (awful) trend.

There were only a handful of places that were passionate about BBQ back when no one was asking for it... and now we're supposed to believe that it's such a passion one MUST open a restaurant? Yeah, don't buy that for a second.
Michael / November 29, 2013 at 05:51 pm
How many of you guys have actually been to the restaurant? The service has been top notch both times I've been there, the atmosphere is very homey and the food has been great. Sure it's not the cheapest restaurant in the city but the quality of the food and the portions you're getting is more than what you need which is perfect for lunch the next day. Rather than hiding behind the internet, why not try it out yourselves and if you do get a dry batch tell them to their faces, I'm sure they'll appreciate the feedback regardless.
mikey / December 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm
Totally disorganized place. Ridiculously in fact but yummy BBQ. Takeout for me
mystic_eye_cda replying to a comment from Zara / March 8, 2014 at 11:06 am
Clearly you have no clue what Kosher food actually is. I hope you're really enjoying your "notoriety".
Steve / March 9, 2014 at 01:50 pm
I've eaten good BBQ, but not at Hogtown Smoke. Dry pork back ribs, tasteless muffin, tasteless creamy slaw, bitter (too bitter for me to eat) vinegar slaw, and soggy fries. And all that for a price that's obscene even by Queen St/Beaches standards. If you want good food, go some place else.
Bulldog Drummon replying to a comment from Timothy McDugal / March 24, 2014 at 03:24 pm
That explains the desiccated quality of the food and minds of those who 'think' they serve there. Puts a potential patron in great fear of what kind of smoke is really making the ribs so damn dry. Heed Timothy's warning an steer clear of this ding-head joint.
carlo / April 2, 2014 at 09:29 pm
crappy food if he can sell he puts it on his food truck ? stay away from these place as your pocket might get empty before you leave the place and your left overs will be served tomorrow to others from the food truck
Claire / April 7, 2014 at 09:41 am
I am not impressed. I didn't even get to try the food as we sat there for close to 10 mins and were ignored after a kid slapped menus down on the table. Awesome.
Steve / July 15, 2014 at 10:39 am
Look, it is a brand new restaurant so growing pains are expected - show a little patience and give it some time people! Rule of Thumb: Never go to a restaurant in the first 90 days of opening. I think this place is going to surprise you in the coming months.
JM / July 15, 2014 at 11:38 am
One word...awful. From the warm white wine to the dry chicken, oversalted baked beans...I could go on and on...pissed that I wasted 60 bucks at this place.
TS replying to a comment from JM / July 16, 2014 at 04:37 pm
Have to agree with JM - overpriced slop
a / July 17, 2014 at 05:05 pm
Had take out about weeks ago. I couldn't believe that they would only give two 1 oz containers of sauce with my order. I had to pay $4 extra to get 4 more sauce containers. I mean it wouldn't be so much of a rip off if you weren't given unlimited sauce if you sit in the dining area to eat. When I asked the hostess she said that they would be bottling the sauce and people could buy it along with their take out. So I'm going to pay $50 for a 2 person platter and another $6 for a bottle of sauce? No thanks, I'll spend my money at Barque instead, they give me as much sauce as I want stuff tastes better.
Ritchieee replying to a comment from Zara / August 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm
Zara, are you for real? The logo has a pig's head for crying out loud. Surely that's a good enough indicator that the chances of kosher food served here are slim.
Iliana & Sergey's Palette / August 30, 2014 at 07:56 pm
"Hogtown Smoke is definitely a place to visit with family or just friends looking for something slightly out of the ordinary. We compared this place with one of our favourite west end spots – Barque Smokehouse. Hogtown Smoke wins in terms of its patio and attention to detail, looses in terms of its sides (smoky popcorn and roasted corn were a big plus for us). Overall, Hogtown Smoke is one of the best places we visited in Toronto's east end so far.
PS: a family of raccoons decided to pay us a visit throughout the dinner. "

Find out about our full experience:
Gerry / October 4, 2014 at 01:50 pm
We were told we needed to wait to be seated when there were to empty tables. After 15 minutes we were seated at one of the empty tables. The other sat empty. We were told that the dinner for two (Miss Piggy) was suggested. We ordered two drafts of local beer for $18! When we were ready to order, we were told the beef ribs were an extra $21 not $12 as indicated on the menu. We opted to take the pork ribs only to be told they didn't have any ribs left. So instead of paying $56 for chicken wings and a dried bone, we went across the street to the Green Eggplant. Other couples in the neighbourhood tell us this place is a joke and will be folding up soon.
VeeRSixOh / November 4, 2014 at 04:19 pm
This place really isn't that great. The food is dry and tasteless. We got takeout since getting a place in the restaurant is tough.. boy, what a mistake that was. The waitress was rude and butchered the order - we got the wrong things only after noticing at home. Fortunately we live right next door - the reply? "Well, we didn't have one thing so we gave you another". Ok Missy.. how about you tell us before messing around with the order.
And another thing - when you clowns get your orders delivered at the rear, how about you have the trucks part on the side streets instead of blocking traffic in the rear for a "few minutes" which turns into 15 - 20.
Ann / May 17, 2015 at 12:02 pm
I came here on a whim for dinner and I wasn't acknowledged by a single staff member despite waiting for 10 minutes. Never coming back here again.
Low n' Slow / June 26, 2015 at 03:16 pm
Tried this place based on (earlier) reviews...wasn't impressed, especially considering the cost. Found the ribs to be somewhat tasteless. Stockyards remains my #1 rib place in the GTA, by far.
Q Lover / September 18, 2015 at 08:49 pm
This place is definitely not #1. Ribs were dry and flavourless and grossly overpriced. Stockyards should be #1 with Barque #2.

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